Vancouver CityGuide: North Vancouver

Five reasons to make the SeaBus journey.

Busting with cute shops, cool cafés and wild hikes, North Van is home to mountain people with refined tastes. Don’t believe us? Try grabbing a decadent victory brunch post-hike before sipping on a distilled-in-house cocktail and checking out the live music and culture scene just like a local. You might have to make two trips.Mystery Lake1. Sherlock Homes Would Swim Here

Don’t let the name Mystery Lake fool you: locals know all about this gorgeous spot. The relatively easy 1.25-hour hike, located in Mount Seymour Provincial Park, is the perfect place to take a dip in the late summer when the water has had a chance to warm up—or bring some inflatables with you and just float for the afternoon.

2. Room with a View

Opened in Fall 2017, the Polygon Gallery in the shipyards of LoLo was designed to be a mix of contemporary and industrial architecture with a dramatic serrated roof and a large-scale picture window that frames the downtown skyline. The gallery has a focus on photography and this summer it’s playing host to the surreal, paranormal-inspired mixed media work of Susan Hiller. Bonus: Polygon is open until 9 p.m. on Friday nights to correspond with the Shipyards Night Market.

BLVD Bistro

3. Two-for-One Special

The tiny 12-seat Blvd Bistro always has a wait on the weekends, and it’s no surprise when you have a place that serves up paella del patron and philly cheesesteak hash in a wood-panelled room that screams West Coast. Go early and put your name down before popping next door to sister spot S’wich Café for a leisurely coffee that you can bring with you when your table is ready.

LaLa's Cats4. Something for You, Mom and Your Anti-Establishment CousinGet your shopping fix at Deep Cove’s Gallant Avenue: LaLa’s is a trinket trove for cool and unusual gifties like feminist socks, Barefoot Venus bath goods and cheeky retro knick-knacks. Room Six, which has the slogan “Special Things for Nice People,” is a totally zen space with local high-end handmade ceramics, woodwork, linen clothing and whisper-delicate jewellery.Sons of Vancouver

5. Spirit Guides

Spend an evening conducting a tasting-room faceoff between Sons of Vancouver Distillery and stones-throw-away Woods Spirit Co. The latter has a new tasting room, new Cascadian Gin, and its old faithful, the Pacific Northwest Amaro liqueur. Compare that to the Sons of Vancouver’s chili-infused vodka (and resulting spicy tropical cocktails). Sons also brews amaretto in house and has created an adult Popsicle cocktail affectionately named Benzooka after a friend.