It’s just a typical family vacation, right? Unless you’re two attractive royals with two adorable kids on an official visit to Canada’s beautiful West Coast. That’s right, Will and Kate are coming to Canada and over the eight days we have them, they’ll cover plenty of amazing ground. The family will start and end their tour in Victoria, B.C., and will make a stop in inspiring Bella Bella, Haida Gwaii, Kelowna and the Yukon. But on Sunday, the family will be in Vancouver. Obvi, they have all this official royal business to be done, but if they were to ask us, we’d recommend they visit the next-door neighbourhoods of Chinatown, Strathcona and Main Street for these nine things.
Strathcona is still largely residential, but it’s home to some beloved independent boutiques and major flea markets. Fulfilling the former category are Charlie & Lee (223 Union Street), focused on North American-made and ethically sourced goods, and Board of Trade (227 Union St.), which carries in-house and local labels alongside unique imports. Treasure hunters can visit the Vancouver Flea Market (703 Terminal Ave.) every weekend—there’s no missing the 40,000-square-foot burgundy building—and Eastside Flea (1024 Main St.) every third weekend at its new permanent home in the circa 1907 Ellis Building.
The area checks off a veritable world map of food cravings, but two new restaurants pay homage to their historical location with modern mash-ups on Asian fare. Fat Mao (217 E. Georgia St.), Chef Angus An’s third venture, focuses on Thai-Chinese noodle dishes. While (above) Torafuku (958 Main St.) plucks from even more countries, with bold flavours and unexpected combinations, as well as killer cocktails. Main Street and surrounding Mount Pleasant has revived the beer reputation it had in the late 19th century with five craft breweries within blocks of each other, including Brassneck (2148 Main St.).
Rennie Collection at Wing Sang (51 E. Pender St.), above, showcases one of Canada’s largest private contemporary art collections in the oldest building in Chinatown. Up next is Simon Starling: Collected Works which opens November 18. Schedule a guided tour; it’s the only way to see it.
No two the same, the 18 suites at Skwachàys Lodge (29/31 W. Pender St.), above, are the collaborative work of six Aboriginal artists and six Vancouver interior designers. Adjacent to Chinatown’s Millennium Gate, the hotel and ground floor Urban Aboriginal Fair Trade Gallery subsidize the building’s 24 live/work artist studios.
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