This week I have been doing a lot of driving across to Kitsilano as I have a client looking in that area. Driving along by the beach is always a reminder of how lovely Vancouver is in the summer.
The pedestrians I see crossing in front of me are dressed for the beach. Flip flops, swim suits, wraps, big hats, rolled up mats under their arms.
In the afternoon, I see the kids waiting with their skim boards and damp towels at the bus stops. Tired parents with their toddlers too.
And at this time of the year, with the long evenings, I get out too. Perhaps not on my skim board, but taking the dog for a walk along the seawall. Admiring the cruise ships leaving in the setting sun. Imagining the cocktails being served. Hmmm, that’s an idea
Being a person who is not satisfied with the standard fare of the mall world I have found that somehow I’ve managed to accumulate a great deal of knowledge on the smaller areas of Vancouver. So I believe that it would be best to start by talking about my most visited area: Kitsilano. Kitsilano (or Kits) is located just across the Burrard Street bridge minutes from the downtown core.
During the summer months I find that my friends and I are inevitably drawn to Kitsilano’s sandy beach. The beach offers refreshments, public washrooms, and a stunning view of the ocean. While this is standard for most beaches Kits beach does not have the same touristy feel of English Bay. One of my best memories from the summer is seeing the Volleyball championships at Kits beach.
Another reason that Kits is one of my all time favourite areas is the street West 4th Avenue. This long street is located just four blocks from the beach and offers a wide range of shops, restaurants and cafes. Predominantly the shops are geared towards young fashionable mothers (4th is the home of the first Lulu lemon store). But apart from the yoga wear there is a good range of independent and not so independent stores. Gravity Pope in particular is a must visit for any shoe lover. Also interesting designers can always be found at Spank and Moulé.
If you happen to find your stomach growling whilst on West 4th you are in luck. As you move further towards Burrard Street you will notice an increasing number of restaurants. One of the most buzzed about restaurants is Trattoria Italian Kitchen, which has already been hailed as placing Vancouver on the map in terms of culinary excellence. Kitsilano also offers a wide range of restaurants, which is guaranteed to satisfy any palate and budget
One aspect of Kits I find keeps me coming back – 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters located on West 4th between Yew and Arbutus. If you enjoy descent coffee (which I do) this café is a must visit. A lot about the café can be surmised from their description of their coffee “Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love”. Vancouverites appreciate a well-crafted espresso and so 49th parallel is consistently alive with the eclectic mix of the Kitsilano community.
Sue and I were in Kits yesterday. Getting out of my car, we saw one of those sights that confirms you are in Kits. A young woman, crossing the street carrying her cycle helmet and her back pack, with her yoga mat sticking out. Very Kits.
This area has the hippy, bohemian thing going on still. We were on Broadway, close to MacDonald. This area has high end restaurants (Lumiere) but also the small cafe’s and coffee bars that give Kits it’s particular character. We ate a Greens and Gourmet which had a vegetarian buffet. Load your plate, get it weighed and tuck in. We got some friendly advice from the server: don’t load your plate with potatoes! They’re heavy and your meal will be expensive. It was good and included a variety of curries as well as greens, veggies and tofu.
And of course, to be totally Kits, the restaurant has a yoga studio attached.