Musician, writer, activist, humanitarian, and, for our purposes, honourary Vancouverite
Dream Vancouver summer day: As an ex-pat girl who has been living in Toronto for the past year (got married for the third time, which is the Charm, and my gorgeous guitar-player husband wanted to relocate to Toronto; we have a massive studio here…. But I will always be a Vancouver Girl, it’s the truth), my perfect summer day in Vancouver would start with a 5 a.m. drop-in at CrossFit 604. After I crawl out of there, I will hit the Juicetruck Yaletown location for my favourite smoothie, the Almost Chocolate, or get two small ones, including a banana turmeric with a green protein to nourish myself for the day ahead. After this, I love a walk over the Burrard Bridge, headed south, taking pictures of ships on the water and seeing all the fancy cars speeding by. Rain or shine, the walk over the bridge remains my favourite. Once my feet touch the Kitsilano side, I head toward the Vancouver Maritime Museum and the Ogden Avenue side of the Kits Beach walking path, and find a patch of grass to claim. Definitely laying a beach blanket out and having some reading time with a good book—definitely one of the dozens of timeless classics by local novelist, author, historian, and mentor, Chris Walter, founder of G.F.Y. Press, who is one of the greatest writers in Canada. On our little portable speakers, I will also be listening to music by the likes of the inimitable motorcycle rocker gods the Vicious Cycles or another favourite, Vancouver’s the Pack a.d.
Naturally, I will get peckish and need to get my nosh on. Vancouver is still home to Canada’s best vegetarian restaurant and the classic timelessness of the Naam will always be my favourite. As a vegan for over 25 years, I have dialled in how to navigate restaurants all over the world, and I always order the same things for myself. It’s no different at the Naam, as any of my friends can confirm, and I fall in love with the food all over again, every single time I eat there: two large Naam salads, with vegan Naam dressing on the side, and Shakti Cake—vegan chocolate carrot cake, a must! I don’t even order a water because I save the room in my stomach for the food!
At this point, I will need to walk off the meal. So, happily fed, I head back up West 4th, dawdling as the Kits folks are wont to do, and even pop in to LUSH cosmetics to get a sample of body lotion, or a spritz of some of their famous Gorilla Perfume, like the new Cardamom Coffee, on my wrists. LUSH has always been vegan and cruelty-free and the Vancouver gang at LUSH are the nicest in the whole world.
Next, I would cross the street and poke my head in to Semperviva Yoga to say hello to some of my beloved teachers and fellow students. They have such a variety and welcome all levels of yoga practitioners.
The night still being young, I will have enough time to walk all the way over to Hastings Street to make the lineup for a riotous and rambunctious night of great bands at the legendary Rickshaw Theatre. We love hanging at the Rickshaw with beloved friend, Mo Tarmohamed, and all the staff.
By this time, my full and perfect day has come to its end. Now that I no longer live in Vancouver I have the great privilege of staying with my friends, or if I don’t want to impose, I love the Wedgewood Hotel with its unmatched elegance, 24-hour room service—they bring me vegan vegan treats!—and quiet rooms. Centrally located downtown, it’s easy for me to walk everywhere I want to go. Plus my guitar-player, hard-to-please husband, Snake, loves the bed for sleeping-in. A win!
Best summery Vancouver thing I’ve never done: The Grouse Grind. Despite finding joy in morning walks, loving the stair climbing from Wreck Beach in record time without the need to pause, or the fact that I walk up to 15 kilometres a day every summer wherever I am, the famous Grouse Grind has just never happened in my life or schedule. It became so popular among fitness people that the crowds were a deterrent or the time of day never worked. It’s definitely on my bucket list for Vancouver summer activities.