Vancouverites have a complex relationship with the city in which we live. We boast about the lush, green forests, but we complain about the rain that feeds them. We tell stories of long summer days filled with hiking and biking, forgetting that it is cloudy and wet for two thirds of the year. Westerly Goods was founded on this complex relationship as motivation to eliminate rain delays through good quality, well designed goods to encourage year-round adventures.

Duncan Gillespie and Bryan Pudney cofounded Westerly Goods in 2012 and launched their first umbrellas in winter of 2014. People living outside a temperate rain forest may not understand the importance of a good umbrella. But to Duncan and Brian, the perfect umbrella was a function of good quality and design to create a We(s)t Coast necessity. Westerly umbrellas include flexible, fibreglass ribs to bend in the wind, fabric prevents and rosettes to cover the sharp parts that can rip through the fabric, a wooden handle for a true west coast flavour. The designs achieve their goal of being beautiful - they are unique and eye-catching, with something for everyone. All these elements combine to create an umbrella that is not only functional but also hard to leave behind. 

And if holding an umbrella isn't your thing, Westerly also creates water-resistant headwear for those times when your adventure requires both hands.

W: westerlygoods.com



We don’t often put events on the Local Visitor. But when it involves liquefied chocolate, it’s impossible to resist.

Vancouver’s Hot Chocolate Festival is made up of 25 participants with 59 flavours over 30 days (January 16th to February 14th. If you’re trying to do the math, you have 20 days left). The Festival is branded by CityFood Magazine and raises money for the Downtown Eastside job training of the PHS Community Services Society and East Van Roasters.

In true Vancouver fashion, there’s a walking map on the CityFood website -  it’s organized by neighbourhood and by vendor, with a list of all the flavours available. Some of our favourites are participating, including 49th Parallel Coffee & Lucky’s Doughnuts, Terra Breads, and Butter Baked Goods. 


This caffè is anything but a cittadella, unless your fortification is coffee.

Caffè Cittadella has taken up residence in the Shaw House, one of the first homes built in Fairview Slopes. The house was originally constructed in the 1890s and was home to James and Emma Shaw. Since being restored as part of a larger commercial project, the caffè has turned the house back into a welcoming home.  With seating on two stories and a patio outside, there's a nook or cranny for everyone.  And whether you're looking for a sandwich, pastry, or something gluten-free, Emma and James are probably looking on to make sure you pair it with a warm cup of Forty Ninth Parallel Coffee or tea.

read and see more here


December has arrived, which means its time to open your wallet and search for the perfect gift for your loved ones. We've come up with a few ideas for those Vancouverites who are particularly difficult to shop for: 

The Workaholic: That person who is always at work, talking about work, or thinking about work. Their hands are calloused from all that typing, their nails are non-existent from the stress, and it looks like they haven't slept since high school.

Recommendation: A manicure from JoyRide (from $20), or a bottle of vodka from Sons of Vancouver (from $20).

The Child (Not Only in Age): The person who would prefer a slumber party to a cocktail party, or who still laughs every time they think of the French word for 'seal'.

Recommendation: A jar of candy from Karameller (from $10).

The MAMIL (Middle-Aged Man in Lycra): The person you can't stare at too long in case your eyes wander to all the wrong (right?) parts. Also works for MAFILs (though the acronym doesn't sound as good). 

Recommendation: A gift card to Musette Caffe (from $ how cheap are you?).

The Mathlete: This is the person who can actually calculate the tip without using the app on their phone because they still remember what you learned in high school math.

Recommendation: A trip to La Casa Gelato. If there are 518 flavours, how many days would it take to eat all the different double scoop permutations?? 

The Person That Wears Flannel and has a Beard: Despite the toque that perpetually adorns their head, these peoples' hearts are warmed by one thing only: Craft Beer.

Recommendation: A B33r Box from 33 Acres (from $75) 

The Entertainer:  This person loves playing the host. Nothing makes them happier than having you over to showcase their DIY and Kinfolk-worthy talents. Everything this person produces has thousands of Instagram likes by the time the night is over. #nbd. 

Recommendation: A reclaimed wood serving tray from Pacific Design Lab (from $79)

The Athlete: While you're still figuring out how to tie your shoes, this person has already finished the race. They master every sport they try and do triathlons on the weekends...without training. This person is always looking to try a new sport, no matter how cold the water. 

Recommendation: A Group Shaping Lesson from Shaper Studios (from $30).

The Health Enthusiast: This person is best friends with their yoga instructor and makes lycra look good (not to be confused with the MAMIL above). They haven't eaten gluten since 1992, but their skin is so so soft. 

Recommendation: A Juice Cleanse from Glory Juice (from $180).


