Our Favourite Patios

Maybe it’s because we’ve had to sit through one or two rainy days throughout the year, or perhaps it’s because we love to be outside and enjoy the cityscape.  But one thing’s for sure, Vancouverites love their patios.  Fortunately, the number of spots to wine and dine al fresco is growing yearly, and it’s no longer as much of a battle to stake a chair.

Here are a few of our favourite patios in Vancouver.

Kristina Matisic

Cactus Club Coal English Bay and Coal Harbour

It’s no surprise that Cactus Club won best chain in the Vancouver Magazine awards. The Cactus Club at English Bay and the one at Coal Harbour both have exceptional patios. (And yes, the food is pretty tasty as well.) The former overlooks English Bay and the latter is nestled by Canada Place and the Convention Centre, right on the water. Both are poised to help you enjoy Vancouver at its finest.

Cactus Club English Bay 1790 Beach Avenue

Cactus Club Coal Harbour 1085 Canada Place


The Galley Patio & Grill

While the food may be mediocre (think nachos and beer) it doesn’t get much more beachfront that this. The patio at the Jericho Sailing Centre sits right on the sand and overlooks the Pacific, downtown Vancouver and the North Shore. It’s the perfect place to watch the skiffs, sailboats, and paddle-boarders while the sun sets.

1300 Discovery Street


Joe Fortes and Giardino

When you feel like kicking it old school, check out Joe Fortes’s rooftop patio on Thurlow near Robson. A favourite among the business types, it’s also a great patio to enjoy delicious salads, steak, and seafood. Another oldie but a goodie is Giardino, in a quieter area of downtown.  In its previous incarnation, Il Giardino’s was the lunch and dinner (and when lunch turns into dinner) spot for movers and shakers. After redevelopment forced a move a few doors down, the new patio still retains much of the previous location’s charm.

Joe Fortes 777 Thurlow Street

Giardino 1328 Hornby Street


Steve Saretsky

Keg Yaletown

Yaletown has a few smaller patios peppering the cobblestone streets. But one of our favourites here is the Keg’s rooftop patio, which provides a better perch and sunlight for a touch longer than the shadier streets below.  Best known for its steaks and seafood, it’s also much lauded for its “Keg-sized” cocktails. You’ll be taking a taxi home.

1011 Mainland Street



Do you like water? Do you like boats? What about yachts? If you answered in the affirmative to all of the above, you’ll likely love your seat at Lift in Coal Harbour. The best spots in the house are hanging, quite literally, over the water. There’s also a great happy hour from 3pm to 6pm during the week. $6 prosecco Fridays anyone?

333 Menchions Way



The Whip

Main Street has become a popular destination for young families, foodies, hipsters and everyone in between. To escape the hubbub, check out The Whip Restaurant and Gallery, just off of Main Street. A neighbourhood gem for almost 20 years, we love the laidback vibe and the small outdoor patio that lines 6th Avenue. 

209 East 6th Avenue


Jeremy Wong

Virtuous Pie UBC

This plant-based pizza and ice cream restaurant opened its second location in quaint Wesbrook Village near UBC earlier this year. The space is twice the size of the Chinatown outpost, plus, this one as a 27-seater patio. It’s a welcome addition to an otherwise patio-scarce area.

3339 Shrum Lane

Now that we’re on the subject, so many more fabulous patio spots come to mind including Tap and Barrel in Olympic Village; Local on Cornwall and their new Water Street location in Gastown; and Sandbar’s upper deck in Granville Island.

Have a favourite we need to check out? Be sure to drop us a line!

Vancouver’s Best Dog Parks

One thing is for certain – Vancouverites love their dogs! And while most of us resort to a couple of quick daily jaunts around our own neighbourhoods, dog owners know that nothing makes the family pup happier than the opportunity to run free. 

Fortunately, we have many beautiful and convenient spots where you and your dog can take in some of the city’s beauty.  Here are a few of our favourite dog-friendly areas:

Charleston Park

With a pond, a waterfall, lush greenery and a central location, there’s much to love about Charleston Park along the False Creek Seawall.  Because it flanks such a busy walkway, there are some rules here: No dogs in the duck pond, no matter how tempting, and off-leash times are limited to morning and after 5 pm June to September.

999 Charleston at Laurel Street

Emery Barnes Park

It may not be the prettiest of dog parks, but it doesn’t get much more urban, or central, than this park located in the middle of Yaletown.  The dog area is pebble, not grass, but it is fenced in, keeping errant pups away from the busy streets that flank the park on all sides.  There are a number of coffee shops in the area which makes it a great place to grab a cup and dog-watch on your coffee break.

Davie and Richards

Fraser River Dog Park

As the name suggests, this park is located along the edge of the Fraser River, at the foot of Angus and 75th.   Its slightly out-of-the-way location makes for a nice quiet spot to stroll and enjoy the scenic river views.  It also has free parking and well-maintained walkways for walkers and runners.  Not all of this park is off-leash, so be sure to heed the signs.

