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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.1. 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.
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.
4. 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.
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.