this is our vancouver: kicking it in kits
posted: August 5, 2014
Good things start in Kitsilano—lululemon was one of them (we opened our first store here in 1999). From its turn as a mecca for hippies in the 1960s to the place we now know and love, this community of active, environmentally-minded people has always been about a blissful balance of nature and culture. Yoga teacher, lululemon ambassador and Kits resident Mara Branscombe gives us her take on the community.
What is Kitsilano?
Located in Vancouver’s West Side, Kitsilano was named after Squamish medicine man Chief August Jack Khatsahlano. The 1960s saw the area morph from middleclass residential community into a hippie haven. Kitsilano’s West 4th Ave., full of natural food shops and psychedelic spaces, was Vancouver’s answer to San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury. Most of those hippie shops are now boutiques and cafés, but Kitsilano continues to feel laid back and is a centre for those who live active lifestyles and love to get outside. Sea, forest, mountains and banging beach bodies converge under the sun on Kits Beach in the summer months—it’s no wonder Forbes Traveler voted it one of the world’s 10 sexiest beaches.
Who is Mara?
Mara began her yoga journey in India over 18 years ago. She now teaches yoga and meditation at multiple studios around Vancouver, and works with professional athletes like the Vancouver Canucks, the Vancouver Whitecaps and dancers from Kidd Pivot dance company. Mara draws on the abundant natural beauty that surrounds her in Kitsilano to inform her practice and teaching.
For Mara, a run is the best way to enjoy Kitsilano’s celebrated landscape. “I love running the seawall and then getting up into the Endowment Lands,” she says about the majestic forest that borders Kits. “Getting to all these areas so quickly gives you an amazing, multi-dimensional feeling.” The Jericho Sailing Centre is another favourite. “It’s a little deeper into Kits,” she says. “It’s quite a gem and amazing to get paddle board, wind surfing, or sailing lessons.”
Best of Kits: Mara’s Picks
Healthy lunch spot: Sejuiced, 1958 West 4th Ave. “Try the Power House Bowl.”
Yummy bread: Beyond Bread, 3686 West 4th Ave. “Grab a loaf of the whole wheat Peasant Bread.”
Amazing coffee: Epicurean Caffé Bistro, 1898 West 1st Ave. “Have an almond milk cappuccino.”
Best restaurant: Aphrodite’s, 3598 West 4th Ave. “Order from the seasonal menu.”
Best place to grab flowers: Kits Market, 1575 Yew St. “Buy an orchid.”
Best gift shop: Banyan Books, 3608 West 4th Ave. “Turn left as you walk in.”
Best community club: Jericho Sailing Centre. “Take a sailing or paddle boarding lesson.”
Read about the wonderful West End here!