Last week we explored the West Point Grey neighbourhood with its wonderful parks, museums, and family-friendly cafes. This week, head the opposite direction, east, to The Armoury District just across Burrard Street. This esthetically cool and tiny neighbourhood has only recently become official, though many of the chic businesses there have been established for decades. Home to fine furniture, luxury car, and modern design showrooms, art galleries, and indulgent food shops, The Armoury District can easily be strolled through in an afternoon. Here are our recommendations on what you should see, eat, and buy:
Exploring Kitsilano’s Neighbours, Part 2: The Armoury District
Walking past the shiny showrooms on Burrard Street selling mostly unaffordable speed machines, have a look at Vancouver’s famous castle situated at the entrance of the Burrard Street Bridge – the Seaforth Armoury. Currently undergoing a major upgrade, it was completed in 1936 and was intended to mimic a Scottish baronial castle. It is this building that The Armoury District is named after. Further into the District you’ll notice old warehouses morphing into glamorous retail space, and just before Granville Island stands the impressive Waterfall Building designed by Arthur Erickson.
The Armoury District, while small, has no shortage of fine foods known well by the foodie community. The former Kits favourite, Chocolate Arts on West 3rd Avenue, now has a neat cafe serving great sandwiches alongside their outstanding chocolates. Patisserie Lebeau on West 2nd Avenue creates lush and fluffy Belgian waffles that can be happily consumed on site or taken home. And, as the District’s most hip, Cafe Bica on Fir Street is the place for strong coffee and Portuguese pastries, best enjoyed outside for some people watching.
For unlimited budgets and interior decorators at heart, check out Livingspace on West 1st Avenue (you can’t miss the white origami-like building) and Mint Interiors on Fir Street for custom furniture and eclectic household decor sourced mostly from Europe. As one of the first retail businesses in The Armoury District, East India Carpets will be the place to shop for unique and handcrafted carpets and has been since the 1960s. And for smaller purchases, have a smell at Les Amis Du Fromage – a well-stocked cheese shop on West 2nd Avenue. Lastly, get ready-made gourmet meals to finish off at home from Quince on West 3rd Avenue, and for dessert, a pretty cake from the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts on West 2nd Avenue.
Last modified: November 21, 2019
Worth mentioning are Beaucoup Bakery on Fir – excellent French pastry and coffee – and Farmer’s Apprentice – fine dining. Both are top of their categories.