Located off the Sea-to-Sky Highway, just North of Squamish, is the small but pleasant town of Brackendale. While it's a good rest stop on the way to or from Whistler,  it's the winter residents that make Brackendale spectacular. Under the moniker, "The winter home of the Bald Eagle," Brackendale holds the world record for the largest congregation of wintering Bald Eagles.  The eagles come to feast on the Chum Salmon that return each winter to their spawning grounds up the Squamish River Valley. Ironically, it's the lucky ones that die on the river banks after successfully completing the tenuous journey to spawn. The unlucky ones are eaten by bears or other predators before reaching their destination. The rotting salmon carcasses make for an easy meal for the eagles ,which come in the thousands (as in, over 3,000).  

The eagles' habitat is protected within Brackendale Eagle Provincial Park, ensuring that this spectacular display of nature is undisturbed by humans. Most of the Provincial Park is inaccessible, but that doesn't mean there aren't ample opportunities for prime eagle viewing.  Eagle Run Park is located within Brackendale, but provides a view of the river and the eagles against the dramatic backdrop of the neighbouring Tantalus Provincial Park. The best time to view the eagles is from mid-November to mid-January. Make sure to pack your camera and binoculars!

See more here


In a neighbourhood otherwise devoid of independent cafes, Gigi Blin is a welcome sight.  Owners Mark and Iwona named the café after Mark's great grandfather, Gigi Blin. The café has been providing Marpole with coffee, baked goods, and artisanal groceries since opening its doors in June 2015.  

Despite its newness, Gigi Blin looks and feels like it has been the beating heart of the neighbourhood for decades. That feeling is due in part to its location in a historic building, but is further fostered by the warmth of the reclaimed wood interiors and the large windows that allow a glimpse inside. On the other side of the glass, those windows also allow for endless hours of people watching while enjoying delicious latte after latte. With baked goods from Baguette and Co., there's really no reason to leave.

read and see more here


While you won’t see the white coats and petri dishes you might expect to find in a traditional lab, Pacific Design Lab is making its own discoveries through reclaimed wood and design.

Founders Alanna Rogers, Brandon Nobbs, and Darren Elliott are creative, genuine people with a passion for designing and creating high quality, unique products from reclaimed and local wood. Pacific Design Lab grew out of a contracting company Brandon and Darren started called Pacific Solutions Contracting. Soon, they started using the offcuts from the contracting company to make gifts for family and friends. Realizing there was a growing demand for quality, hand crafted wood products, they started marketing their goods. What started out of the corner of a warehouse four years ago has now taken over the entire space, with a divided shop to showcase their products. While items like cutting boards, serving platters, coasters and wooden crates are readily available, Pacific Design Lab also creates custom and built-to-order pieces. Companies such as Nectar Juicery, Earls Restaurants, and Nook Restaurant have already commissioned custom tables and stools. The cutting boards and serving platters can be found under your food at Meat and Bread, Timbertrain, and Farmer’s Apprentice.

Future plans for the company include eventual relocation to a larger space they can grow into, and letting us adopt their dog Georgie (only part of that sentence is true). Their products are available at their shop in Strathcona and or shop from the comfort of your own home on their website. They also have a couple events coming up:

  • November 24 from 5-8pm – E 28 Collection Launch Party with Nineteen Ten Home (tickets here).
  • November 28 from 12-6pm - West Coast Winter, a seasonal pop up shop at Pacific Design Lab (tickets here)

Read and see more here


Timbertrain is serious about three things: coffee, trains, and people.

In 2013, owners Jeff Shin, Min Shin, and Peter Kim combined their mutual love of coffee and trains and opened a unique café in Gastown. Elements on trains are embedded throughout the décor, from the obvious elements like the seating that looks like the booths in passenger cars, to the bar that looks like a rail on its side. Stepping into Timbertrain is like walking into a bustling train station where the staff want to know you by name and make you a perfectly brewed cup of coffee.

Timbertain has a passion for roasting good beans to make great coffee. Whether you're in the mood for a pour-over or a glass of cold brew (available on tap), make sure you pair your liquid with a pastry. We guarantee you'll hope your train (or bus) is running late.

Click here to read and see more.


Jethro's Fine Grub is exactly what you might assume from its name and logo - hearty servings of indulgent food combined with a dose of edginess.

Owners Emily-Jane Stuart and D'Arcy Allen first established Jethro's in Dunbar to bring some East Vancouver flavour to the city's West side. It has since expanded to a second location on Fraser Street, but hasn't lost its charm. Both locations have only a handful of tables, which means you get to see what everyone is eating before you make your own decision. The menu is inspired by America's south, with dishes like gumbo, alligator nuggets, catfish po-boy, and chicken fried steak. There are also twelve different egg dishes and five different omelettes, not including the ones you can design yourself. If you're particularly hungry (or just want to see a 12" stack of food), we recommend the pancakes or french toast - we haven't seen anyone finish a plate yet!

