Although Kits is hyped as the Venice Beach of Vancouver, we locals know that our identity is deeper than a “sexy” beach. It’s tourist season so we’ve put together a three-day Kitsilano guide for visitors to shine a light on some of our other facets.
Without further ado, here’s ““Day 3: Historic Kits.”
Taking coffee at the former neighbourhood general store
Vancouver’s ever-evolving real estate can be quite unsentimental. That’s when you see a 108-year-old building like Arbutus Coffee standing tall you want to go inside. The cute little wooden green box with boomtown storefront is the former grocery/general store of the Delamont neighbourhood. These days, it’s a cozy coffee shop with friendly staff, a nice selection of baked treats and quirky, mismatched decor.
6th and Arbutus, Facebook.com/arbutuscoffee
First Nations artifacts and art at MOA
Pretty, posh Kitsilano neighbourhood and its Kitsilano Beach are named after Squamish First Nation chief August Jack Khatsahlano (1867-1971). After the First Nations people were unceremoniously pushed out of Kits in 1913, the area transitioned from a beach getaway for urban Vancouverites to a residential neighbourhood of Vancouver, characterized by gingerbread Craftsman-style homes. If you want to learn more about the original residents, MOA is the place to visit.
Situated at the end of the peninsula (west of Kits) on the UBC campus, MOA is renowned for its displays of world arts and cultures, in particular works by First Nations peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast First Nations. You’ll find fragments of totem poles from Haida and other First Nations villages along British Columbia’s coast. The most iconic object in the museum is the yellow cedar sculpture The Raven and the First Men by Bill Reid, which was depicted on the Canadian twenty-dollar bill from 2004 to 2012
6393 NW Marine Dr, Moa.ubc.ca
Temperate rain forest hike and nude bathing at Wreck Beach
There’s nothing like skinny dipping to remind you of your origins. Just behind MOA, take a short hike down a steep slope of lush ferns and temperate rainforest, and you’ll discover Vancouver’s only nude beach. Wreck Beach is part of Pacific Spirit Regional Park. With 7.8 kilometres of sunbathing and romping space, it’s North America’s largest naturist sunbathing area. Lose the clothes. Swim and nap. Before making your way back to Kits for dinner.
Hippie encounter and a hearty meal at The Naam
Back in the 1960s, when Kits was known as Rainbow Road and had real estate prices that appealed to counter culture youth, The Naam entered the picture. The Naam is the oldest vegetarian restaurant in Vancouver. Its appeal extends far beyond the veg crowd because it’s an lush oasis of sorts, and it’s open 24/7. Many hungry folks have found comfort and sustenance there in the wee hours, however long it took the aging hippie to bring their order to the table.
All ingredients are fresh, organic and local: Yukon Gold potatoes from the Fraser Valley, pure Canadian maple syrup, blueberries in the pie etc. Whatever else you order, get a side of the fries with miso gravy.
2724 W 4th Ave., Thenaam.com
After-dinner drinks at Bimini’s – the counterculture pub where Greenpeace was founded
In 1974, The Bimini, which takes its name from the Bimini Islands in the Bahamas, opened with the province’s first Neighbourhood Pub license on Kitsilano’s main street West 4th Avenue. It quickly became the local for the post Summer of Love-era hippies of Kitsilano. Bim’s was also where Greenpeace activists hatched their radical plots over pints, conveniently located across the street from their head office.
While the Bimini Public House pays tribute to its Kitsilano history with a wall of Greenpeace activist photos, it’s cocktail and craft beer list is decidedly modern. The longer you linger, the more the scene heats up. This is one of the top Kitsilano nightlife spots for everyone from UBC students to the 40s plus crowd.
2010 West 4th Avenue, Donnellygroup.ca/bimini
Last modified: October 12, 2021