Hyper-Specific City Guide: What to Do With Your Frugal Grandpa Next Time He’s In Vancouver

The game plan for an afternoon with your cane-wielding grandpa who will be absolutely furious if you pay more than $10 for a sandwich.

This is part of our Ultimate, Hyper-Specific Vancouver City Guide, featured in the May 2024 issue of Vancouver magazine. We’ve created 25 unique personas and 25 unique itineraries to match. If this to-do list for ‘grandpa who doesn’t want to pay more than $10 for a sandwich’ isn’t helpful, perhaps one of the other 24 bespoke schedules will be. Explore them all here. 

All right, so La Grotta Del Formaggio’s (1791 Commercial Dr., lagrottadelformaggio.com) paninis just cross the $10 line at $10.99 for a meatball sub, but load him up with meatballs, melting mozzarella and a fresh Portuguese bun and he won’t be mad. Slide in a side of arancini to snack on later, and hop in the car to take in the view at Queen Elizabeth Park (4600 Cambie St., vancouver.ca). Wow him with trivia like the fact you’re at the highest point in the city proper while also being at its geographic centre. You could take in the parrots at the nearby Bloedel Conservatory, but that might blow the budget. Instead, drive back down to the West End and park at the Aquatic Centre (1050 Beach Ave., vancouver.ca).

Take a few laps in the ’70s-vintage building if that’s grandpa’s jam (admission is $8), but you’re here for the best ocean-going deal in the city: a $4 ride on the False Creek Ferries (Sunset Beach, granvilleislandferries.bc.ca) over to Granville Island. Head into the Public Market, grab a mile-high slice of lemon meringue from À La Mode Pie Café (1689 Johnston St., alamodepie.com), because grandpa, and grab a seat on the back patio to watch seagulls the size of children attempt to coax tourists out of their French fries.

Before you head back to your ferry at the end of the day, surprise gramps with a duo of puffcreams from the power chef-run Popina Canteen (1691 Johnston St., popinacanteen.com)—Malteser for him, with crushed malted milk balls; Violet B for you, with freeze-dried blueberries and cornflakes—and hang out on the dog beach below the Aquatic Centre
to count the corgis and take in thebay view.

More from the Ultimate, Hyper-Specific Vancouver City Guide here.