Five Great Gifts Made in Vancouver
Sure, you could purchase the usual bottle of maple syrup from a tourist shop as a memento of your trip, but that bottle's not really from Vancouver—it's probably from Quebec—and there are more imaginative ways to bring back a piece of Vancouver with you. Here are five souvenirs to savor after you leave.
Also known as Indian candy, this is a protein-packed snack with a sweet coating. It's typically made from wild BC salmon that's been marinated in sugar, then smoked, giving the fish a charcuterie-type texture. You can pick up a pack at Granville Island, from vendors such as Finest at Sea, a sustainable seafood company in BC.
The Liberty Distillery
Vancouver is a drinking town. It takes its alcohol seriously, and spirits are no exception. The Liberty Distillery on Granville Island creates hand-crafted spirits entirely from local grain. The liquor goes through a triple distillation process in handmade copper stills. You can try their vodka, gin, and whiskey lines at the lounge, then decide which bottle to take home.
British Columbia takes pride in its homegrown, sophisticated wines that compete on an international level. Okanagan Valley is the area's primary winemaking region, and the best way to see a wide variety of local labels is to browse a BC Liquor Store for BC VQA wines, a labeling program that denotes the origin of the wines, and guarantees standards of quality. You can find a list of the 2015 BC VQA Wine Award winners here.
Visiting local craft breweries to get growlers filled is a local pastime. You might not want to take home a heavy growler of beer, but perhaps a souvenir bottle might interest you. "The Growler Craft Beer Handbook" lists all the local breweries in the area. You can go directly to a microbrewery to sample what they've got, or go to BC Liquor and check out the local beer selection.
Vancouverites love their coffee, and you'll see them hanging out in cafes throughout the day. While you won't see coffee grown in Vancouver, you will see locally roasted, artisanal coffee. For instance, 49th Parallel Roasters, which has a direct relationship with their coffee farmers, has a roaster in Burnaby, about a half-hour drive from downtown Vancouver. They also have cafes in the Mount Pleasant and Kitsilano neighborhoods of the city.
Aileen Torres-Bennett covers the Vancouver beat for Travel + Leisure. Follow her blog at: abttorres.wordpress.com.