So, you’ve been to Granville Island. You’ve enjoyed the hip shops along Vancouver’s 4th Avenue. Ready for something different? Don’t want to buy just another mass-produced souvenir from the Robson stores? Here are seven indie-owned Vancouver shops that everyone will love.
1. Urban Source. Hundreds of bits ‘n’ scraps fill this store – no, it’s not a hoarder’s dream. Instead, it’s a clever shop that challenges children and adults alike to craftily reuse and recycle. Take paper and caps and create a flight of fancy in the form of a bird, or make your own decorative wrapping paper. It’s a fun way to spend $10 and make something beautiful once you get home.
2. Regional Assembly of Text. If you’re helplessly devoted to type, this tiny shop will get your ink flowing. Create your own button-pin with the store’s typewriter and art supplies, browse cool ‘zines, select a handmade card, pick up a screenprinted shirt and otherwise immerse yourself in a type-cast world.
3. GumDrops. Yes, it rains here. A lot. That’s no reason to hide inside. Head into the rain-focused GumDrops and pick up a gumball-colored matching set of raincoat, hat and boots. Children’s sizes are available, along with more sedate, urban rain fashions and summer (all weather!) sandals. You’ll weather any storm.
4. Miscellaneous shops in Chinatown. In Vancouver’s Chinatown, a stuffed-animal wave awaits even the pickiest of children. Shops overflow with Pikachu, Hello Kitty and Disney Princesses (some authorized, some questionably authorized). We particularly like browsing businesses for Totoro-themed school supplies, cool Chinese sandals and stuffed animals. Don’t forget to visit side streets to enjoy a serendipitous shopping experience.
5. Stepback offers clever vintage and refurbished housewares, including melamine plates, children’s chairs, and 1940s-60s pastel-hued accessories. It’s a sure stop if you’re hoping to uniquely outfit the new baby’s nursery.
6. 3H Craftworks. This texture-rich store benefits both the manufacturer (a craft collective of developmentally disabled adults) and the consumer (you). You’ll find imaginative storyboards, hand puppets, sun hats, hand-stitched dresses and yes, even a sock monkey or two.
7. Smoking Lily. Our family’s must-stop shop for unique screenprinted tees for teens and adults, cool skirts (well, only for the ladies of the family), beautiful housewares and other one-of-a-kind items. These ahead of the trend tees, dresses and skirts aren’t cheap, but you may luck into a sale.
Do you have a favorite Vancouver shop?