Angus and 75th Avenue

Hadden Park

While dogs aren’t allowed on many of Vancouver’s beaches, there are a few places where they are allowed to roam free.  The dog beach near Vanier Park and the Maritime Museum is a Locate favourite. Not only is it quite central, it has beautiful views of the downtown core from across the water.  The other advantage is that the beach area is relatively contained, making it a bit easier to keep track of pups gone wild.

1905 Ogden Avenue, at Chestnut

Spanish Banks Beach Park

When you take a stroll along Spanish Banks on a sun-filled day, memories of Vancouver rain immediately get washed away.  One of the most beautiful places to taken in the ocean and the city, Spanish Banks also has a large grassy area and an entire beach devoted to our four-legged friends.  But be forewarned: Come summer, the area is packed. And, come low-tide, you’ll be taking home one sandy, muddy (though very happy) pup.

4900 NW Marine Drive

Sunset Beach Park

Across the water from Hadden Park, and behind Vancouver Aquatic Centre, Sunset Beach Park is another great spot to give your dog some water access.  With spectacular views of English Bay and Vanier Park, it’s a great place to let your pup roam free before or after you do a loop around the Stanley Park seawall, which is an on-leash area.

1204 Beach Avenue (at Bute)

Musqueam Park

Located in the middle of one of Vancouver’s poshest neighbourhoods, this park is relatively quiet and very wet, oops, we mean west, coast.  Because it’s located in a low-lying area, it can be quite swampy during the colder, wetter months. Not that your dog is likely to care but we do recommend wearing rubber boots.  The park can feel quite secluded at times, making it the perfect place to escape from city life. And because it is quieter, it can be a good choice for dogs who don’t play as well with others.

4000 Southwest Marine Drive

Trout Lake (aka John Hendry) Park

East side residents flock to the picturesque Trout Lake for walks, picnics, a quick game of catch, and in summer, even a swim. The off-leash area is contained to one side of the park: It runs from the north end of the lake, to the ball field on the west, to the football field to the east and the lake to the south.  It’s pretty easy to figure out once you’re there. Trout Lake is also the scene of a growing dog meet-up that takes place in March.

3300 Victoria Drive

Looking for more dog-friendly locations in the city? This site is a good resource. And a final note, a reminder to follow all posted signs for off-leashed boundaries and times.

Vancouver’s Best Salads

When it comes to grabbing a bite for lunch, how many times have you said, “I could go for a big salad”?

We hear you. Finding that perfect salad that’s tasty, healthy and filling can be an ongoing quest. And, it’s always good to have a few go-to salad options in order to keep that diet varied.

To make your salad search a bit easier, here are some of our top spots in Vancouver:

Photo: @gdurell


This adorable café meets cooking school is located on a commercial strip of 10th Avenue near Alma. Their hearty salads include the Nourish Masala salad, a Kale & Rice salad and our favourite, the Bangkok Noodle salad – which is more soba noodle than salad, but we’re not complaining. Throw in some egg, chicken or smoked tofu for added protein.

3472 10th Avenue


Photo: @kristinamatisic


Located on the corner of Main and East Georgia in Chinatown, DALINA is a combination of espresso bar, grocery store and café. The menu includes a selection of seasonal salads but our favourite is the Tuna Gallego, which includes vegetables, beans, marinated octopus and seared tuna. Super healthy and filling. (Plus, the coffee here is excellent too) Eat in or take out, and pick up some groceries while you’re at it.

687 Main Street


Photo: @tractorfoods


We love this (expanding) chain for their healthy mix and match salad selection, featuring everything from quinoa to pasta to potato to all veg salads. One of our favourites is the green pea, snap peas, red potato salad with a mint, basil and lemon dressing. You can throw in a protein here as well. Vegetarians, be sure to try to grilled avocado. And the double chocolate and pistachio gluten-free cookies are to DIE for. After all, you can’t live on salads alone!

Various, including 1903 West 4th Avenue


Photo: @heirloomveg


This vegetarian restaurant on west 12th serves a mean twist on a traditional Caesar salad, incorporating kale into the mix, and topping it with cornbread croutons, crispy capers, cashew parmesan and beet chips. The large is a very healthy size, so you may find yourself taking some home for a late afternoon snack. (Because kale leaves are hearty, it actually does hold up well.)

1509 West 12th Avenue


Photo: Ben Nehms

Ahn and Chi

If you’re looking to put an Asian spin on your lunch, check out this delicious Vietnamese hot spot on Main Street. Their three salads on the menu include ingredients like banana blossoms, soft shell crab and fresh mango. But one of our faves is the fresh water spinach topped with sautéed garlic beef sirloin, fried shallots and roasted peanuts tossed in a sweet vinaigrette. Delicious!

3388 Main Street


Photo: Grant Flickr

Whole Foods

When you’re looking to build your own salad, to eat in or take-out, nothing beats the Whole Foods salad bars. Chalk full of veggies, various proteins, cheeses and nuts, there is definitely something for every taste and every dietary requirement here. If you’re super hungry, there are also prepared dishes like soups and stews to savour as well.

