Photo credit: Nano Dudek | Flickr
As the cultural focal point of the City of Vancouver's Indo-Canadian population, the Punjabi Market is a five-block stretch along Main Street, between about East 49th and East 54th Avenues. Here you’ll find new immigrants along with grandparents bringing the second-generation grandkids for a taste of their homeland.
Seeing and Doing
Most of the activity in this commercial district is focused on shopping and eating. But there are a couple of attractions close by the neighbourhood for visitors to explore. The Ross Street Sikh Temple was built in 1969, designed by well-known Vancouver architect Arthur Erickson. The striking building is open to visitors to take a look inside—just make sure you take off your shoes and cover your hair with a provided kerchief or headscarf. Another architectural gem is the Sunset Community Centre at Main and East 52nd Avenue. Designed by another of Vancouver’s esteemed architects, Bing Thom, the centre offers a skating rink and community services under a distinctive swooped roof. Vancouver’s Punjabi Market also hosts an annual Vaisakhi Parade, running down Main Street, and absolutely filling the streets.
Eating and Drinking
It’s no surprise that the main attraction here is the superb Indian food on offer. Take a table next to local families and enjoy a casual meal, either a la carte or from the buffet. And make sure you leave room for dessert! The brightly-coloured, tooth-achingly sweet delicacies are worth the calories. Or fill a box at the front of the restaurant, and take them back to the hotel to enjoy later.
Shopping and Souvenirs
With stores filled with well-priced silk saris and fabric, and rails of bangles crafted from bright, 22-karat gold, there’s plenty to browse. Window shopping is a tantalisingly colourful pursuit which is sure to make you pull out your camera. The smell of exotic spices can’t be ignored and it won’t be long until they lure you in to one of the grocery stores along Main. Along with hard-to-find ingredients, these stores as a treasure-trove of stainless steel cookware and utensils, which make practical souvenirs for home.