If you haven’t had occasion to stroll the seawall that skirts Coal Harbour recently, it’s worth a wander now that the dust has settled. The row of glass towers bordering that shore (entirely new, except for the old Bayshore hotel) represents a population boom of 337 percent over five years. By comparison, the city’s growth was six percent. Servicing the sudden influx are Urban Fare, two seaplane terminals, and just a pair of really worthwhile restaurants (Lift and Cardero’s). If the pickings seem modest, that’s only because Coal Harbour (as mapped by city planners) is a meagre strip of urbanity, sometimes bulging only a block beyond the water—more a site of recreation than residence. Docks mushroom from the shore, tethered over with cruisers bearing names like Just Because and Paragon. Well-heeled locals parade along traffic-calmed streets (nearly half travel to work on foot). But so far, Coal Harbour remains more spectacle than true community, a strip of Dubai-like optimism that the rest of us peer up at while heading into the park.

 

SHOP

Bark & Fitz The only ones better dressed than Coal Harbourites are their labradoodles. Abarkcrombie & Fitz doggie tees ($32) can be had at Bark & Fitz, the bemusedly chic shop for canine accoutrement. (A robust Eastern chain, B&F set up here last year.) Also on offer: luxe biscuits and the services of Jennifer Ritcey, fur stylist. 561 Cardero St., 604-568-6096. Barkandfitz.com