Various, including 2285 West 4th

Where to Shop – Home Décor

Whether you’re new to Vancouver or looking for a spring upgrade, you may be in the market for some home décor pieces.  Aside from the big chain stores like West Elm, Crate and Barrel and Restoration Hardware, there are a number of smaller boutique-style home décor stores that we love to frequent.

All selling beautiful wares with friendly, personable owners and staff, here are some of our must visit shops in the Vancouver area.




Gild & Co

In Point Grey Village, Gild & Co has a lovely selection of furniture, lighting, art, sculpture and other smaller home décor pieces.  It’s also a must for anyone looking for antique and vintage items. If you’re shopping for a unique, show-stopping mirror, be sure to add this store to your list.

4415 West 10th Avenue, West Point Grey




The Cross Décor & Design

Want pretty? Look no further. This store in Yaletown on Homer and Davie is 5,000 feet of gorgeous.  Shop here for furniture, bedding, table linens, glassware, art, you name it. They also carry a beautiful selection of pillows, baby gear, candles and some stunning jewelry lines, including Liven Co, one of our favourites. Co-owners Darci Ilich and Stephanie Vogler and their team also offer interior design services and an extensive online catalogue.

1198 Homer Street, Vancouver




East India Carpets

In business since 1948 and still family owned and operated, this Vancouver mainstay is the place to go for luxury rugs and carpets. Indian, Tibetan, modern, designer… the selection is vast. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, consider a custom, made-to-order rug. It may take a while but it’s the perfect way to get the size and colour for your particular space.

1606 West 2nd Avenue, Vancouver





Just next door, you’ll find Provide on the corner of Fir and 2nd Avenue in the Armoury district. Provide carries many beautiful ceramics, glass ware, artwork and wood pieces. Carefully curated by owners Robert Quinnell and David Keeler, this is a haven for those looking to incorporate a variety of textures into their space. Be sure to check out the gorgeous Missoni throws.

1805 Fir Street, Vancouver





Featuring modern furnishings and home décor pieces, this is one of our favourite stops in Vancouver’s famous Gastown. Known for their contemporary pieces with some mid-century modern flare, this is a great place for quality pieces that don’t break the bank. Be sure to make your way to the back of the store to see the Kermodi Living Art selection. These indoor and outdoor plants are perfect for those who may not have the greenest of thumbs:  they’re known for their “high design and low maintenance”.

115 Water Street, Vancouver





For champagne tastes and champagne budgets, it doesn’t get more covet-worthy than Inform Interiors, also located in Gastown.  This beautiful three-story store carries a large selection of furniture and home décor pieces for every room, from world class design brands.  The design team also offers kitchen and bathroom design and installations as well as a number of other services.

50 Water Street, Vancouver

Feng Shui

At this time of year, with grey skies and more than our fair share of rain, you may be looking to increase the positive energy in your life. We definitely are!

Feng Shui is based on the belief that all objects possess an energy called chi and you can use chi to bring you good luck, wealth and harmony. The basic principle of a feng shui home is that the design and furniture layout effect the flow of chi. Good flow, and good things can happen.

Okay, that’s greatly simplified. Truly understanding this over 3000 year old art and science can take years of study. But there are a few simple feng shui principles that you can apply to bring better chi into your own home.

  1. Less is more

Take a page from Mary Kondo’s book and de-clutter, de-clutter, declutter. The “less is more” approach increases light and improves airflow. This applies to all areas of the house, including the kitchen. Put away counter-top knickknacks and unused appliances to create a clean, fresh space.

  1. Let there be light

Bring in as much natural light as possible. Even in winter, draw back the curtains and open the windows regularly to allow in fresh air. And try not to rely on heavily- scented products such as air fresheners with artificial fragrances.

  1. Make a good first impression

The entrance to your home should be calm and inviting. A mirror or stairway facing the door isn’t considered good feng shui, as they can misdirect energy and prevent it from being distributed evenly through the house. Obviously, a staircase isn’t something you can easily change. But by adding plants, flowers, soft lighting and/or a nice entryway rug, you can warm up and ground the space.

  1. Keep on top of repairs

Traditionally, the hearth was the center of the home, a place of warmth, comfort and security. You don’t want the modern-day version to be leave you cold, so ensure that your oven and elements are in top working condition. Have a drip or a leak? Get it fixed. It represents money trickling away.

  1. Close the lid

On a related note, keep toilet lids shut and sink drains closed. This prevents your money and your good luck from going down the drain. (Not to mention that esthetically, toilets look better this way.)

  1. Balance the elements

Feng Shui focuses on five elements – earth, water, wood, metal and fire. Because there is so much “water” in the bathroom, consider introducing some of the other elements. For example, adding plants (earth), or a wooden bathroom stool, can help to bring balance to the space.

  1. Think about ease of movement

A bed should be easily accessible from both sides and not placed under a window or facing a door. The best positioning is to the side of the door, so that you can still see it. And don’t sleep with your feet pointing directly towards the door, that’s known as the coffin position.

In the living room, a couch works best against wall. If that’s not doable, consider putting a console table behind it to ground it.

No matter the room, you want to ensure that it’s easy to maneuver around furniture, with nothing block the flow and energy.

Have any other home organizing principles or habits? We’d love to hear them!