Six reasons why 2011 was a good year for vegans in Vancouver

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      With new businesses opening and lots of events happening, it was a great year to be vegan in Vancouver. Here’s six additions that made city’s burgeoning vegan scene better in 2011.

      Edible Flours

      Nicole Reid photo.

      Vancouver got its first and still only vegan retail bakery when Paul Briggs and Alli Neville set up shop in Kitsilano. Edible Flours (2280 West Broadway) held its grand opening in April, and offers a delicious assortment of artisan chocolates and baked goods, including cookies, cupcakes, donuts, and scones, with plenty of gluten-free options. My favourites are the croissants—yes, croissants—and blueberry nutmeg muffins.

      Loving Hut Express

      Stephen Hui photo.

      Clay D’Altroy, one of the owners of Loving Hut Express (Pacific Boulevard and Davie Street), says the top goal of his all-vegan food truck is to “encourage meat eaters to adopt a vegan lifestyle through tasty food”. Part of the international chain of Loving Hut fast-food joints, the Yaletown food vendor made its debut in October outside Earthsave Canada's 13th annual Taste of Health vegetarian fair, which was taking place at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre. With Loving Hut Express serving such fare as the Crispy Chick’n Burger and onion rings curbside, it’s safe to say local vegans pining for a cruelty-free version of McDonald’s can stop dreaming.

      Nice Shoes

      Finding footwear free of leather and other animal products has gotten easier, thanks to Nice Shoes (3568 Fraser Street). The city’s first and only vegan shoe store opened for business in March. The East Vancouver shop also carries animal-friendly bags, belts, ties, wallets, and more. With the planned opening of the city’s first vegan cupcake shop, Fairy Cakes, next door, this cruelty-free zone has the potential to become Vancouver’s answer to Portland’s much-loved vegan mini-mall.

      Veg Fest Vancouver

      Stephen Hui photo.

      In June, vegan-friendly businesses and organizations set up tables at the first Veg Fest Vancouver. As part of the Main Street Car-Free Festival, the fest-within-a-fest took over the area around Main Street and East 19 Avenue. Organized by the nonprofit Saving Animals Canada, Veg Fest is slated to return next year.

      Vegan Pizza House

      Stephen Hui photo.

      Vancouver got a vegan pizzeria this year. In May, the Vegan Pizza House (2119 Kingsway) fired up its ovens, serving varieties such as Hawaiian, Vegan Meat Lover, Seafood, and All Dress, as well as lasagna and spaghetti—all made with Daiya dairy-free cheese. Since then, this rough-around-the-edges joint has added tasty donairs to its menu.

      Vegan Prom YVR

      Stephen Hui photo.

      Last but not least, around 130 people showed up at WISE Hall in East Vancouver for the first-ever Vegan Prom YVR on November 5. Inspired by a similar event in Portland, the nonprofit prom featured dancing, drinks, a photo booth, and, of course, plenty of food. What’s more, the organizers have decided to form an outfit they’re calling the Vegan Party Directive, with plans to put on more fun events in the future. (Disclosure: I volunteered as a photographer at the prom, and my partner is a prom organizer.)

      Here’s to even more Vancouver vegan radness in 2012.

      Update (December 21):

      Make that eight reasons why 2011 was a good year for vegans in Vancouver.

      On November 26, Vanessa Mills opened Chomp Vegan Eatery (7-201 Morrissey Road) in Port Moody. It's gluten-free too.

      Plus, Preet Marwaha's OrganicLives opened its second location in the Chopra Yoga Center (451 Granville Street) in downtown Vancouver on December 14.

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      Carissa Thorpe

      Dec 15, 2011 at 6:13pm

      Awesome list! I'm happy to say that I've partaken in all but one of these six things (and I'll definitely be making the effort to get to Loving Hut Express now that I see they have onion rings!). It really has been a good year for vegans in Vancouver, and it sure is a long way from when I was living in Abbotsford and went vegan!


      Dec 16, 2011 at 1:19am

      I wore that costume once...


      Dec 16, 2011 at 6:42am

      Vancouver is really starting to be become very cool!

      Carol Gigliotti

      Dec 16, 2011 at 10:13am

      I would like to add the Interactive Futures'11:Animal Influence exhibition and conference at Emily Carr University where Marc Bekoff was a keynote, and international artists and scientists shared their knowledge and creativity about animal consciousness, animal cognition, animal creativity and animal agency!!!

      Isla Kay

      Dec 16, 2011 at 10:27am

      Wow, and there are more reasons why it was a good year, too. Proud to say that I own amazing waterproof biodegradable runners from Nice Shoes and have tried the donuts, cookies, and cakes from Edible Flours (better than their animal counterparts, for real).


      Dec 16, 2011 at 10:30am

      i am more and more happy about the vancouver scene :)


      Dec 16, 2011 at 12:28pm

      Also Chomp Vegan Eatery just opened up late November in Port Moody. It is 100% Vegan, Organic, & Gluten Free


      Dec 16, 2011 at 10:14pm

      For even more things vegan, check out Eternal Abundance at 1025 Commercial Drive, home of a 100% organic raw/cooked vegan fusion cafe and juice/smoothie bar. EA not only has a cafe, but a fresh, local when possible, all organic produce shop. a host of cooking/uncooking classes, community events, a monthly raw potluck, and open to much more; a truly creative space!


      Dec 17, 2011 at 1:29am

      Veganism is wrong and you need meat to survive JUST KIDDING THIS IS AWESOME!