I may have moved to Toronto, Ontario, but I’ve been thinking about my Vancouver. As I watched the riot destruction of the city I called home for almost 4 years, the scenes made me cry because my all the familiar buildings on my walk to work were destroyed. I’m so happy people came to help clean up the city.
So I’ve decided to list my favorite places in Vancouver, in no particular order or category.
I wanted to try Yyoga in January, but I was sick for 3 months, and didn’t want to go into a hot yoga environment and spread my germs so I waited until I was healthy enough, in March. I was apprehensive at first. When I joined the classes were unbelievably busy due to their 30 day challenge, but I was immediately impressed. I tried the $30 2-week trial. During my first pilates class the instructor made us all yell out that we were beautiful. I debated continuing on a month-to-month membership, because I didn’t have enough time left in Vancouver to sign up for a 3 month one. I needed to rent my mat and mat towel (my hands sweat without the hot yoga) so it was pricier than I could afford for longer than 2 months, but obviously, the longer the term the better the monthly rates you get. In the end, it was the instructors that kept me going. I loved them. All unique, I found some explained the movements better than others, and many were also physiotherapists. All of them know the body well, and they pushed me just enough so that I really benefitted from it without hurting myself. Even in large classes, they moved to the back of the room to make corrections. I really recommend Yyoga, check them out. They have multiple locations across the city.
My friends told me about Mink after they got drunk on their drinking chocolate during a break from work one day, so another friend and I went to go try it out. That day I ordered a hot chocolate, truffles, and tried a chocolate bar later: Mermaid’s Choice. The truffles were amazing, and the hot chocolate was divine. I’m more of a salty than sweet addict, so I fell in love with the chocolate bar I ate. Since that day I’ve been back frequently. I kept a stash of them at my desk, the 30 piece dark chocolate was my preferred choice, and had 1 piece every day after lunch. I even shared with my coworkers, and they hung around my desk waiting for me if they knew I was making a trip to the store. Each time I visited, the guy at the chocolate bars would tell me his favorite, every day it was different. I can highly recommend the Mermain’s Choice, the Maidens, Taj Masala (like gingerbread in meltaway chocolate form), and of course the Mink Original. Stop by and get a chocolate bar, and just see how long it lasts.
I tried a few local hair salons when I first moved to Vancouver, but the stylists kept quitting, and I was never quite satisfied with the cut. My hair is thick and wavy, and they were terrified of really tackling the bulk. My friend Jen (personal stylist extraordinaire) gave me Sam’s name from Rain Boutique and Salon, so I decided to give her a try. I never looked back, and I am contemplating booking her when I’m back in September for a wedding just to have her work on my hair again. She got sent for training in New York and I was her first client when she came back. I’ve never seen anyone so excited to razor my hair. If I could afford to fly her out for my wedding in October I would! Rain has a referral program, so if you bring in a client for a stylist, they give both you and your referral a discount. Try them out, and ask for Sam. She liberated my hair!
Finch’s Tea & Coffee House is a wonderful place. The furniture is eclectic and sits on raised platforms at the windows; on the inside are large tables where your party of 2 may end up sitting beside other customers at a table for 6. The staff are friendly and work hard, everything is made right when you order it. If you don’t want to wait for your lunch, I highly recommend ordering it in advance. Everything is organic or free-range, and the ingredients are very fresh. My favorite sandwich is the prosciutto, and I nearly always get a chocolate cookie too because they’re satisfying. The soups and salads are larger than you think, and come with a fresh baguette. If you haven’t tried it, you really should.
On my first anniversary in Vancouver my friend brought handmade flavored marshmallows from Butter to the beach to celebrate. Since then, I’ve been back multiple times, using the marshmallows as stocking stuffers or gifts, or just to enjoy it myself. I can say I’m glad it isn’t located downtown, or I would have gained weight Yyoga couldn’t help me get off. At christmas I got some cinnamon ones, and they are my favorite, despite the strawberry, raspberry and mint flavored ones. The last time I was there, I watched several people come in and order their homemade oreos: chocolate cookies with their own filling in between. With one left, I decided to give it a try, and I didn’t regret it. In fact, if I hadn’t gone out to Bard on the Beach that night, the massive oreo would have been consumed in one sitting, instead of enjoyed over a few. The best name for a bakery, Butter is very yummy. Go, if you can.
I hope you enjoyed this. If I think of other places I miss, I’ll let you know.