Regardless of the day of time, there always seems to be a line up outside. Don't let that deter you, though. It moves quickly, and at a place where all the dishes are under $14, is definitely worth the wait.

Click here to read and see more


This video is for anyone with a case of FOMO (fear of missing out), or those who just want to re-live the day.

If you missed it, Fall for Local has been helping Vancouver's entrepreneurs connect for this past three years. This year, organizer Kelly Turner added a daytime forum to the annual Pop Up Shop Soirée. We were fortunate enough to attend both. This video is a short glimpse into the 2015 event.


In a city renowned for its love of bicycles and coffee, Musette Caffè must be the most quintessentially "Vancouver" caffè around.

Named after the small bags used to pass meals to bicyclists during a bike race, Musette has married bicycling and coffee at its two downtown locations. As you may have already assumed, both locations are adorned with bicycle paraphernalia, from the various parts of bicycles and outfits hanging on the walls and from the ceilings, to the chandeliers made of old bike wheels. And, as you may have also already assumed, Mussette is also a caffè. 

What you didn't probably didn't assume was the level to which Musette has joined bikes and coffee - to the point that you can literally ride your bike into the caffè and order while your shoes are still clipped into the pedals. 

Looking around either location, there's usually at least one group wearing spandex, sometimes even a few people whose bikes are so loved (read: expensive) they join their owners inside. But there are also a healthy contingent of "regular" people who just want a good cup of  Forty Ninth Parallel coffee or a pastry.

If you're intrigued by the city's love of bikes and coffee, Musette invites riders of all abilities to their weekly group rides, which leave from the Burrard Street location every Saturday at 8:30am.

Click here to read and see more.


If you're a devout carnivore who could never imagine ditching meat, it's probably because you've never eaten at The Acorn. Totally unpretentious, this little restaurant offers some of the most delicious and flavourful dishes in the city. 

The Acorn's owner and General Manager Shira Blustein wanted to bring variety to vegetarian cooking in Vancouver. With the help of Head Chef Rob Clarke and Chef de Cuisine Brian Luptak, The Acorn dispels any notion that vegetarian cooking is bland, boring, and brown. If you don't believe us, just head to the corner of Main Street and 24th Avenue on a Friday night - the line up outside the restaurant doesn't lie!

The space is small and cozy, with a contemporary take on 1950s décor. The dishes are relatable (even to those who don't speak vegetarian) and interesting - we haven't seen tofu listed on the menu yet. And like any good Vancouver restaurant, there are always vegan and gluten-free options available.

Read and see more here


If you've been following us here or on social media, you'll know how excited we were for last week's Fall for Local. Organized by the amazing Kelly Turner, Fall for Local has been helping Vancouver's entrepreneurs connect for three years now. This year, Kelly added a daytime forum to the annual Pop Up Shop Soirée. We were fortunate enough to attend both, which not only gave us some great ideas for The Local Visitor, but also gave us the opportunity to connect with some amazing local entrepreneurs and businesses.

From 12-5pm, a group of entrepreneurs / entrepreneurs-in-the-making / interested people gathered at Heritage Hall to make new connections, collaborate, and listen to other entrepreneurs talk about their paths to success. They discussed everything from being an entrepreneur, to where to find funding, tips for visual media, and the importance of buying local (something we fully encourage!). 

The place was then transformed for The Pop Up Shop Soirée, which showcased some of Vancouver's established and emerging local shops and entrepreneurs. This portion of the day was open to the public, so watch out for it next year if you missed this year's! We met more great people doing more great things, and are looking forward to showcasing some of those great people and things here in the future.

Go here for a list of the speakers and businesses involved with the forum portion of Fall for Local, and here for some of the local businesses that showcased their stuff at The Pop Up Shop Soirée!


Bump N Grind Café is a real crowd pleaser. It's the type of place you could take everyone from a coffee aficionado to someone who just wants a really good cookie.

For the coffee lover, Bump N Grind really knows its stuff. With French Press, Clover, Aero Press and espresso on offer, it has just about everything you could want. Combine that with the rotating list of local coffee roasters available (including Matchstick, Timbertrain, Fernwood, and Bows & Arrows) and the options are infinite. 

And for the person who just wants a really good cookie, Bump & Grind has you covered. Not only is there a case filled with cookies, scones, croissants, and biscotti, there are also gluten-free options available. And if you're looking for something more substantial, there's a breakfast / lunch menu, too.

Read and see more here

All week long we are collaborating with Fall For Local to feature 5 local businesses that will be participating at the Fall for Local event on October 22.  You can read a new post each day during this Week of Local on the Fall for Local blog.


