Shopping in Vancouver

Vancouver Shopping

Art galleries, ethnic markets, gourmet-food shops, and high-fashion outlets abound in Vancouver, and both Asian and First Nations influences in crafts, home furnishings, and foods are quite prevalent.

Vancouver has a community of budding fashion designers whose creative clothes and accessories populate the boutiques in the Gastown and Main Street/Mt. Pleasant neighborhoods. The Portobello

West Market is also an exciting showcase for emerging local designers. Of course, Vancouver does have many of the same chain stores that you can find across North America, primarily downtown on Robson Street and in the malls. "Mall" doesn't just mean the Gap and Abercrombie, though, particularly in suburban Richmond, where shopping destinations cater to an upscale Asian community. If you're not headed to Hong Kong, Beijing, or Tokyo, Richmond could be the next best thing.

In the art scene, look for First Nations and other aboriginal art, from souvenir trinkets to stellar contemporary art; many galleries showcasing First Nations artists are in Gastown. Area artisans also create a variety of fine crafts, exhibiting and selling their wares at Granville Island galleries. We've listed a few of our faves, and the "Artists & Artisans of Granville Island" brochure, available at shops around the island, has a complete listing of island galleries and studios.

Food—especially local seafood (available smoked and packed to travel), cheeses from British Columbia and across Canada, and even locally made chocolates, jams, and other goodies—makes tasty souvenirs (or delicious picnic fare along the way). B.C. also has a rapidly maturing wine industry, and local shops give advice about the region's offerings (and tastings, too). Remember the restrictions about taking alcohol back into your home country before you stock up.

Outdoor-oriented Vancouver is a great place to pick up camping and hiking gear. There's a cluster of outdoor-equipment shops on West Broadway between Yukon and Manitoba streets in the Fairview neighborhood, and you'll find several snowboard, skiing, and bicycle outlets on West 4th Avenue, just east of Burrard Street in Kitsilano.

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