Nestled in between the mountains and on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, its easy to see why Vancouver, B.C., Canada was recently voted one of the top places in the world to live. Add to that an initiative to make the city the greenest in the world by 2020 and you have a hotbed of creativity and earth friendly activities in a community treading lightly on the planet.
8 Healthy & Green Spots to Eat, Play, Shop & Relax in Vancouver
One thing I really love about the city is how each area has its own personality, culture, and somehow still manages to stay true to their “green” roots. From beach side locale, Kitsilano, to the up and coming SOMA (South of Main Neighborhood), keep your eyes peeled as vegan and vegetarian options are everywhere.
Bandidas Taqueria: Described as a “Vegetarian Mexican Hippy Restaurant,” the atmosphere at Bandidas is like you walked into an old Mexican flea market with a modern day twist. The interior is filled with second hand tables, chairs and decor, reflecting the important role that the environment plays in their restaurant. From bio-degradable take-out containers to working with local farmers to source their produce, Bandidas is green from the ground up.
My pick: The Vegan eggs benedict. Organic tofu mixed with butternut squash on top of their house-made tortilla strips, peppers and onions, and topped with their famous bean and purple cabbage salad. It looked amazing and their take on an old favorite stood strong.
Interesting fact: They are also introducing a Solefood Community Gardening initiative into the business, which hires the homeless to help in the community garden and then sells the produce to local businesses with the money going back into the community itself.
Radha Yoga and Eatery: In the heart of Vancouver’s China Town is a serene setting for vegan and raw foodies alike. Head Chef, Robert Wilson-Smith, incorporates a global flavor to his cooking inspired by his travels and studies from around the world. At Radha they are using the freshest ingredients (within 100 miles of the city) and are constantly changing things up to fit what's in season to ensure the highest quality and best tasting morsels for their customers. You will notice Radha also houses a yoga studio, so drop in for a pre-meal stretch and tone.
My pick: The Raw Apple Pie. Lightly dusted with cinnamon spice and nutmeg on an barely there almond crust with cashew cream on the side and filled with fresh, plump apples, this was nothing short of amazing.
Jericho Sailing Centre: Close to Kitsilano (a must visit) and on one of the most pristine and quiet beaches in Vancouver, Jericho Beach, this Sailing Centre is the only community centre in Vancouver offering such a wide variety of low cost, naturally-powered ocean access programs. Everything at the Centre is powered naturally and is the perfect spot to get back to nature and experience something a little out of your comfort zone. From kayaking to windsurfing or stand up paddle boarding, there are a ton of outdoor activities you can experience here.
Insider’s Secret: Plan your trip around the Jericho Classic Regata June 4/5 and hob nob with the elite of the sailing community.
Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge and Park: Just a short drive from downtown, Lynn Canyon is the perfect setting to experience the true nature that surrounds this beautiful city. Suitable for any level of hikers, take a stroll on any of the four main trails throughout the Canyon, take a dip in the natural 30-foot pool on the North Side of the suspension bridge, or view the breathtaking Twin Falls. Not for the faint hearted, the 50-meter-high Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge boasts beautiful views of the river below and is an adventure in itself. Bring your camera as there are lost of things to see and do here.
Insider’s Secret: Tucked just inside the gift store is a homemade fudge shop.
Body Politic: Located in the South Main shopping district, body politic is a sustainable shopper's dream. From hot local designers, like the acclaimed Nicole Bridger, to eco fashion icons like Stewart + Brown, this intimate space houses some of the best shopping the city has to offer. Their philosophy of “Sustainable design, limitless style” is on display here, where even the interior maintains a strict code of eco cred.
Insider’s Secret: One of the only places in Canada to find Mexican ethical handbag company, Duzi Designs recently featured in Vogue magazine.
Granville Island: Just a short ferry taxi across the channel from downtown is a mecca of art, music, dining, and entertainment. Frequented by the many celebrities visiting the city (most recently including Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady), Granville Island is truly the epitome of Vancouver culture. A thriving public market with vendors from around the city, a Parisian style bakery, fresh cut flowers, and art galleries abound -- Granville Island is must see on your trip to Vancouver. The Island sustains a healthy and thriving ecosystem and prides itself on supporting local and organic.
Insider’s Secret: Take a walk in David Lam Park overlooking the channel and then hop on the Seabus to Granville Island only one stop away. The Seabus is also pet friendly!
She to Shic Spa: After a long day of hiking, biking and walking (all earth-friendly, of course) around the city, come to a place to get pampered naturally. She to Shic is one of the only eco-friendly nail salons and spas in Vancouver using organic, formaldehyde- and preservative-free products. The setting is soft, serene and quiet -- rest assured you will be pampered from head to toe.
Insider’s Secret: Their massages feature imported Hawaiian organic cream, sea salt, and cane sugar.
Vancouver Farmer’s Market: Grab a bottle of wine and a picnic basket and head over to one of the many seasonal farmer’s markets. Stock up on fresh veggies, local cheeses, and organic fruits at the Kitsilano market and walk down to the beach to take in the scenery with the locals.
Insider’s Secret: These markets support over 200 farmers, crafters and food producers. By shopping local, you are helping to support the community in more ways than one. Check their website, as the locations change.
And here's a map! (Click to see an interactive Google Map!)