When a group of Vancouver’s top lifestyle influencers gathered on a mild March evening to tour, along with VITA, some of South Granville‘s finest boutiques and restaurants, no one had a clue just how much life (not to mention, the local retail and dining scene) was about to change. Needless to say, COVID-19 had a profound impact on this district (as all shopping districts), effectively shutting South Granville down for a stretch of weeks and then, as B.C.’s success in “flattening the curve” became evident, seeing the area reopen with thoughtful and compliant measures in place to keep the safety, health and well-bring of shoppers, diners and visitors—not to mention those who work in the neighbourhood—top of mind. Below, a recap of the original VITA x South Granville spring shopping tour, plus the latest on the area’s COVID-19-related plans and exciting summer developments (think new patios, plazas and murals, plus vital parking info. It all points to the fact that South Granville is back, and better than ever!
the tour. What better way to begin a shopping tour than with coffee? Our group met at Le Creuset—whose South Granville store offers delicious distractions by way of a full-service café, culinary atelier and 12-seat bar table—for espresso-based sips, pastries and an introduction to the French brand’s highly coveted cookware (plus a sneak peek at the then-latest colourway, Teal). Next up: Lolë—a bright boutique dedicated to the Montreal apparel-maker’s range of all-season activewear, from packable down jackets to yoga pants, cosy knit coverups, swimwear and even a men’s line. (The real hit here, however, was Lolë’s Micro Lily Bag ($69), which one guest described as “better than a Prada!”).
Our third stop was at The Latest Scoop, where style-minded staff treated us to a lively spring-trends talk and allowed us time to peruse the expertly curated and one-of-a-kind selection of fashion, décor, accessories, stationery, gifts and more. We ended the tour on a floral note at Bau-Xi Gallery, where an exhibition of Jamie Evrard’s gloriously rich still-life paintings provided plenty of pretty photo opps (every influencer’s dream).
the meal. If ever there was a hidden dining gem, a true culinary treasure, it can be easily uncovered at The Rise Eatery, where chef Dan Leung and his wife, Wanda Lai, are dedicated to pushing the boundaries of food ingenuity and bringing together the distinct flavours of regions in Asia, Europe, the Americas and beyond. Guests feasted on whimsically named dishes like Ode to Adobo (adobo duck leg confit, menudo longanisa cassoulet), Uni-Versal Pasta XO Edition (house xo-sautéed prawns, squid-ink pasta, sea urchin cream, egg yolk, flying fish roe, toasted seaweed) and Golly Squash! (slow-roasted kabocha squash, sautéed kale and mushrooms, smoked marinara, pepita pesto, crispy tempeh). The cherry atop this beautiful meal (besides matcha cheese tart and salted-caramel crème brûlée dessert)? A dreamy table-scape featuring dishes and décor from West Elm, gorgeous blooms by Queen Bee Flowers and calligraphy work by Moss & Marble Design.
the bag. Special thanks, too, to our fabulous swag contributors: Diane’s Lingerie, Jamjar Canteen, Le Creuset, L’Occitane en Provence, Lolë, Project Skin MD, Purdy’s Chocolatier, Suki’s Salons and The Latest Scoop. Talk about a bountiful bag!
summer in south granville. Now, several months later, South Granville is back open, with all the measures in place needed to make your visit safe and comfortable. Many of the street’s businesses have reopened, though some with limited hours, by appointment only or with restrictions in place around the number of people allowed in each store at any given time. And, though this summer may look different than normal, South Granville businesses are working hard to create an environment for you to enjoy the weather and socialize safely. In partnership with the City of Vancouver, the South Granville Business Improvement Association has created temporary recovery plazas at 13th and 14th Avenue for people to “Hang Out to Help Out.” These Pop-Up Plazas provide a space for you to enjoy your take-out from nearby eateries and bask in the summer sunshine outside while complying with social-distancing protocol.
Patio wise, more and more South Granville restaurants have added outdoor seating, where patrons are invited to dine out safely. Among the latest additions: Goodge Place, The Marquis Grill and Stable House Bistro, with more soon to come including Bean Around the World, Breakfast Table and Small Victory. And, as the Vancouver Mural Fest (August 18th to September 7th) continues to expand its area, South Granville (a natural fit as one of Vancouver’s renowned art districts) is getting fresh street pieces for you to explore … and take gorgeous selfies with! Currently, check out The Pidgeons at Granville and 11th, The Lily at Granville and 13th, The Stable House Mural at Granville and 13th and The Fabric Wall at Granville and 14th). Last but not least in summer news: parking. South Granville offers lots of it, but is now revealing on its website where the “hidden” spots and parkades lie. See you on South Granville! —Noa Nichol