Forgive me while I get a bit Vancouver-centric on you. Because I’m a big proponent of supporting local, this next instalment of my gift guide is all gifts that you can buy in my ‘hood – Gastown: the oldest neighbourhood in Vancouver and home to heaps of adorable little boutiques. If you happen to live in Vancouver, spend a (rainy) day in Gastown this weekend. Grab an eggnog latte, take a wander, and pick up gifts for all your people. First off, my three favourite Gastown boutiques:
Litchfield (38 Water Street) – Yes, that is the name of the prison on Orange is the New Black, but everything in this shop is pure class…and it smells amazing, unlike (I would imagine) the fictional prison. Choose from beautiful high-end camping gear from Snow Peak; blankets and scarves; interesting, well-designed coffee table books (like The Flavor Thesaurus and the Cookbook Book); artisanal bath products from men and women; gorgeous stationery; and (my favourite) a hammered copper mug for drinking Moscow Mules. I could easily buy every one of my gifts here.
Old Faithful Shop (320 West Cordova Street) – This is the #1 place my colleagues and I go to buy gifts for each other. The gift guide below is very heavy on products from Old Faithful; though not intentional, there’s definitely a reason it ended up that way. Lots of indie food products, books and periodicals, gorgeous blankets, and bath and fragrance items for everyone on your list (it’s a cliche, I know, but so true in the case of OFS).
Meadow (104 Water Street) – Meadow is especially good for buying gifts for wee babes, like clothes from Winter Water Factory and stuffed toys from Hazel Village. There’s also great stuff for the big kids in your life, including heaps of products from Rifle Paper Company, plus lovely hanging terrariums. Unfortunately the beautiful old globe they have on display isn’t for sale. I’ve asked.
And some honourable mentions:
Orling & Wu (28 Water Street) – Mainly homewares. Great clocks. Gorgeous throw blankets and other textiles. Lots of delicious smelling products from Lucia, Dr. Harris and Co., Library of Flowers. Fjalraven bags.
Roden Gray (8 Water Street) – The ultimate store for the discerning gentleman. Beautiful watches from Shinola Detroit. Bath/fragrance products from Malin + Goetz and Aesop. High-qual periodicals like Monocle, Cereal, and The Gentlewoman. Herschel bags. An impressive collection of (rather pricey) socks from Mr. Gray.
Parliament (115 Water Street) – Appropriate to its name, this place has a serious obsession with owls. Heaps of owl gifts to be found (ornaments, mugs, book ends, salt and pepper shakers…). My favourite things in the store are their Vancouver photos on canvas from Heather Johnston and Kermodi Living Art (‘low maintenance plants’…which is how I like my plants).
02. Barr & Co. bath salts. I received these as a gift, and they’re lovely. At Old Faithful Shop.
03. Chemex Coffee Maker. Makes a damn fine cup o’ joe. At Old Faithful Shop.
04. Wildman Beard Conditioner. At Meadow.
05. Dog lead from Found My Animal. These leads are very versatile, and attractive to boot. At Old Faithful Shop.
08. Malin + Goetz candle in mojito. At Roden Gray.
09. Mast Brothers Chocolate. The best, and the most beautifully packaged, chocolate bars. At Old Faithful Shop. Also available at OFS: The Mast Brothers Family Cookbook. Book + chocolate would make a very nice gift indeed.
10. Jacobsen Salt Tasting Pack. At Old Faithful Shop.
11. Common Projects leather Macbook cover. At Roden Gray.
12. Noble Bourbon Maple Syrup. At Old Faithful Shop.
13. Kids fox tee. At Meadow.
14. Old Faithful Handmade Kitchen Shears. At Old Faithful Shop.
15. Campagne clock. At Orling & Wu.
16. Sulphur throw by Twig. At Orling & Wu.
17. Hazel Village Owen Fox Doll. At Meadow.
18. The Motley Atlas cologne. At Old Faithful Shop.
19. Terrarium. At Old Faithful Shop.
The above represents just a small sample of the gorgeous products available at Gastown’s many terrific boutiques. So skip the mall, Vancouverites, and support Vancouver’s small businesses by shopping local.
One last thing… While you’re in the ‘hood, here are my suggestions for where to keep your energy stores up:
Caffeinate – I know I said eggnog latte, but if you want some real coffee, drop by Timber Train (311 West Cordova; right across from Old Faithful) or Revolver, slightly farther away from the shops, but worth the detour (325 Cambia).
Imbibe – Once you’ve checked everyone off your list, grab a cocktail. You’ve earned it. Your options are many, but I suggest The Diamond (6 Powell Street) or Six Acres (203 Carrall Street)…or both. They’re mere steps away from each other. Another great option: Revel Room (238 Abbott).
Eat – For dinner after your spree (or lunch during), try Jules Bistro (216 Abbott) or The Flying Pig (102 Water).