The VanMag Editors Share Their Favourite Stories of 2023

The stories that have stuck with us this year.

It feels like just yesterday we were putting together our favourite stories of 2022, but here we are again: the end of another year of articles, and time once again to play favourites. Will we all hype up our own stories, or spread the love to fellow writers and editors? Only one way to find out. Read on—if you’re lucky, maybe you’ll find a favourite Vanmag story to call your own. (Want to catch everything we’ve got coming in 2024? Snag your free print subscription and sign up for our twice-weekly newsletter.)

Vanmag Editors’ Favourite Stories of 2023

Photo: Evaan Kheraj

So Fun City: Vanmag’s Guide to Fun in Vancouver

Sure, maybe it’s a little biased to select an editorial package that includes the person I’m married to (shout out to Boom Pro Wrestling and love-interest Max Mitchell!), but this would be my fave story of the year even if I didn’t get VIP seats each month to watch Abe Lincoln bodyslam an evil life guard. Our So Fun City package was a rebuttal to the common complaint that Vancouver is a drag, packed with lively profiles, insider recommendations and an extensive list of on-going, very-fun events. If you read this and then dare to tell me there’s nothing to do here, well, I guess we’ll just have to work out our differences in the wrestling ring (I know a guy). —Stacey McLachlan, editor-in-chief

Photo: Tanya Goehring

At Home With Photographer Evaan Kheraj and Fashion Stylist Luisa Rino

At our sister publication, Western Living, I spend a lot of time chatting with the architects of beautifully designed homes, but it’s not often that we get into the personal mementos of the homeowners who live inside those gorgeous walls. For Vanmag‘s September issue, we asked a number of creatives to allow us into one of their favourite spaces—and the stories they shared make it one of my favourites of the year. Evaan and Luisa’s home was my favourite in the bunch, the photos full of energy—you can see those kids bouncing on all of the beds—and the personal artifacts are both gorgeous and heartwarming, and full of personal history. And what I’d give for one of those dresses! —Anicka Quin, editorial director

The Best Drinks to Bring to a Holiday Party (and Their Zero-Proof Alternatives)

Maybe it’s recency bias, maybe it’s that I’ve finally reached an age where I can’t mix five kinds of alcohol and feel fine the next morning, but Kurtis Kolt’s latest zero-proof drinks guide officially has my heart this year. In it, he gives us four excellent alcoholic drink ideas (think cocktails, wines and beers) and then an alcohol-free alternative for each. It’s an extremely useful guide that speaks to where we’re at in the drinking world in 2023: we don’t need alcohol to craft an incredible adult drink.

I also want to give an honourable mention to our editor-in-chief Stacey McLachlan’s City Informer: Why Are Some Vancouver Street Lights Blue?—partly because Stacey’s hilarious takes on the mysteries of our city are always educational and excellent, and partly because I’d been begging her to investigate this particular phenomenon for A YEAR and she finally caved.—Alyssa Hirose, managing editor

Photo: Clinton Hussey. Styling: Lawren Moneta.

24 Things to Eat in 2024

As fun as it is to get to style all these dishes at the photo shoot, it was just so great get to meet the chefs and people behind each item on the list. Another perk to this story? I got to try so many delicious things in our city that I might not have even known about otherwise. —Stesha Ho, art director

City Informer: Why Is the Kits Showboat Being Destroyed?

It’s a rare and poetic occurrence in the world of journalism when a perfect investigative topic and metaphor come together as elegantly as this one. Witnessing it unfold is a joy to behold (or, in this case, to read). This particular story about the struggling performance venue, the Kits Showboat, is something extraordinary and truly floats my boat. It’s a timely tale of struggle and perseverance, replete with a plethora of water vessel-based puns. The narrative twists and turns—featuring pledges from the mayor to rescue the fledgling showboat, countered by claims that the math simply doesn’t add up and his donation is but a drop in the bucket of what’s needed to save the sinking ship. The story’s main allure lies in its heart. It’s a humorously heartfelt exploration that navigates the choppy waters of being seen as both beloved and obsolete in these modern capitalist times—ultimately prompting us to consider what it means to fight for something we love and to reflect on what we, as a community, cherish. Oh, and the puns! The so many beautiful boat-based puns.Kerri Donaldson, associate editor