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How Vancouver Fashion Start-Ups Are Reinventing the Retail World FALL ARTS PREVIEW: CAN’TMISS MUSIC, THEATRE, COMEDY & MORE

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Fall Fashion Take your style inspiration from our 2017 Best Dressed List, plus the must-have pieces we’re swooning over this season.

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Envision a luxury home that’s historic but updated with the latest systems and conveniences. It’s fifteen minutes from downtown Seattle, but nestled in the middle of an enormous seaside park. That’s what you’ll find at Fort Lawton. The military erected 26 grand, colonial-revival homes on Magnolia Bluff. They are now in the heart of Discovery Park – Seattle’s 534-acre crown jewel and for the first time offered for private ownership. Vancouver-based, RISE Properties Trust engaged world class consultants to thoughtfully renovate the homes, preserving their character and elegance, including refinished original maple and oak hardwood floors, restored millwork and doors, and refurbished fireplaces and surrounds. Within the timeless architecture, the homes also feature all of the latest modern systems, with enviable kitchens and baths for today’s family living. Step out onto the large, gracious front porch to soak in the western view and sunsets of Puget Sound. Walk down the bluff to the beach and build driftwood forts with the kids. Or just return home from work and feel the unburdening that comes from arriving to a beautiful, natural getaway. “Today’s owners are establishing a legacy for their families. There’s nothing comparable anywhere in Seattle,” says sales director Max Wurzburg. The homes range from 4,000 to more than 6,000 square feet and are priced from $1.8 million USD. | 206-489-3559

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What's Hot Now Mix luxury designs with chic local accessories for the ultimate fall wardrobe.


Best Dressed List 2017 Celebrating five of the city's most stylish individuals.



Retail Disruption A new generation of Vancouver start-ups is taking a different route to retail success.




City 15 At Issue Tutoring for toddlers is suddenly big business. 18 City Informer Why are our major shopping streets littered with vacancies? 20 Future of the City How city hall is addressing Indigenous relations.


Arts 23 Full Slate Our 2017 fall arts preview is packed with top picks for theatre, dance, comedy, storytelling, music and visual art that are sure to thrill.

Taste 29 The Dish This burger from Monarch might just be the Platonic ideal.



30 Reviews St. Lawrence is a serious take on Québécois cuisine.

55 Personal Space Inside the cozy home of CTV weather anchor Ann Luu.

34 Fresh Sheet Openings, cocktail recipes and restaurant news.

58 Throwback We take a look back through our archives.

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General Manager | Publisher Dee Dhaliwal Editorial Director Anicka Quin Art Director Paul Roelofs Executive Editor Stacey McLachlan Senior Editor Jessica Barrett Food Editor Neal McLennan Associate Art Director Natalie Gagnon Associate Editor Julia Dilworth Assistant Art Director Jenny Reed Staff Writer Kaitlyn Gendemann Videographer Mark Philps Contributing Editor Amanda Ross Editorial Interns Christine Beyleveldt, Lexy Dien, Alec Regino, Aryn Strickland Art Intern Lydhia-Marie Bolduc-Gosselin Editorial Email Account Managers Judy Johnson, Jenny Miller, Manon Paradis Sales Coordinator Theresa Tran Production Manager Lee Tidsbury Advertising Designer Swin Nung Chai Marketing & Events Manager Dale McCarthy Event Coordinator Kaitlyn Lush Marketing Intern Rachel Cheng Online Coordinator Leah Webb Sales Email Vancouver Office Suite 560, 2608 Granville St. Vancouver, B.C., V6H 3V3 604-877-7732 National Media Sales Representation, Mediative Senior Account Manager, National Sales Ian Lederer, 416-626-4258, U.S. Sales Representation, Media-Corps 1-866-744-9890, Yellow Pages Digital and Media Solutions Ltd. Vice-President & Chief Publishing Officer Caroline Andrews

