AOL PICK from our Editors
Although Canadians claim they must make day-trips to the US to find the best shopping, Vancouver’s retail community ranges from specialty malls in historic buildings to massive suburban shopping centers; Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby, with 450 stores, is the largest shopping area in BC. Yaletown has a small collection of chic home furnishings stores that predates the district’s boom as a dining and gathering area, and Sinclair Centre is a revival of a downtown block with four heritage buildings and a dozen specialty stores.
Need some gold-fringed lavender brocade for a gown? Real 22-karat gold jewelry? Garam masala? This locally famous district’s garment stores and specialty food retailers serve the Vancouver area’s large Indian and Pakistani population. Among others, Mother India (6632 Main) has everything from incense to shoes; and Sunny’s Studio for Men (6674 Main) has cool linen suits.
Once this was the best-known shopping street in Western Canada, nicknamed “Robsonstrasse” to reflect the area’s popularity with North European tourists. Now retail chains have taken over most of the storefronts and gaggles of young Asian visitors stroll the street arm-in-arm, having flown here from Tokyo or Hong Kong just to walk Robson. The Public Market at Robson and Cardero is a mini-version of the one on Granville Island, with specialty food vendors, a few craft booths, and a food court upstairs. Other interesting stores include La Vie en Rose, a local lingerie retailer, at 1009 Robson; Lush, the soap and wholistic cosmetics store, at 1020 Robson; and Capers, Vancouver’s original whole foods market (now part of Whole Foods Market) at 1675 Robson, a great place for lunch.
More Details on Robson Street
Neighborhood: Broadway District
Vancouver’s Mountain Equipment Co-op has every piece of equipment or bit of information one might need for outdoor recreation in BC. Also a co-operative, like its much bigger US cousin, REI, the MEC store at 130 West Broadway is a vast warehouse of clothing, gear, equipment and guides offering expertise on everything from canoeing to climbing to cross-country skiing. Spurred by MEC, other outdoor-gear stores and warehouse stores have located nearby, most notably Altus Mountain Gear, at 125 West Broadway; and Book Warehouse, at 632 West Broadway.
More Details on Mountain Equipment Co-op & West Broadway
Holt Renfrew, Canada’s classiest fashion retailer, is the anchor of this complex located entirely below street level downtown. Most of the more than 100 stores are chains such as The Body Shop and Guess; there’s a food court and downtown’s only Apple store.
More Details on Pacific Centre
Traffic thickens like clogged arteries on this main thoroughfare to and from the airport, but the array of stores and cafes ranges from one of the city’s most famous gourmet restaurants, West (2881 Granville), to a specialty food shrine, Meinhardt Fine Foods (3002 Granville), which has European ingredients you’ll find nowhere else. The district has more than three dozen specialty fashion boutiques, including Roots, Canada’s iconic activewear maker, at 2665 Granville.
More Details on South Granville