Gift for a friend who is temporarily relocating to Vancouver, BC?
July 25, 2012 8:34 PM   Subscribe

What small 'bon voyage' gift should I buy a good friend and her husband who are relocating to Vancouver, BC from Australia for 18 months?

My friend and her husband are moving to Vancouver in a few weeks and I want to buy them a farewell gift. The reason behind the move is that the husband is undertaking post-graduate study at UBC. Initially, I thought of giving them some Canadian dollars (about $50-$100 worth), but then I wondered if a non-cash gift might be better. Are there any Vancouver-based gifts that might be appropriate (like subscriptions to newspapers or services, a gift card to a great coffee shop, etc)?

My friend are her husband are in their late 20s/early 30s and are both lawyers here in Australia. While her husband is studying, my friend will be working, most likely in a retail or administrative-type role. They will be living in student/family housing on the main university campus. Both my friend and her husband are avid nature lovers (they enjoy hiking and spend a lot of time outdoors). They also like good food (my friend is a vegetarian), though they don't really drink a lot of alcohol (my friend is a big tea-drinker). They both like to read. They don't watch a lot of television but they do like going to movies, particularly indie-types.

Any suggestions for gifts valued between $50 and $100 (AUD or CAD), particularly Canadian or Vancouver-based ones, will be greatly appreciated!
posted by Defying Gravity to Shopping (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: When we moved to Vancouver, I was more thrilled with the items that reminded me of where I came from, not where I was going! Especially if they won't be able to travel back and forth at all. A coffee table book of favorite landmarks of Australia or a care package of favorite foods/items they enjoy now that they can't get in Canada, for example. Just a thought!

Otherwise, gift cards for Mountain Equipment Coop are always useful!
posted by pink candy floss at 8:43 PM on July 25, 2012

+1, send them off with Vegemite and Billy Tea, not Vancouver items. If you must buy a Vancouver themed items, buy raincoats or umbrellas.
posted by crazycanuck at 8:48 PM on July 25, 2012

I wonder if you could get them a card for Tim Horton's? And maybe some things from home that they won't get easily there, I know it's a cliche, but what about things like Aeroplane Jelly and Vegemite, their favourite tea and coffee, and sheepskin slippers? Merino knitted goods, or outdoor wear?
posted by woolly pageturner at 8:49 PM on July 25, 2012

Rubber boots! Colourful cute ones, if you like. Life was so much better once I bought some for myself. They might be puzzled but I bet they'll thank you in November or so. (6 years living in Vancouver now)
posted by PercussivePaul at 8:51 PM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Annual pass to Grouse Mountain
posted by Pomo at 9:03 PM on July 25, 2012

I expect Canadians also have tea, and I expect vegemite afficianados would make appropriate arrangements*.

I'd aim for something that would help in cold weather. Gloves or something.

*I certainly do.
posted by pompomtom at 9:14 PM on July 25, 2012

Response by poster: Just a small note - they are only going for 18 months and will actually be returning to Australia at least once in that time, plus I will be visiting them in Vancouver next year and can bring them anything they want then, so I'm not sure that they'll get a chance to really miss any Aussie items.

(Also, I'm not sure they even like Vegemite that much - Aussie sacrilege, I know!)
posted by Defying Gravity at 9:18 PM on July 25, 2012

Rubber boots. Functional and (in the twisted world of Vancouver fashion) stylish.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 9:27 PM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hm, so they leave just when the Aussie winter is ending, then they get one long grey damp Vancouver winter, then one glorious but brief Vancouver summer, then another long grey damp Vancouver winter, then they arrive just as Aussie winter is beginning again. Poor buggers. Maybe one of those fancy lights to fight seasonal affective disorder?

Also I stand by the boots. Also they should try to stay till September in the second year to enjoy another summer if they can.
posted by PercussivePaul at 9:29 PM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I buy people Groupon gift certificates when they relocate to new places. You can buy them a Groupon Vancouver gift certificate.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 9:37 PM on July 25, 2012

Best answer: If they are outdoorsy and vegetarian, they are going to enjoy in Vancouver.

A MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op) gift card would get them camping gear, and MEC organizes group outings.

UBC has a great Bike Co-op, won't cost them much, but good info if they like cycling (or even want to make their own bike!)

If they like biking, you could prepay for a tandem rental right by stanley park here or here -- a beautiful ride right in the city.

You could also get them a BC ferries gift certificate, because ferries from Vancouver go to lots of gulf islands and up the coast, and can be expensive.
posted by chapps at 9:50 PM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Seconding Mountain Equipment Coop, as it is a glorious outdoor lover's paradise and even originated in Vancouver. They make really well thought-out and sturdy gear that lasts for years. Also as chapps said, the folks at MEC have great insight into local outdoor activities and organize workshops so it would be a great community for them to be involved in if they want to do some outdoor stuff.

Bean Around the World is a coffee shop chain with a location very close to the housing they are likely to be living in. It's pricy but a nice place to hang out and tends to be frequented by a bit older crowd than the main campus caffeine dispensers. I'm not sure how to get their gift cards but I know they offer them.

The Tim Hortons' on campus don't take gift cards I'm pretty sure, so that would be less useful as they'd have to be off campus to use it.

The Bayswater Tea Company and Granville Island Tea Company are my go-tos for tea in Vancouver, but I'm not sure if they offer gift cards. David's Tea is more trendy and pricy but it might be easier to acquire a gift card.

The UBC Farm has a Community Supported Agriculture program with boxes of produce delivered weekly to on-campus locations by bike, but as it takes place in summer it would be a somewhat delayed gift and possibly a pricy one. Pass on the recommendation to check out the farm markets though if they get the chance.

Perhaps a guidebook to hikes around Vancouver might be nice? I don't have any personal experience with any so I can't recommend one in particular. I hope they enjoy living at UBC! It's wonderful here, so long as you own a sturdy raincoat and don't mind heading out for adventure in the rain!
posted by lookoutbelow at 9:57 PM on July 25, 2012

Response by poster: I love the idea of giving them a MEC gift card, but it looks like you have to be a member to buy one, unfortunately. I checked out several of the other suggestions here, but I think it's going to be difficult and/or super expensive to buy gift cards and have them shipped to Australia, and I really want to give them the gift before they leave.

I think I might go with a hiking guidebook, and also buy them an gift certificate.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions; I really appreciate them.
posted by Defying Gravity at 12:40 AM on July 26, 2012

Becoming a MEC member costs five bucks. Ship the gift cards to their address in Canada. When my friend moved there, we printed out "gift cards" on paper, and shipped him real cards once he had a Canadian address.
posted by ye#ara at 5:45 AM on July 26, 2012

Better yet, get the membership in their name.
posted by ye#ara at 5:46 AM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Definitely send some Aussie-unique stuff; goods from around the Dominion can be had, but are generally pricey as heck.

I'm surprised BC Ferries do gift certs, but that's a great idea. The trip from Tsawwassen (Vancouver) to Swartz Bay (Vancouver Island) I took at sunset is one of my best memories from 2008.

Here are the fares, to get an idea:
posted by Sunburnt at 7:49 AM on July 26, 2012

Best answer: Send them a care package a month after they arrive! Tim Tams, vegemite, Paw Paw ointment, chicken chips, Turkish Delight bars, chocolate bullets... all those little things they don't know they won't be able to find there.
posted by third word on a random page at 8:29 AM on July 26, 2012

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