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VANCOUVER MAGAZINE is published 10 times a year by 9778748 Canada Inc. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the publisher’s written permission. Not responsible for unsolicited editorial material. Privacy Policy: On occasion, we make our subscriber list available to carefully screened organizations whose product or service might interest you. If you prefer that we not share your name and address (postal and/or email), you can easily remove your name from our mailing lists by reaching us at any of the listed contact points. You can review our complete Privacy Policy at Indexed in the Canadian Magazine Index by Micromedia Ltd. and also in the Canadian Periodical Index. International standard serial no. ISSN 0380-9552. Canadian publications mail product sales agreement #40068973. Printed in Canada by Transcontinental Printing G.P. (LGM Graphics), 737 Moray St., Winnipeg, MB, R3J 3S9. All reproduction requests must be made to: COPIBEC (paper reproductions) 800-717-2022, or CEDROM-SNi (electronic reproductions) 800-563-5665. Distributed by Coast to Coast Ltd.

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Effortless Style, from One Continent to Another It’s time for Vancouverites to start being proud of our fashion contributions.


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companies like Herschel, Nettle’s Tale and Indochino made their mark globally without a storefront. And even our beleaguered yoga-pants style has shifted, I think. You’ll see proof of that in our second-annual Best Dressed List (page 42), where local style is anything but downscale. Dance instructor Stewart Iguidez notes that he up-styles his fitness gear—and wins at the fashion and comfort game. “I’ll dress it up with a vest, and then a cardigan and a fedora. It doesn’t look like workout gear, but I have the ultimate fusion of chic, comfort, simplicity, mobility—and it’s very clean looking.” The day I returned, I found myself walking the streets of Railtown with another friend, who’d agreed to be my jet lag-fighting diversion for the evening. We found ourselves behind a couple whose look could capture au courant Vancouver: a lot of grey, designer normcore sweatshirts, stylish runners, that same requisite messy bun on her. Cool and comfy, if slightly less out there than our French counterparts. And that’s not a bad contribution to the world of fashion.

Coming Up Next Issue The Doctor Is In In an exclusive interview, Dr. Evan Wood, the man leading the charge against opioid addiction and the fentanyl crisis in the province, opens up about his radical ideas for changing public policy—and saving lives. Eat the City In our A to Z guide, VanMag taps its esteemed panel of judges to hunt down the best bites and sips in every locale.


Anicka Quin editorial director

anick a . quin @vanmag . com


in what will go down as one of the greatest vacations on record (says me), I spent the last two weeks in southern France (rosé! cheese! so much café crème!), with a touchdown in Paris on the way home. On our last day, a friend and I spent a couple of hours on a typique Paris patio—red wicker chairs, all facing out toward the street—with the plan to simply sit and read, but people-watching quickly tore us away from our novels. We marvelled at how young French women made style seem so easy. One paired high-wasted pinstriped joggers with a tucked-in white T-shirt and mustard-coloured runners, plus, of course, the requisite messy bun. Another walked by with a purse shaped like a huge Campbell’s soup can, a Sgt. Pepper’s jacket, artfully ripped jeans and a beat-up longboard under one arm. We were both fascinated and enthralled by the effortless pairing of drama and comfort. “Vancouver’s style is effortless, too,” my friend joked, referencing the common perception that we aren’t the most fashionable city in the world. But that got us talking about Vancouver’s contributions to the global fashion scene. Yes, athleisure 100 percent has its roots here (you’re welcome for leggings, rest of the world), but as Jessica Barrett points out in “Retail Disruption” (page 46), it’s our homegrown online retailers that are at the leading edge of said disruption—


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False Start


Teaching kids to read and write before they’re fully out of diapers is big business—and a growing trend—but tutoring for toddlers may do more harm than good. by

Margaret de Silva

When BurnaBy’s Sonya Minhas enrolled her son in a preschool tutoring program at age three, she was amazed at his progress with reading, writing and vocabulary. Likewise, Surrey’s Shabbir Dhalla was thrilled to see his son Aayan learn to write his name, read the alphabet and patiently follow instructions soon after he started attending 90-minute reading sessions twice a week—before his third birthday. Both parents credit these programs for their children’s strong academic performance now that they’re in school. Minhas, an elementary school teacher, says her son, now j

