A walk in the woods

Shopping in downtown Vancouver is just like any other Western city, with grand chain stores and big brands. Yet I’ve also noticed a thriving independent trade. If Robson Street is like London’s West End, Main Street takes you back in time – literally.


John’s Jukes is a wondrous collection of bar entertainment from a different era. Wutlitzers jostle for position with vintage pinball machines and arcade games. But John himself remains realistic : “It’s a passion, yes, but it’s also a business.”

I’m not sure my baggage allowance will stretch to these.



The rest of Main Street is great for quirky souvenir shopping. But today I’m not buying, I’m looking.

The Compass Card is Vancouver’s new travel pass. And for $9.75 a day (about  £5) you can use the buses, trains and the ferry to the North Shore.

Many coming here arrive by a free shuttle bus, taking them either up to Grouse Mountain or the Calapino Suspension Bridge. Both attractions will set you back £40 each. But you can get a similar experience for free at Lynn Valley.



The gorge here is only 50 feet deep, but it provides a great introduction to Vancouver’s outdoor scene. Woodland trails wind around the valley, all with good surfaces for weary feet.

It’s also remarkably accessories for the local classy neighbourhood.


Back at the North Shore, the Lonsdale Quay public market provides a great place for an early dinner. It’s much smaller than its Granville Island counterpart but great value for money. Fish and chips for £5 – with cod that was possibly caught this morning. If this were downtown you could triple that price.


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