Visit any city and you can buy a t-shirt and a coffee mug, and while both will likely be appreciated gifts, there are other souvenirs that say “Vancouver” in a louder, prouder voice. Whether you’re picking up a present for family or friends, or a little treat for yourself, the following items will help you bring home an authentic slice of Vancouver.
B.C. Wines and Craft Brews
Because most of B.C.’s wine production is consumed locally, you won’t find a lot of it sold outside of Canada, making it a unique souvenir. Uncork a bottle of British Columbia wine, and you’ll bring back memories of the great times you had in Vancouver. But why stop at wine? The city’s craft brewing scene has boomed in recent years, with tiny breweries selling small batches of unique beers to be consumed in hip tasting rooms, or to-go in filled growlers—refillable glass bottles. Even empty, the bottles make great souvenirs, but some breweries offer some of their beers in bottled or canned form, making them easier to take home.
First Nations Art
Vancouver and the surrounding region is home to many artists, inspired by the spectacular nature, waterfront views and mountain vistas. But it’s hard to beat First Nations art as an authentic and unique souvenir of your stay in Vancouver. Bentwood boxes, silver jewellery and intricately carved masks are decorated with symbolic animals to tell stories and legends native to the region. The best galleries are in Gastown and Yaletown, but the gift shops at both the Museum of Anthropology and the Bill Reid Gallery are also good bets.
Active pursuits are a way of life in Vancouver, whether it’s running the seawall, climbing a cliff face, paddling a fjord, or downward-dogging through a session of hot yoga. This also make the city a great place to pick up some new active wear to continue your own adventures at home. A good place to start is the home-grown lululemon stores for yoga and running apparel. For more rugged items, try the stretch of West Broadway between Main and Cambie Streets, which is filled with outdoor adventure stores.
For many visitors, the food in Vancouver is a highlight of their trip. It might not be practical to take home a bowl of pasta or a plate of tacos in your luggage, but you can certainly try recreating your favourite vacation dishes in your own kitchen. Some of Vancouver’s best restaurants have published cookbooks, including Vij’s, Blue Water Café, and Cactus Club’s Rob Feenie. Or prepare a sustainable seafood feast with the Ocean Wise cookbook featuring many of Vancouver’s top chefs.
This is an old favourite, but still a great pick. British Columbia’s salmon-rich waterways and First Nations traditions mean that this is an authentically Vancouver choice. Even better, it’s easy to find in vacuum- sealed, shelf-stable packages that don’t require refrigeration, making it easy to pack in your suitcase. You’ll find the best quality salmon at markets like Granville Island or Lonsdale Quay, and high-end grocery stores like Meinhardt Fine Foods.