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age 9, has been “reading way above his age level since kindergarten.” Meanwhile Aayan, now 7 and in Grade 1, reads at a Grade 3 level. Results like that have parents throughout the Lower Mainland clamouring to give their children a head start in life by signing them up for so-called “toddler tutoring” programs that are seeing enrolments surge. Kumon, an after-school math and reading centre with more than 45 locations in the Lower Mainland, has seen enrolment increase by 16 percent this year among students of kindergarten age or below—nearly double the increase among all age groups. Another centre, Oxford Learning, attracts about 100 to 150 kids each month to its Little Readers and Readers Elite programs, aimed at three- to six-year-olds. And supplementary education is big business on a global scale. The industry is expected to reach $102.8 billion (U.S.) next year, according to Global Industry Analysts, Inc. But sitting desk-bound for up to two hours at a stretch may not be as valuable for the kids. Critics argue that introducing structured education at such a young age can lead to anxiety and does little to develop critical thinking skills. Shaheen Fazal, director of Oxford Learning’s Surrey branch, says she thinks parents increasingly want to see their kids reading before they start school as a form of insurance against the education system. Some parents enrol their kids in tutoring to prepare for private-school interviews, while others worry about the quality of education their kids will receive at public school. “Being able to read puts you in a position to be able to learn independently,” Fazal explains, adding enrolment at her centre spiked after full-day


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children’s academic performance, she says—a phenomenon likely tied to the rise of a “parenting culture” that revolves around setting kids up for professional success in an ultra-competitive world. But tutoring for such young kids can have a negative effect on long-term learning outcomes, says Lapointe, especially when it comes at the expense of exploratory play, which is essential in developing a child’s natural creativity and curiosity. “Play is the epicentre of — dr . va n e s sa l a p oi n t e , p s yc hol o g i s t neural connectivity for kids,” she says. “We are moving away from what is supposed to UBC associate professor Julian be happening in a child’s environment Dierkes has researched the effects and pushing children into contrived of supplementary education and agrees the trend is due to dwindling experiences that have a glossy facade as being educational.” confidence in the public school sysKids who start their ABCs early tem. But there’s no basis for parents’ will seem advanced, she acknowlfears. “This is a bit peculiar in Vanedges, but mastering rote repetition couver, as when we look at international tests, usually B.C. and Canada doesn’t equal improved cognitive do quite well,” he says. Additionally, ability. “I can tell you right now that it’s fake learning. If you have been there is no empirical evidence that force-fed rote skills from the time tutoring makes students smarter— you are knee-high to a grasshopalthough he understands that parper, you actually don’t have critical ents would rather hedge their bets. thinking skills.” “Parents want to over-invest rather Rather, children develop best when than miss the boat.” they are allowed to explore, play and That instinct, while understandeven get bored, she says. “Some of the able, may be counterproductive, says Dr. Vanessa Lapointe, a Surrey-based most amazing neural connections registered psychologist and author of happen when we’re bored, as creativthe book Discipline Without Damage. ity comes alive.” Given that, the best thing a parent can do is “take a step The past decade has seen a dramatic back and let nature do its job.” increase in societal pressure around

kindergarten was introduced three years ago—many parents sought to supplement B.C.’s largely play-based learning curriculum with more academic programs. She also suspects media attention on teacher strikes and legal battles over class size has driven demand. “Parents are worried heading into that.”

I can tell you right now that it’s fake learning.”

M A K I N G T H E G R A D E Here’s how B.C. high school students

stack up against their national and international peers. Reading: We’re number one! B.C. gets top marks in this category, followed by Singapore, Quebec and Ontario. Canada comes seventh, behind Hong Kong and ahead of Finland.

Science: B.C. ranks third in the world when it comes to science scores, behind Singapore and Alberta and above the Canadian average, which ranks tenth.

