Care to travel the world, one plate at time? Visit Kamloops.
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Some 9,800 accredited journalists will descend here, with the Main Press Centre occupying Canada Place and the International Broadcast Centre next door in the Vancouver Convention Centre. Canada Place was constructed for Expo 86 (its signature tensioned-fabric roof is now earmarked for replacement); the convention centre was expanded in 2009—and what a centre. The tilted-out glass walls loom over the seawall resembling the hull of a ship, while hemlock and cedar panelling run inside and out, anchoring the 11-storey structure. Up top, a massive green roof, complete with apiary and shimmering native grasses and plants, randomly pops into view. (If only it were open to the public.)
Birks is jewellery supplier to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, and its complete collection of logo-imprinted gifts is available here at its historic Hastings Street store. Don’t miss the sterling-silver collection by Olympic freestyle champion Jenn Heil. 698 W. Hastings St., 604-669-3333. Birks.com
The labyrinthine Pacific Centre runs between Granville and Howe streets and is bookended by Robson and Pender. Look for Aritzia’s flashy new flagship store and Sephora, the upmarket cosmetics and skincare emporium. Most other stores in the mall are also found on nearby Robson Street, so set your sights on the heavyweights found on Level 3. Here you’ll find H&M, La Swiss (purveyor of watches by Oris, Fendi, and more), TeenFlo (home to stylish, easy-to-wear women’s clothing by lines like James Perse and Twenty8Twelve alongside the boutique’s eponymous made-in-Canada label), and Harry Rosen, the men’s department store renowned for impeccable service and high-quality labels. All roads lead to Holt Renfrew: start with entry-level brands Marc by Marc Jacobs, Vince, and American Vintage before hitting the heavyweights (Prada, Armani, Chanel, et al.) and the massive selection of cosmetics and skincare brands downstairs. Pacific Centre: 701 W. Georgia, 604-688-7235. Pacificcentre.com. Holt Renfrew: 737 Dunsmuir St., 604-681-3121. Holtrenfrew.com
Sinclair Centre is a heritage building constructed between 1910 and 1937. Restored in the ’80s, it’s now a striking retail centre housing ultra-luxe stores like Leone, a locally owned department store with attentive service (in many languages), and a convenient in-store espresso bar and bistro. 757 W. Hastings St. Sinclaircentre.com
The epicentre of downtown’s luxury retail renaissance is the intersection of Burrard and Alberni—steps from the cruise-ship terminals and hotel lobbies, naturally. Look for: Agent Provocateur, Betsey Johnson, Blubird, Hermès, Wolford, Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton, St. John, Gucci, Burberry, and recently arrived Brooks Brothers.
Yew at the Four Seasons welcomes international jet-setters and business moguls in a West Coast modern ambiance. Oyster platters and premium wines get our vote. 791 W. Georgia St., 604-692-4939. Fourseasons.com/vancouverCardero’s is the place for a frosty pint and seafood-leaning pub fare. 1583 Coal Harbour Quay, 604-669-7666. Vancouverdine.com/carderos
The private-club atmosphere and superb Canadian triple-A prime beef at Gotham Steakhouse are popular with visiting NHL teams and celebrities (spotted: Joshua Jackson, Diane Kruger, Chris Noth, and the cast of Twilight). 615 Seymour St., 604-605-8282. Gothamsteakhouse.com
The Railway Club dates back to 1931, when it was a members-only pub for railway workers. It bears little resemblance to the original but it’s still laid out like a series of narrow train cars with the stage at the front, bar in the middle, and booths in the caboose. Live music nightly. 579 Dunsmuir St. (second floor), 604-681-1625. Therailwayclub.com
Granville Street between Drake and Cordova streets is redesigned just in time for the Games. The street now responds to the heavy pedestrian traffic generated by the area’s many nightclubs and theatres, and the three subway lines that now converge here. Click here for a roundup of free events staged on this storied thoroughfare.
Running Room’s Denman Street store hosts free practice runs for all levels, Sundays at 8:30 a.m. and Wednesdays at 6 p.m. 679 Denman St., 604-684-9771. Runningroom.com
A handful of SkyTrain stations congregate around the venue. In downtown, a northbound bus along Burrard Street will drop you off at the northernmost stop at Pender Street, a few blocks from the venue.