Cigars & Tobacco
Americans, remember: If they're Cuban, you can't bring them into the U.S.
The strips of West 4th Avenue between Cypress and Yew streets and West Broadway from MacDonald to Blenheim streets offer a solid sampling of consignment-clothing shopping.
Vancouver has the Pacific Northwest’s best collection of clothes from Paris, London, Milan, and Rome, in addition to a great assortment of locally made, cutting-edge fashions. It seems that almost every week a new designer or independent boutique opens in Yaletown, Kitsilano, Gastown, along Robson, or on Main Street. International designer outlets include Chanel Boutique (inside Holt Renfrew at 737 Dunsmuir St.; tel. 604/682-0522), Salvatore Ferragamo (918 Robson St.; tel. 604/669-4495), and Louis Vuitton (Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, 730 Burrard St.; tel. 604/696-9404). Note that the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Mall (www.mcarthurglen.com) is expected to open near the Vancouver International Airport in Spring 2015. It’s the first North American site for the European outlet chain, and will bring with it top luxury brands like Prada, Gucci, and Valentino at affordable prices. Also opening in Fall 2015 is Nordstrom, in the old Eaton’s location on Granville Street (www.nordstrom.com).
First Nations Art & Crafts
You don't have to purchase a pricey antique to acquire original Coast Salish or Haida work. As the experts at the Museum of Anthropology explain, if an item is crafted by any of the indigenous Pacific Northwest artisans, it's a real First Nations piece of art. Galleries will tell you about the artist, and explain how to identify and care for these beautifully carved, worked, and woven pieces. Bold, traditional, and innovative geometric designs, intricate carvings, strong primary colors, and rich wood tones are just a few of the elements you'll find in First Nations crafts.
Even if you're not in the market, go gallery-hopping to see works by Haida artists Bill Reid (the province's best-known native artist) and Richard Davidson, and by Kwakwaka'wakw artist and photographer David Neel.
You'll find salmon everywhere in Vancouver. Many shops package whole, fresh salmon with ice packs for visitors to take home. Shops also carry delectable smoked salmon in travel-safe, vacuum-packed containers. Some offer decorative cedar gift boxes; most offer overnight air transport. Try other salmon treats such as salmon jerky and Indian candy (chunks of marinated smoked salmon), which are available at public markets such as Granville Island Public Market and Lonsdale Quay Market.
Check the Georgia Straight or Vancouver magazine for listings, or visit www.art-bc.com for more details on Vancouver's art scene.
Probably the only mall in North America dedicated to kids, the Kids Market on Granville Island features a Lilliputian entryway that opens on to toy, craft, and book stores, as well as play areas and services for the younger set, including a “fun hairdresser.” 1496 Cartwright St.; tel. 604/689-8447; www.kidsmarket.ca.
Kites on Clouds is a little Gastown shop with every type of kite. Prices range from C$10 to C$20 for nylon or Mylar dragon kites to around C$200 for more elaborate ghost clippers and nylon hang-glider kites. The Courtyard, 131 Water St.; tel. 604/669-5677.
The 2-block area around the Mountain Equipment Co-Op (130 W. Broadway; tel. 604/872-7858; www.mec.ca) at Main and Columbia streets has become “outdoor central,” with at least a half-dozen stores, such as Valhalla Pure Outfitters (222 W. Broadway; tel. 604/872-8872; www.vpo.ca) and AJ Brooks (147 W. Broadway; tel. 604/874-1117; www.ajbrooks.com). Just down the street, you’ll find Taiga (301 W. Broadway; tel. 604/875-8388; www.taigaworks.ca), which carries inexpensive fleece and other quality outdoor gear.
Meanwhile, the corner of 4th Avenue and Burrard Street has become the spot for high-quality snow/skate/surfboard gear, as well as the place to see top-level boarders and their groupies hanging out. Shops here include Pacific Boarder (1793 W. 4th Ave.; tel. 604/734-7245; www.pacificboarder.com), Showcase (1766 W. 4th Ave.; tel. 604/731-6449; www.showcasesnowboards.com), and Westbeach (1758 W. 4th Ave.; tel. 604/734-7252; www.westbeach.com), as well as Comor Sports (1980 Burrard St.; tel. 604/736-7547; www.comorsports.com).
Ten years of restructuring, reblending, and careful tending by French and German master vintners have won the province's vineyards world recognition. When buying BC wine, look for the VQA (Vintner Quality Alliance) seal on the label; it's a guarantee that all grapes used are grown in British Columbia and meet European standards for growing and processing.
Summerhill, Cedar Creek, Mission Hill, and Okanagan Vineyards are just a few of the more than 50 local estates producing hearty cabernet sauvignons, honey-rich icewines, and oaky merlots. These wines can be found at any government-owned BC liquor store, such as the one at 1716 Robson St. (tel. 604/660-9031) and at some privately owned wine stores.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.