Vancouver

A Long Weekend in Vancouver

The Hungry Photographer:
A LONG WEEKEND IN VANCOUVER (YALETOWN)

It’s important to take breaks. I get to go to a lot of cool places, but it’s work. I enjoy it very much, but it’s still work. In fact, my wife and I hadn’t been on a non-work-related trip together in about 5 years. Either she’s travelling for a conference and I’m tagging along for the photo opportunities, or we’re together on a photography-focused trip (pun intended). Either way, it’s always work.

We decided to take a long-weekend trip to Vancouver, BC. It’s only an hour and a half plane ride from home. It seemed silly that we hadn’t actually spent any time there before.

RAIN…

It was very rainy in Vancouver, typical for October. We stayed at a hotel downtown in the Yaletown area. Due to heavy rain, we didn’t venture much farther than that. Because this was a leisurely trip, we wanted to take it easy and not pack in a lot of activities. We visited the Vancouver Art Gallery, which had a few different exhibits featuring some great photographers like Robert Frank, Fred Herzog, and Vikky Alexander. We took the short ferry ride over to Granville Island. the market was nice, but packed with tourists to the point that there was nowhere to sit and enjoy lunch. One of the highlights of the trip for me was popping into Tom Lee Music during their big annual sale and coming out with a nice new Fender Stratocaster for 40% off!

Rainy days in Downtown Vancouver, British Columbia

Rainy days in Downtown Vancouver, British Columbia

I took a small mirrorless camera and one lens and only took a few shots. It was a bit of a struggle to keep myself out of the travel photographer mindset, but I really enjoyed getting to sleep in and have no particular plan or shot list for each day.

We happened to time our trip perfectly for peak Autumn foliage. In Alberta, the aspens and larches turn yellow in September and by early October they’re already gone, leaving a very pale and bleak landscape until the snow comes. Vancouver was a lot warmer (temps in the 50s), and there are hardwoods like maple, which display a greater variety of colours from reds to yellows to orange. Vancouver is a beautiful city. We’re now part of the large percentage of Canadian residents that wish they could afford to live there…

FOOD!

For four days we explored our little neighbourhood and ate lots. Vancouver has some fine restaurants. I think there were more great (and more affordable) places to eat within a few blocks of our hotel than in all of downtown Edmonton. We had excellent tacos, burritos, soup dumplings, dim sum, hand-pulled noodles, and seafood. We’ve got some great restaurants in Edmonton, for sure, but the variety is slimmer. Finding high-quality seafood and Mexican food is a challenge. Vancouver had it all.

Our favourite restaurants were Happy Noodle House, Chancho Tortilleria, The Templeton, La Cantina, and Homer St. Cafe & Bar. Here’s a short description of each:

Happy Noodle House: Delicious hand-pulled noodles and dim sum. We ate here twice. Their soup-dumplings (Xiaolongbao) and steamed buns are amazing.
Chancho Tortilleria: A small, loud, and hot restaurant with limited seating, but authentic hand-made tortillas covered in slow-cooked pork. I still dream about that succulent pork!
La Cantina: I’m not sure why this place isn’t more popular. Maybe because it’s so new? Their tacos and burritos are awesome. They have a taco happy hour featuring $2.50 tacos and $4 Corona. Sounds pretty great right about now!
The Templeton: An old-fashioned diner that’s been around for decades. Though it doesn’t work, the old juke-box is still there. We ate there twice as well. They serve traditional diner food that is mostly locally-sourced. They’ll spike your milkshakes and root beer floats, too! If I lived in Vancouver, I’d be at The Templeton all the time.
Homer St. Cafe & Bar: I am a bit disappointed I didn’t get any oysters in Vancouver, but my seafood craving was satisfied at Homer St. My scallops with carrot and mussel risotto was excellent! It’s a cozy, semi-upscale atmosphere with a great bar in a historic building. They’re actually known for their spit roasted rotisserie chicken, which smelled great, but I needed to have some local seafood before I left town.

Everyone said we’d love Vancouver and we wouldn’t want to leave…they were right. We’ll be back soon I’m sure. Below are a few off the cuff photos I took with my small Fuji mirrorless camera and smart phone. Thanks for reading and happy travels!