The Great White North isn’t all pond hockey and maple syrup—Canada’s west coast province of British Columbia holds its own unique identity to the rest of the country and indeed the world. Drawing on influences from home and abroad, the country’s largest coastal city is a dramatic yet harmonious juxtaposition of natural beauty and cosmopolitan culture. Mountains line the north and west while beaches dot the city’s shoreline as glass high-rises jut out of the fog alongside historic brick-lined streets dotted with new business.
While many skiers and snowboarder en route to Whistler Blackcomb may pass by the city as they climb the mountains alongside Howe Sound—a breathtaking fjord that runs from the city into the rugged mountains—Vancouver is worthy of a visit in its own right. We caught up with the team at Vancouver-based Herschel Supply Co. for their favorite hometown picks—from no-nonsense sushi to a fresh-faced neighborhood general store.
With its proximity to coffee culture meccas like Seattle and Portland (and accompanying meteorological similarities), it’s no surprise that Vancouver is packed with worthy roasters and baristas. In historic Gastown (think Brooklyn meets Boston but more overcast), Revolver stands above the rest. With a mission to serve the best coffee with expert precision, Revolver serves local and regional favorites including Portland’s Heart Roasters and hometown heroes Matchstick Coffee. Every coffee is carefully selected by Revolver’s team with serious attention to detail in every step of preparation. Despite the meticulous approach, Revolver doesn’t have even a hint of pretension in its reclaimed wood-lined, casual space.
For a slice of Italy up north, look no further than Pizzeria Farina in Vancouver’s rapidly gentrifying Strathcona neighborhood. A crisp, minimalist interior calls to mind the mid-century modern design ethos of the Italian greats. Thin Napoli-style pizzas are cooked up for both take-out and the dine-in eaters who often brave a line out the door. The restaurant’s menu and schedule match its simple decor: only a few varieties of pizzas are served and pies are sold until the dough runs out that day. Visit this east-side hotspot early and be sure to try the pizza of the day, often made with local ingredients.
Union Wood Company
Inspired by Vancouver’s past as a major lumber exporter, Herschel Supply Co. neighbors Union Wood Company comb through discarded wood, lighting pieces and antique decor then craft unique pieces in their port-side studio. Since we last caught up with the reclaimed wood studio, founder Craig Pearce along with other local artisans has widely expanded his offerings. Pearce’s products are available online but stop by the showroom for the full experience—including a look at the workshop behind the store.
Sushi is to Vancouver as pizza is to New York: There’s no shortage and there’s everything from the mind-blowing to renditions that will make you question legal definitions of “food.” The crew at Herschel steered us toward one of the city’s gems with Shiro; a humble, unassuming and intimate space in the Cambie neighborhood that lets its food do the talking. Locally and internationally sourced seafood is prepared traditionally, allowing the natural flavors of the delicacies to shine.
Across from Canada’s busiest port and all the energy of downtown lies Deep Cove, an idyllic neighborhood in North Vancouver with a shop-lined street that empties onto a marina where whales sometimes glide by, abutted by mountains on either side. Herschel founders Jamie and Lyndon Cormack call the lush oasis home and partnered with fellow local Megan Curran to open Ahoy Goods, a general store for enjoying beautiful British Columbia. Featuring a range of local crafts as well as standby classics from Patagonia (yes rain jackets), Ray Ban and Vans, the store represents Canadian coastal style and aesthetics—namely, enjoying the outdoors no matter the weather.
Lead photo by Jamie Henderson, all others by Amanda Yogendran