I love reading bloggers posts about their trips to another city, especially if it’s a vegan friendly one. Last week I went to Vancouver and completely fell in love, what a beautiful place to visit in the fall! I decided to fly out after I was reading something my manager had tacked up at her desk ’20 things to do in your twenties’ and one of them was don’t be afraid to spend $!
Now I am no stranger to shopping and will enthusiastically throw down the $5-6 a day for a latte, but it’s those bigger purchases that give me anxiety. It took me forever and a day to finally buy my Canon Rebel earlier this year but hey it came in handy for this trip! I am glad I decided to to stop being such a cheap- o, hopefully this means bigger and better vacays in my future!
I realize a one hour trip to Vancouver isn’t exactly the definition of an adventure by most peoples standards but it was a well needed break for me. Not that I dislike watching Woody Allen movies with my cats! I stayed at the Fairmont downtown, which is close to Robson Street and next to the Vancouver Art Gallery. I knew I would be relying on my feet and transit so it was a good central location. I went on a haunted trolley tour my first night there, and guess which hotel is said to be haunted? Mine! I didn’t see the ‘lady in the red dress’ on the 14th floor but I sure wasn’t looking for her either.
Well enough of me going on and on, here were my 5 favourite spots in Vancity:
Stanley Park– what’s not to love about this beautiful park! It reminds me of Central Park in NYC, a nice little oasis away from the crowds of downtown. It was a little chilly and foggy in the mornings but still such a nice place to take a stroll. I especially loved the ‘Lost Lagoon’, and again, the leaves!
-Beautiful heron I spotted in the park
Whole Foods– Ever since my first trip to NYC years ago I have had an affection for this place and the Robson Street store just reinforced those feelings. We have some great health food stores in Calgary – my favs are Community Natural and Amaranth, but there is just something about Whole Foods! The fresh food bar and bakery just fill me with joy. I love the little green ‘vegan’ labels and being able to fill a huge container with all my salad fixin’s. The best thing I had there was the Supah Health muffin- like a carrot muffin on steroids, so good! I also tried the thumbprint and double chocolate cookies and a date bar which were all vegan and super delicious. I may have eaten them before taking any pictures…
I’m sure there would be a lot of people who would look at Whole Foods as just another overpriced grocery store catering to the organic crowd but to me it is magical! They also had a wide range of frozen Gardein foods and of course, some beautiful organic pumpkins!
Granville Island– Ok I will admit the Kids Market was not how I remembered from my childhood and it broke my heart a little, but otherwise I love this spot. I took a False Creek Ferry out, you can pick up a day pass for only $12 and they make a few stops around the area. It’s worth the money if you are visiting outside of the spring and summer months but still want a bit of time on the water. I didn’t buy much in the market, just an apple and apple tea! Not very exciting of me I know, but I love love apples this time of year. I was saving my sugar for Fairy Cakes (which ended up being pretty disappointing).
I loved browsing all of the local vendors and checking out the arts and crafts, definitely a good way to spend your time if you were travelling alone like I was. Check out the local wildlife pics below, pigeons and seagulls, hello exotic!
Gorilla Food– This restaurant is exactly where meat lovin folk think vegans eat, it was very hippie in a good way! I got a little lost finding them at the end of a long day of exploring, so I got take out. I am a firm believer that everything tastes better if eaten while wearing a robe in your hotel any ways. I had the Go Veggie burger, mini Gorilla salad and a Butterfly Bliss for a tiny dessert. It was all really good, I love a bun free burger and the salad was packed full of healthy goodness. They were out of their vegan pumpkin pie so I wished I had gone earlier, I still haven’t had any since going vegan!
If I lived in Vancouver this would definitely be a place I would bring my omnivore friends to show them hippie food = delicious food.
Chinatown– I like the hustle and bustle of Chinatown but I hate seeing the piglets and chickens hanging in the restaurant windows, so I didn’t spend an awful lot of time here. It is bigger than Calgary’s Chinatown of course and I’m sure there were some great spots to eat if I had looked into it.
I did take a guided tour of the Dr. Sun Yat- Sen Classical Chinese Garden ($12/person) which was nice. If you have ever seen the movie Chuck & Larry, my tour guide sounded just like Rob Schneider’s character who runs the hotel where they get married. All I could think was ‘a ring is a circle, it has no end or beginning’ while he was talking. Nicest man, very little idea what he was saying about the gardens. That is why they make brochures I guess! If you ever go to Vancouver I would definitely recommend a visit to this tranquil little spot, they even give you some complimentary tea at the end of the tour!
I also loved the murals in Chinatown, especially of these little old men ;)
Honourable mention goes to: Smak– 100% gluten free and vegan friendly. I didn’t eat here but the menu looked right up my ally since I try to walk on the healthier side of the street. They deserve a shout out because they made the best vegan hot chocolate I have ever had! It was made with almond milk and cayenne and was amazingly sugar free and so rich. I wish I could have one every day.
So there ya have it, my love letter to Vancouver, I can’t wait to go back soon! :)