Either way, the Vancouver area offers plenty of possibilities for vegans—locals and tourists alike. Here’s a list of 10 things for vegans to do in Vancouver.
1. Go out for vegan brunch
For the most important meal of the day, you can’t go wrong with a vegan Benny at the Wallflower (2420 Main Street) or Bandidas Taqueria (2781 Commercial Drive) in East Van. Both eateries are vegan-friendly and serve brunch daily. Graze (3980 Fraser Street), Vancouver’s new vegan casual-fine-dining restaurant, does brunch on weekends.
2. Check out a vegan bakery
Got a sweet tooth? You’re in luck, as Vancouver is home to two fully vegan bakeries. In Kitsilano, Edible Flours (2280 West Broadway) bakes cakes, cinnamon rolls, croissants, loaves, muffins, and more. East Van’s nut-free Fairy Cakes (3586 Fraser Street) specializes in cupcakes but also makes a magical blueberry roll and other baked goods. Both offer gluten-free options.
3. Shop at a vegan shoe store
A few doors down the block from Fairy Cakes, you’ll find Nice Shoes (3568 Fraser Street). In addition to stocking such brands as Vegetarian Shoes, the city’s only vegan footwear store sells bags, belts, cookbooks, and wallets.
4. Get lunch at a vegan food truck
While Vancouver’s street-food scene still pales in comparison to that of Portland, it’s growing more interesting by the year. The city now boasts two fully vegan food trucks, and several other carts have worthy vegan options. Health-conscious foodies should check out the gluten-free offerings at Culver City Salads (Hamilton Street and West Georgia Street). Loving Hut Express (Pacific Boulevard and Davie Street) will send fast-food lovers to burger heaven.
5. Eat some raw vegan food
If there’s one area of vegan cuisine in which Vancouver truly excels, it’s raw food. Kitsilano’s Indigo Food Café (2589 West 16th Avenue) serves a raw high tea that’s perfect for special occasions. Other places to eat include Eternal Abundance (1025 Commercial Drive), Golden Aura (2680 West Broadway), and Buddha-Full Juice & Smoothies (101-106 West 1st Street) and Café by Tao (120-260 West Esplanade) in North Vancouver. Eternal Abundance and Indigo Food are fully vegan; watch out for bee products at the rest.
6. Experience a vegan dinner club
Perhaps you’ve perused the Vegan Secret Supper cookbook? Author Mérida Anderson created her celebrated underground restaurant in Vancouver before moving it to New York City and Montréal. Lucky for you, Vancouver remains home to a few vegan dinner clubs, including the incredible Plate Invaders. Events are posted on their social media feeds, and reservations are required.
7. Visit an animal sanctuary
If you’re longing to spend some time with our furry and feathered friends, a trip to a local animal sanctuary might be in order. Both Hearts on Noses and the Senior Animals in Need Today Society are registered charities that run sanctuaries in Mission, 70 kilometres east of Vancouver. Hearts on Noses rescues and cares for abandoned, injured, and abused pigs. SAINTS houses dogs, cats, chickens, and other animals. Contact the organizations for info on visiting, donating, and volunteering.
8. Attend an animal rights protest
Looking to get involved in animal activism? You can find out about the latest campaigns and demonstrations by listening to the Animal Voices show on Vancouver Co-operative Radio. Advocacy groups can be found at events such as Veg Fest Vancouver, which is organized by Saving Animals Canada. Liberation B.C. is another local group that promotes veganism and fights animal exploitation. You can support such organizations by contributing to their vegan bake sales and other fundraisers.
9. Order vegan dim sum
If you’ve never gone for yum cha (Cantonese midday tea), Vancouver is a good place to start. A few Chinese restaurants in town serve veggie dim sum. Two favourites are Po Kong Vegetarian Restaurant (1334 Kingsway) and 3G Vegetarian Restaurant (3424 Cambie Street). Make sure to order the lo bak go (daikon cake).
10. Sit down for a fancy vegan dinner
Sometimes eating pizza out of the box isn’t enough. For a high-end meal, head to Heirloom Vegetarian (1509 West 12th Avenue) or the Acorn (3995 Main Street), two upscale joints whose openings helped make 2012 the year of the veg restaurant in Vancouver. Both eateries have sensational menus featuring vegan, gluten-free, and raw options.