Canadian West Coast shopping
April 20, 2016 8:30 PM   Subscribe

Heading to Victoria and Vancouver next week - what unique stores may we be interested in checking out?

My husband and I are doing a driving tour through BC next week, and are going to be coming through Victoria, Vancouver, Richmond, White Rock, and so on. We're interested in doing a bit of shopping on our trip, specifically at stores we won't find in Calgary. Buying for ourselves and gifts for friends/family.

I know people will probably offer up sections of town to check out, which is lovely and appreciated, but I am in particular need of knowing which stores specifically to look up and find, in case I'm faced with a limited time frame (or by Husbunny's patience).

Special Interests:
- Awesome/Adorable baby gear
- gear for kids under 10
- Knitting and wool
- Artisanal food and drink
- Things for exterior decor - like for the deck and yard
- Things for the home / kitchen / bathroom
- Nerdy stuff, vintage videogames, comics, and related merchandise
- Stylish things for a professional's office desk
- Any place particularly cool and noteworthy, worth checking out for its own sake

We're particularly interested in handcrafted/artisanal stuff made by locals.

I'm also quite interested in stores that are popular in other countries but may have only one or two other stores open in all of Canada, like Daiso, the giant Japanese dollar store in Richmond, if you can suggest any.

Thanks in advance!
posted by lizbunny to Shopping (9 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
If you're going to Daiso, check out the food court of the Yaohan shopping center across the street, just to the north. It is an amazing food court with food from just about every corner of East Asia.

Victoria is an awesome town that will meet your needs, I think. It has some amazing independent shops in the downtown core (where I live).

Here are my suggestions:

- Awesome/Adorable baby gear
- gear for kids under 10

Buddy's Toys on Government Street. It's near MEC. There's another specialty baby shop at Fort and Government (not sure what name it is.

- Knitting and wool
Check out MakeHouse on Fort Street.

- Artisanal food and drink
Red Fish, Blue Fish in the Inner Harbour sells some pretty awesome fish tacos. It's sort of a food truck (but not a truck) right on the water. Just up the street is 10 Acres.

However if you're in Victoria you really have to try 2 local passions: beer and coffee. We have a ton of microbreweries here. Driftwood's Fat Tug was named the "best beer in BC" last year. Other popular local breweries include Phillips, Hoyne and Spinnakers.

Garrick's Head on Government Street has the best selection of local craft beers, but it's not really suitable for children. Spinnakers Gastropub in Vic West is a "gastropub" with good food and awesome beer (I like their Kolsch myself), and you can take a harbour pickle boat to a landing below the pub.

Spinnnakers also has a cold beer and wine store in James Bay at Menzies and Simcoe. It has a phenomenal selection of local craft beers, and it's a 20-minute walk from downtown. It's also my neighbourhood and I love living here.

- Nerdy stuff, vintage videogames, comics, and related merchandise

Cherry Bomb Toys is a must-visit store. There are a bunch of comics shops in that area. Legends is a cool shop.

- Any place particularly cool and noteworthy, worth checking out for its own sake

Munro's Books on Government is beautiful. Russell Books up on Fort is a massive used bookstore, one of the largest remaining ones in Canada. Sidney, near the ferry terminal is a "book town" with numerous books stores.

Coffee: Habit on Blanshard or on Pandora has "Third Wave" (fruity, tart) coffee; 2% Jazz in the Hudson on Fisgard has more traditional full-bodied roasts (the roaster is in the coffee shop). Caffe Fantasico in the Parkside Hotel has more Central and South American roasts. My favourite coffee shop is Bean Around the World in Chinatown. It's a funky, comfortable place. There is also a GIGANTIC pawn shop / curio shop across the street. The back section has an amazing selection of tools.
posted by My Dad at 9:19 PM on April 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

In Victoria, you could check out Oak Bay Avenue, which has a bunch of different baby/kids stores (among other things), in particular, you'd probably enjoy checking out Buddy's Toys, AbbySprouts, Finn and Izzy, and Timeless Toys. In the neighbourhood is also Crumbsby's Cafe, which is a kid/family friendly place to have a snack or lunch. This isn't shopping related, but if you do venture into Oak Bay, Willows Beach is beautiful.

