Vancouver has long been praised as a city where quality of life is second to none, with residents effortlessly finding the balance between work and leisure time.
Food blogger Elizabeth Emery introduces us to her favourite vegan and ethical fashion spots in Vancouver, Canada.
Being such a green, outdoor city, it also happens to be a haven for beautiful vegan food, sustainable shops and trendy bakeries. If you’re looking for an eco-getaway, you could do a lot worse than visiting this urban slice of the Pacific North West.
10 Spots In Vancouver Vegans And Ethical Fashion Lovers Have To Visit
1. Bonus Bakery
One of Vancouver’s newest gems, fully plant-based Bonus Bakery has recently opened in the heart of the city to much acclaim. The stylish interior plays a fab backdrop to their vegan versions of cinnamon buns, cookies and pizza pretzels. You won’t want to leave. As well as being a good place to take a laptop and work, it’s worth popping in to stock up on snacks before a scenic walk around the Sea Wall and Stanley Park.
2. The Acorn
Any vegan or vegetarians’ first trip to Vancouver wouldn’t be complete without an elegant meal at The Acorn. Serving a delicious seasonally-changing menu, expect stunning presentation and inspired flavour combo, such as kelp-roasted oyster mushrooms.
Open for brunch and dinner, they also serve mouthwatering craft cocktails (we’re loving the What’s Up, Doc? – Liberty Truth Vodka, Sheringham Akvavit, Clarified Carrot Juice, Dill Bitters, Fennel Oil, Pickled Carrot).
They don’t take bookings for small groups so get there early to ensure you snag a table.
3. Arc Apparel
Looking for a spot of retail therapy? Sustainable fashion isn’t always easy to find in Vancouver, but founder Sarah Stewart has built a brand around sourcing ethically-made womenswear.
ARC Apparel champions companies who are doing notable things in the fashion industry in the realm of sustainability, ethical manufacturing and giving back.
In their gorgeous store you’ll find brands such as People Tree, Alternative Apparel, and Faithful the Brand. They’ve done the research on ethical brands so you don’t have to.
4. Blue Heron Creamery
Choose from unique flavours like Smoke ‘n’ Spice, or the delightfully named Cormorant. Chef Karen McAthy has been experimenting with dairy-free culturing for years (and is something of an authority on it) and these beautiful offerings are the results of her time and love.
5. The Soap Dispensary
If you’re looking for somewhere to restock your travel essentials, this shop will come in handy.
Located on Vancouver’s Main Street in the hipster Mount Pleasant area, The Soap Dispensary is the ultimate place for refills. Not only should you pop by to get your shampoo and bodywash restocked (remember to take your refillable containers), but you can also get refills on a multitude of other products.
Half of the shop is now dedicated to food, supplying items in bulk such as tempeh, soy sauce, olive oil and tortilla chips. Aside from helping the environment by diverting your plastic container waste, you’ll also want to visit because the shop is just beautiful.
Just next door to Blue Heron and also owned by them is Soil, a luncheonette and occasional evening space with a menu to die for. Incorporating Blue Heron’s extensive vegan cheese selection, each item on the menu is thoughtfully crafted to make use of local and seasonal produce.
Try the grilled cheese waffles and follow it up with one of their stunning ice cream sundaes. The restaurant also prides itself on incorporating surplus, or unwanted food into its menu (though you’d never know), rather than see it go to waste.
7. Farmers’ markets
If you head to Vancouver you’ll definitely want to check out the farmers markets.
So much produce is grown locally in the Fraser Valley that there is usually an abundance of fruit and vegetables on display in a variety of colours (particularly in the summer months).
You’ll also find stalls selling craft kombucha and vegan baked goods. Stroll through the markets like a true Vancouverite, it’s a great way to start the day.
This dairy-free gelato shop hasn’t been open long, but already Umaluna has quite the reputation.
Concocting flavours such as the beautifully-named Salted Caramel Sea Foam and Drunken Cherry, it’s hard to stay away when the ice cream tastes as good as it sounds. And it does.
Although this is one of several ice cream parlours in the city offering vegan options and is a little pricier than most, it’s also the best in terms of quality ingredients and inspired flavour combinations. You won’t be sorry you tried it.
9. Eternal Abundance
Located squarely on East Vancouver’s alternative Commercial Drive, Eternal Abundance is an all-vegan café, juice bar and grocery store, selling products from local suppliers as well as a full selection of fresh produce. The best part of this eatery?
Its huge dessert chiller cabinet at the front of the store, showcasing goodies freshly made in-house and from local makers, like gluten-free cookies and ice cream sandwiches. No visit is complete without trying their Nanaimo Pie (a raw take on the popular local BC dessert – a combination of almond cacao crust, mint cashew filling and chocolate topping).
As its name suggests, a heavy emphasis is placed on chickpeas in this vegan restaurant. With a menu indulging in hearty falafels, chickpea frittatas and bursting pitas, you’ll be utterly full if you eat here and you’ll still have money left in your pocket. If you’re craving something other than chickpeas however, don’t worry.
They also serve the most delicious torte made with Zimt raw chocolate (a local company who donate 1% of all of their profits to charities that help those in the greatest need), as well as potato courgette fritters and fried crunchy aubergine.
Elizabeth Emery is a food blogger, recipe developer and creator based in Vancouver, Canada. She is passionate about making vegan food beautiful and creating plant-based travel guides to cities around the world.