With its crisp weather, wild urban parks and cosmopolitan lifestyle scene, British Columbia’s biggest city is perfect for an autumn visit
IMAGES: DAVE HAMILTON (THE KEEFER BAR)
Sneaker pilgrims need to head to Livestock, Vancouver’s finest streetwear shop. It has an enormous range of fresh kicks and hot threads from all over the world, including hard-to-find items from niche labels like Wood Wood and Medicom Toy sub-brand Fabrick. It even has a handy schedule of new sneaker releases on its website.
The West End’s Arike serves up West African-inspired fare like spiced goat dumplings and Milo ice-cream (hey, that sounds familiar). The restaurant is named after head chef Sam Olayinka’s grandmother and draws inspiration from beloved family recipes. We recommend everything flavoured with suya, a Nigerian spice mix made with peanuts and pof pofs – fried dough balls coated in ginger honey and cinnamon sugar.
Family-owned Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island is a bit of a drive from the city, but in perfect autumn weather, it’s well worth the trip. The 220,000m2 floral park is a National Historic Site and has 50 full-time gardeners working its grounds – that’s more than two gardeners per hectare. The Japanese Garden is a must-see destination in mid-to-late September for its fiery fall colours. Take in the storybook palette of the Sunken Garden, which took nine years to complete, or catch the year’s last crop of roses – all 280 varieties – at the Rose Garden.
The apothecary-themed Chinatown bar serves “remedies and cures” with an Asian-inspired menu of small plates and dim sum. Cocktails at The Keefer Bar come with tasting notes, not unlike wines; there’s also a Japanese whisky selection and even baijiu. Its award-winning bar manager Amber Bruce was recently described as a “drink-slinging Jedi” in Vancouver press, which says it all.
Hong Kong Airlines recommends…
Brunch like a local
Marketing and branding manager Gretl Chow Leung digs in to the city’s best brunch spots
“Café Medina sits atop several “best brunch in Vancouver” lists for a reason. Come for the famous Belgian waffles, stay for the spiked bourbon coffee.”
“Get brunch with a New Orleans twist at Chewies Steam & Oyster Bar, known for its seafood and Southern-style dishes. This is weekends-only brunch, but they do take reservations.”
“Yolks is known for expertly prepared – you guessed it – eggs benedict. You can get brunch here every day of the week, and the line moves fast.”