Up until a few years ago, we might have convinced you that Vancouver was still bound by the principles that were put in place during the prohibition. The recent changes to liquor laws, however, have been slowly modernizing the province’s alcohol consumption. This has brought on the recent proliferation of microbreweries, which have been popping up all over Vancouver. More recently, micro-distilleries have been taking advantage of this growing interest in local, small-scale production.

Located in North Vancouver, the Sons of Vancouver is one such distillery, which is dedicated to making good quality, local spirits. Cofounders Richard Klaus and James Lester are originally from Northern British Columbia, where they started learning to brew their own beer in junior high. After a series of events that included early “retirement” and traveling through Mexico, they relocated to Vancouver and decided to open a distillery together. They interned at distilleries in Washington and Portland until they were confident they knew enough to open their own.

After taking over a North Vancouver space in March 2014, the pair started a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo to outfit their tasting room. They officially opened their doors in February 2015, with a fully outfitted tasting room where they offer samples of their three products: amaretto, vodka, and chili vodka.

Amaretto No. 82 is named after the 81 failed attempts that came before it, and is the first craft amaretto in North America (that they know of). The pair like the simplicity of old fashioned drinks (like the Old Fashioned), but thought it could be done a little differently. Their amaretto is sweetened with Demerera, BC blackberry honey simple syrup, and a combination of apricot kernels, Bourbon vanilla beans and orange peel. If your mouth isn’t already watering, it pairs so perfectly with ice cream that they teamed up with Earnest Ice Cream to create the Cherry Amaretto Sundae.

Their vodka is equally original, made with BC spring wheat, malted barley and fermented with champagne yeast. The result is a smooth vodka unlike any other you’ve previously tried at your local bar. Finally, if you’re really adventurous (or like to make really good Ceasars), try the Chili Vodka – it’s infused with Thai Dragon chilies and carries enough punch to really wake you up in the morning (or afternoon, or evening…).

The Sons of Vancouver Tasting Room is open Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 to 7:00pm. If you’re not looking to cross the bridge though, their products are available all over the city – check out their website for locations. 

We’re excited to let you know that we are collaborating with Fall for Local to feature five local businesses that will be part of the Fall for Local event on October 22nd. Starting today, the Fall for Local blog will post a different featured write up each day this week. Head over to fallinlovewithlocal.com/blog to see who we’ve been talking to.

Fall for Local was started by Kelly Turner in Ottawa in 2012 to promote local businesses and encourage collaboration between them. Kelly moved to Vancouver in 2012 and noticed that, despite all the local initiatives in the city, there was no promotion of knowledge sharing and cross collaboration. She teamed up with Pound & Grain, a local digital creative agency, and reached out to local businesses to participate in the city’s inaugural event. It has since grown from an evening soirée into a one-day networking and collaboration event.

This year’s event starts at noon on October 22nd at Heritage Hall (3102 Main Street) with a knowledge sharing “conference” that will feature a panel discussion, a hands-on workshop session, locally sourced snacks and goodies, prizes, an interactive photobooth, and more. A ticket also gets you access to the Pop Up Soirée, a showcase of some of Vancouver’s new and established shops and entrepreneurs. Tickets are $75 before October 8th ($95 after) and are available at fallinlovewithlocal.com


Hager Books has been providing the residents of Kerrisdale with reading material for over 40 years. This small (900 sf) independent bookstore has survived the onslaught of mega booksellers and the more recent threat of online shopping. The knowledgable staff and varied selection keep patrons coming back. The shelves stacked from floor to ceiling with fiction, biography, travel, cooking, gardening, architecture, photography and children's books. 

Visit Hager's when you arrive in Vancouver - you'll be sure to find more than enough books to keep you reading for the rest of your holiday. We can usually be found perusing the travel and architecture sections.

read and see more here


Tucked between the bustle of Kitsilano and Granville Island lies Café Bica, a small coffee shop that’s not afraid to slow things down in order to do things right.

Café Bica is completely unassuming and unpretentious. You would never assume from its exterior that through its doors are some of the best coffees and baked goods you may ever have. Not only does this café know how to make a really good coffee, they also know how to create an environment where time seems to slow down. The décor is simple, with exposed concrete floors and wood furniture. Choose from a long communal table, or grab a smaller one if you can. You’ll need plenty of space, though, for all the food you will inevitably order. Brunch is offered until 11:00am on weekends and 2:30pm on the weekends. They offer soup, sandwiches and salads for lunch, and baked goods all day long. And in a delicate balancing act of making sure there are enough spaces for patrons to sit, and for students to “write” their essays, free WiFi is available after 2pm.

While you’re in the area, if you’re looking for something made in Vancouver, head to the café’s south wall. There, they stock things like candles from Vancouver Candle Company and packaged goodies from Butter Baked Goods

Click here for more information and photos.