this is our vancouver: yaletown
posted: August 19, 2014
Bordered by Robson Street, Homer Street, and False Creek, Vancouver’s trendy neighbourhood, Yaletown, has been protected as a historical district–it was once on the route of the Gold Rush in the second half of the 1800s.
What is Yaletown?
Sitting atop the southeastern tip of the city, Yaletown was once a gritty warehouse district, filled with rail yards, mills and factories that were built up at the end of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) line.
Its name comes from the town of Yale (found at the start of the Fraser Canyon just past Hope, BC) where many railway workers came down from to settle in Vancouver to work on the CPR line extension.
How Times Have Changed
After the 1986 World Fair (Expo) was held on the grounds, the area was sold to a group of developers who saw its potential and the transformation began. Brick warehouses were restored and converted into lofts, offices and boutique hotels. Loading docks were transformed into sidewalk cafés with intimate patios and some of the best restaurants and bars in the city. Note: If you’re looking to do some celeb spotting, Yaletown is your go-to.
With shiny glass high rises mixed in, the area has still managed to keep its old world character and charm and is now one of Vancouver’s most densely populated and coveted neighbourhoods.
So, make like a local and take a yoga class at one of the studios lining the quaint streets, grab a post-practice indulgence at a sprawling sidewalk cafe or go for a wander about, taking in the area’s rich history.
Our athletic stylist, Giulia, shares her favourite Yaletown haunts
Who is Guilia? She’s our creative athletic stylist. Day-to-day, she works on all our photo shoots and videos that aren’t shot inside the studio, from Hawaii to LA, or right here in our own backyard, Vancouver.
“I’ve grown up in Vancouver, and I just love it so much. I get super inspired being on trips, immersed in a new culture and a new city and just having time to roam around and feel what that city has to offer. It can be a bit hectic, we work really hard with long days, but I thrive off of that. I find the new environments super exciting and I love to take that all in.”
Guilia lives on the edge of Yaletown, just blocks from the Seawall, and central for experiencing nice drinks and enjoying time with girlfriends, two of her favourite things. “The beach and everything is so close to me, so I love to explore it. I feel really lucky that everything I like to do is really close to where I live.”
Best of Yaletown: Guilia’s Picks
Best brunch and coffee: Café Medina, 780 Richards St. “I go to Café Medina for a really good lavender latte–it’s my luxury spot for sitting down and really enjoying a coffee. If I have time to wait the hour to get a spot to sit down, I have a dish called Le Santé–a French breakfast with a boiled egg, prosciutto, olives, a little piece of ciabatta, avocado and a roasted tomato salad all drizzled with olive oil, it’s just a lovely little assembly and with a nice coffee it’s so great.”
Note: Get the side waffle with the dips; the raspberry caramel sauce is to die for.
Amazing café: Homer Street Café and Bar, 898 Homer St. “The Homer Street café right by my house is really great. It’s set in the historic Homer Building–anything on their menu that involves the rotisserie chicken is just amazing.”
Best restaurant: Rodney’s Oyster House, 1228 Hamilton St. and Shizenya, 985 Hornby St. “For a casual hang and oysters or for a really nice glass of wine with friends, Rodney’s is a classic place. The servers are all men and they are kind of cheeky, wild and feed off everyone’s attention. They come by, pour wine in funny short little glasses, bring you shots and get you all roweled up, it’s just so fun.”
“There’s also a great tiny little sushi place I go to like three times a week called Shizenya. Everything is organic, and made with brown rice, it’s a really tiny little place that’s not very expensive with such good quality food, I love it there.”
Best yoga studio: YYoga Yaletown, 1050 Homer St. “I’m lucky because YYoga is right by my house so I always walk to a class either in the morning or after work. I love Brandee Johnston’s hot yoga classes, and Liv Hilde’s great power and hot classes.”
Best pub: The Pirate Pub (actually called Burrard Bridge Marine Bar & Grill) – 012 Beach Ave. #1 “I like stopping at the Pirate Pub for a nice glass of something, right on the edge of the Seawall after going for a bike ride with my girlfriends–we’ll stop and have a mojito, which is super fun.”
Best gift shop: The Cross Decor and Design - 1198 Homer St. “The Cross sells beautiful furniture, home décor, cards and little things. I love their framed postcards all over their walls. I like things like that–thoughtful gifts for people’s homes that they can cherish for a long time.”
Read about the wonderful West End here!
Alicia-Rae is a writer, adventurer and our blog assistant editor. You’ll never catch her without her pen, notepad and camera in tow. She’s a DIY aficionado, and believes the best, and most beautiful, things in life are homemade. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.