Over the last few weeks we’ve brought you recommendations on what to see, eat, and buy in some of Vancouver’s neighbourhoods that border Kitsilano, including the West Point Grey and The Armoury District areas. For this week, take a look at a neighbourhood where time has stood relatively still and with a community that is fiercely committed to holding on to its relics, including a retro theatre, several bookshops, antique stores, and even horse stables. Welcome to the Dunbar-Southlands neighbourhood.
Exploring Kitsilano’s Neighbours, Part 3: Dunbar-Southlands
The Dunbar-Southlands neighbourhood largely consists of quiet, tree-lined streets with older, single-family homes, broken up only by parks and the occasional school, church, or pasture for horses. Flanked to the west by Pacific Spirit Regional Park and edging onto the Fraser River in the south, a stroll amongst beautiful greenery is never far away. Inside Pacific Spirit you’ll find the boardwalk-ringed Camosun Bog. This urban peatland was created during the last ice age about 10,000 years ago and it was and active site used by the Musqueam First Nations. Another oldie to visit, though not quite so ancient, is the Dunbar Theatre on Dunbar Street. This one-screen theatre has been offering plush seats and superb popcorn since 1935. For the kids, the Southlands Farm is guaranteed to be a hit. The Farm features friendly free-range chickens, pony rides, a mini farmers market, and at the moment, a little pumpkin patch too.
Dunbar Street, from West 16th Avenue to about West 41st Avenue (divided into three sections – north, central and south) is where most of the restaurants, cafes, and grocery stores are situated. Our picks are Butter Baked Goods for tea and nostalgic goodies (you may have devoured a little bag or two of their famous hand-cut marshmallows) and Jethro’s Fine Grub or, if you don’t like the line-ups, try Blaq Sheep, both for brunch. Kokopelli Cafe is ideal for those with little ones while La Notte has great pasta specials.
Open since 1931, you can’t go wrong with development-defying Stong’s Market for unique and organic groceries (they even sell pints of Earnest Ice Cream!). For those wishing for haggis, Marks & Spencer teas, Walkers crisps, and other foods and gifts from across the pond, take a peek inside The Celtic Treasure Chest. And visit Lawrence Books at West 41st Avenue and Dunbar Street for excellent used and out-of-print titles, while they still remain open.
Last modified: October 8, 2014