Four months ago I made the decision to hop from East to West Coast and move permanently to Vancouver. Four months ago I also stopped by Chapters and picked up a book called '52 Best Day Trips from Vancouver' by Jack Christie. It wasn't until two weeks ago that I uncovered the book at the back of my closet, collecting dust.. Seems I haven't been doing much exploring (at all) since moving to beautiful B.C. However, I became more inspired on a ski trip to Mount Seymour last weekend that I decided it was time to see what else the province had to offer.
I had heard on the grapevine that one of the best kept secrets of the city is Deep Cove, a neighborhood in North Vancouver, referred to as an oasis of rainforests, mountains, oceans, wildlife, solitude, recreation, and exploration. Last Saturday, I was ready for a retreat and some rejuvenation, so off to Deep Cove I went, ready to embrace the countryside. There's even something about the name that makes this place sound exotic. I live in the hub of Downtown Vancouver, and thankfully there's a direct bus that departs regularly from Homer St & West Pender - the 211. You'll want to hop off at the Deep Cove Rd FS Badger Rd stop.
I arrived around 11am, just in time to grab a bite to eat to fuel up for the morning, so I popped into the first cafe I saw. I noticed Cafe Orso from across the street, recognizable by the big bear standing outside greeting the guests.
I found it hard to resist the treats on display, and I overheard that they have they best avocado toast in the city, but I wasn't quite ready for that yet. I loved hanging at this place for the morning, having my coffee refilled again and again (I'm cutting down on the caffeine, promise). This place has a cool mid century modern & Scandinavian feel and the staff are absolutely lovely. I even returned at the end of the day for one of their popular turkey fennel sticks and a cuppa tea.
The next stop, further down Gallant Avenue, was the Seymour Art Gallery, where the stunning works of Sarah Ronald are currently on display. She began this body of work as a way to examine the varied nature in which we as a western society regard wild animals. Her hope for the exhibition is for the viewer to reflect upon 'the animal', and to spot the gaps and consider the overlaps between the cultural animal and the physical animal in their own life. As an animal lover, I enjoyed this exhibition and recommend checking it out if you're in the area. The next exhibition at the Seymour Art Gallery will be Samantha Dickie's Viveka - an immersive ceramics installation, starting March 10th-April 22nd.
At the end of Gallant Avenue, I had a few moments to enjoy the view and fresh air. There's something about Deep Cove, although only a 40 minute bus ride from the hustle and bustle of Downtown Vancouver, the Cove transports you to another world, a more relaxed and real environment. I chatted with so many of the locals, and found that everyone had this friendly countryside manner that just doesn't exist in the city.
Anyone renting a place in the Cove? I'll take it, thanks.
As I made a U-turn and was headed for the bus back to Van City, I noticed A'hoy, which I'd also heard great things about. It's a really fun, well merchandized apparel & accessories retailer selling everything from Herschel to Stussy as well as a pretty sweet collection of sneakers. Loved the vibe at this place, the staff were super chill and helpful.
Just as I made it to the bus stop about to hop on the 211 back to Vancouver, I received another recommendation - that I should hike to a place called Quarry Rock. I totally wasn't prepared for a hike, but screw it, YOLO... And it was worth every KM.
Although surrounded by so many people on the trail to Quarry Rock, it still felt so peaceful and quiet. I usually plug into my tunes on a hike, but something about this place made me want to enjoy the sounds of nature. There was something pretty zen about that. It felt awesome.
All in all, I'd say it was probably one of the most relaxing days since I moved to the West Coast. I also stopped by this really cool store called Sunnyside Tea & Home, but feel like that deserves its own post, so that'll be following later this week.