So, youâ€™ve been to Granville Island. Youâ€™ve enjoyed the hip shops along Vancouverâ€™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 â€˜nâ€™ scraps fill this store â€“ no, itâ€™s not a hoarderâ€™s dream. Instead, itâ€™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. Itâ€™s a fun way to spend $10 and make something beautiful once you get home.
2. Regional Assembly of Text. If youâ€™re helplessly devoted to type, this tiny shop will get your ink flowing. Create your own button-pin with the storeâ€™s typewriter and art supplies, browse cool â€˜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. Thatâ€™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. Childrenâ€™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 Vancouverâ€™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. Donâ€™t forget to visit side streets to enjoy a serendipitous shopping experience.
5. Stepback offers clever vintage and refurbished housewares, including melamine plates, childrenâ€™s chairs, and 1940s-60s pastel-hued accessories. Itâ€™s a sure stop if you’re hoping to uniquely outfit the new babyâ€™s nursery.
6. 3H Craftworks. This texture-rich store benefits both the manufacturer (a craft collective of developmentally disabled adults) and the consumer (you). Youâ€™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?