When I asked people where I should explore in Vancouver, pretty much everyone said, “Gastown!” It is the oldest part of the city, named after Gassy Jack Deighton and the pub he founded in 1867. It has a curious main street, with the initial section, beginning at the intersection of Water Street and West Cordova. It is very touristy and full of passengers getting off the recently docked cruise ships. But as you begin walking east, the panorama changes – you’ll find more independent boutiques, home décor stores and definitely more locals out and about. (The one exception is the luxe casual store One of a Few, which you’ll find right in the first block.)
There’s a vibrant energy to this historical district, and I encourage you to spend some time here when you find yourself in Vancouver.
One of my fave finds was Litchfield. The (very dashing) owner, Jonathon Litchfield, describes the store as “tools for living.” Here you’ll find elevated versions of things you already own – the most perfect throw for your couch, a special candle from France, or a Laguiole knife for your kitchen, for instance. He believes that if we make every little moment special with such items, it will lead to a more beautiful life overall. I wholeheartedly concur.
On the same block is a Scandi chic three level design store, Inform Interiors, founded by Niels Bendtsen. It is definitely worth a visit, as is the men’s store Roden Gray a bit further down the block on the same side.
If you’re ready for a nosh, take a little detour on Abbott St. where you’ll find Jules Bistro. I enjoyed a savory Croque-Monsieur with fries (I mean, I was walking a lot, right??) on their quaint patio.
I simply cannot resist a savory Croque-Monsieur and steaming hot fries!
So back to shopping…if you keep walking east on Water Street you’ll find Neighbour/Woman, as Water Street veers a bit left and turns into Powell Street. Although Neighbour began as a men’s store (which you’ll find on Water St.), I focused on the women’s store. They pack a lot of punch into their petite space, with Mansur Gavriel bags, and clothing from hard to find lines such as Lemaire, Eckhaus Latta, and Untitled Co. as well as unique items from staples such as Comme des Garcons, Pleats Please, and Acne Studios. They recently opened a storefront for home objects as well, which you’ll find as you exit the store and turn left. The majority of the merchandise is vintage items sourced by the owner during her travels. Check out the latest inventory on their e-commerce site.
Once you’re done with Water and Powell St., head to West Cordova, parallel to Water Street, one block away from the water. You may want to pop into Nouvelle Nouvelle. I was quite surprised to find a Versace home store on the block – who knew?!
I spent some time in The Block, a Vancouver mainstay which opened in 1999. They have a very broad range of styles and price points for both men and women. I saw clothing from the likes of White, A.P.C., and Henrik Vibskov as well as shoes from Loeffler Randall, and No.6.
All in all, I really enjoyed my afternoon in Gastown. There’s a vibrant energy to this historical district, and I encourage you to spend some time here when you find yourself in Vancouver.
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