Downtown Victoria, you could check out Mothering Touch.

And it doesn't fit any of your shopping categories, but it wouldn't be a west-coast shopping answer if I didn't suggest Smoking Lily. They have locations in Victoria and Vancouver. In Victoria, The Milkman's Daughter carries Smoking Lily clothes, decor and other cool stuff. The restaurant next door, Brasserie L'Ecole is pretty amazing for fine dining.
posted by rozee at 10:19 PM on April 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

I came in here to post exactly what rozee did about Smoking Lily & The Milkman's Daughter (they do have some cute kids' clothes, actually) and Brasserie L'Ecole.

Yarn/wool/knitting stuff:

Victoria--Beehive Wool Shop
Vancouver--Three Bags Full, Urban Yarns

There is a location of The Regional Assembly of Text In Vancouver and Victoria--cool local shop with letterpress stuff, interesting home decor. Heck, if you go to the location on Main Street in Vancouver, it's not far from Smoking Lily and Three Bags should take a stroll up that section of Main! I love it there.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:10 PM on April 20, 2016

We are local is a directory of many of the best indie shops in Vancouver/Victoria! Many of the ones mentioned above are in there!

Some favourites of mine:

Walrus is a really neat local things/home decor/nicely designed objects store.
Liberty is a nice little cafe with delicious baked things (including Totoro cookies, which are as delicious as they are fun to look at )
The Pleasant is a great gift store.

posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:03 AM on April 21, 2016

I'm on mobile so I can't link right now, but if you head over to Main Street in Vancouver, all pretty close to each other are:
- Regional Assembly of Text, a very cool and delightful stationery store
- Lucky's Comics, a tiny and carefully curated comic shop
- Granville Island Toy Company for the young ones
- Three Bags Full knitting store
- Lots of great eating in the area and lots of other stuff I'm forgetting

You might also want to check out the Stormcrow Tavern, an unbelievably nerdy bar in town and also Granville Island market for some general artisanal foods.

Have fun!!
posted by thebots at 1:49 AM on April 21, 2016

I came here to recommend Beehive wool in Victoria. The best yarn store I've visited in Canada (and in a city that doesn't even get that cold!). If you're looking for a treat, they had an extensive display of Quiviut last time I was there.
posted by third word on a random page at 2:17 AM on April 21, 2016

If you're a tea lover, the original Murchie's Tea shop (1110 Government Street in Victoria) is a great place to stop. There are also other locations of Murchie's Tea in Vancouver, as well, but the original shop in Victoria is especially charming.

Seconding Munro's Books (1108 Government Street) and adding Roger's Chocolates (913 Government Street). All three of these spots are within easy walking distance of each other, and are housed in beautiful historic buildings.

(If you're into history/architecture, Craigdarroch Castle is worth a visit-- and you might find some unique things in their gift shop, too.)

Have a great time on your trip!
posted by misspettigrew at 10:41 AM on April 21, 2016

Sweet Georgia Yarns has their production facility and a store in Vancouver.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:27 PM on April 24, 2016

Thanks very much for the answers! We certainly made good use out of them!

If you're going to Daiso, check out the food court of the Yaohan shopping center across the street, just to the north. It is an amazing food court with food from just about every corner of East Asia.

--> We went, kind of disappointing. I expected a lot more given the high praise above... only about five food stalls, and the one that looked most appealing was closed for the day. What I ended up eating was not phenomenal. Wish I'd have checked out the huge food court in the same shopping center as Daiso before we ate, they had the variety I was anticipating.
posted by lizbunny at 11:55 AM on May 6, 2016

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