Math: When it comes to numbers, B.C. is in ninth place, behind Singapore, Hong Kong, Quebec, Japan and Korea. Meanwhile, Canada’s average math scores put the country in twelfth place, right between Estonia and the Netherlands.†

† Source: The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, based on data collected by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.



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Why Are There So Many Empty Stores on Our Biggest Shopping Streets? by

Stacey McLachlan Byron Eggenschwiler

illustration by

If you’ve ever been in the market for luxury baby footwear, or a cashmere sweater to wear as you hold your luxury baby, you know that South Granville is the place to go. But as of late, tiny Italian sneakers aren’t the only things this neighbourhood has in abundance—For Lease signs are pretty hot, too. SoGra (are we calling it that?) is currently facing a 10 percent retail vacancy rate. Vancouver’s other main drags are also looking sparse: the West End’s Business Improvement Association reports 12 percent vacancy. Compare that to a healthy rate of about four percent—a turnover just high enough to keep retail districts fresh without upsetting those of us with a crippling resistance to change— and you would be right to conclude we’re in a bit of a retail real estate crisis. It’s natural that businesses come and go


You would be right to conclude we’re in a bit of a retail real estate crisis. (RIP, Freddy Pant Room), but it’s strange that these places are staying empty, considering how in demand this city’s real estate is. With so much retail space up for rent, shouldn’t everyone be wooing Pottery Barn Teen with competitive pricing to correct this influx of availability? Well, there’s only so low landlords can go with the rent once they factor

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in the crazy property tax (like the $100K annual bill charged to one restaurant on 14th Avenue)—and there are some limits to the laws of supply and demand. According to Sharon Townsend, executive director of the South Granville BIA, many commercial landlords don’t care about rental income. Retail buildings are increasingly owned by developers focused on

a long-term vision, she says—people who are happy to squat for decades, with or without renters, to await future redevelopment. For these retail barons, the actual “retail” part isn’t important. So cherish your Pretty Woman–style shopping sprees while you can, before our main drags go full-on ghost town. Got a question for City Informer?

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City of Reconciliation

Ginger Gosnell-Myers joined the City of Vancouver as an Aboriginal planner in 2013 to encourage departments to look at planning through an Indigenous lens. She has since become the city’s first Aboriginal relations manager, a role dedicated to turning that awareness into policy—ensuring each report, proposal and decision tabled at city hall considers the impact on Vancouver’s Aboriginal population. As the city moves toward its goal of reconciliation with First Nations, progress is being made in some surprising places. by

Petti Fong

illustration by

Lydhia Marie


Vancouver declared itself a City of Reconciliation a year before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada wrapped up in 2015. What did taking that step mean?


The report had some clearly laid-out directions for various levels of institutions and governments to adopt. Vancouver has already been able to commit to 27 of the 94 calls to action, such as incorporating First Nations perspectives in delivering city services and training staff in how to have an urban Aboriginal lens on issues. What does being a City of Reconciliation mean? It means we want Vancouver’s Aboriginal population to feel empowered that they’ll have the ability to make a positive impact. That’s embedded in the city now. Q: How do you embed reconciliation in departments where the job is to make sure lights are working or roads are in good shape?


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A: You talk about roads and lighting, places where you may not think it matters. But think about what’s changed. Our engineering department, for example, has changed. We actually have to dig into the ground in order to build these roads and maintain the water and sewage systems. Sometimes we’ll be digging in areas that have archaeological significance and remains or artifacts that are directly tied to Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh. We can’t dig without knowing what we would find. Having the Aboriginal lens to the work engineering does means they are prepared, they know in advance what they might find. We have a working relationship between engineering and the local First Nations. Q: You once said that being urban is not just a new identity for Aboriginal people, but that it’s about a choice, and you take issue with the label of “urban Aboriginal.” Why is that? A: Being Aboriginal means being First Nations, Métis or Inuit. It’s multiple cultures, and labelling multiple cultures with one convenient identity doesn’t really acknowledge how different they really are. For a long time, there was a tendency to label Aboriginal people who lived in cities as urban Aboriginal people. They’re not. They’re Nisga’a or Kwakwaka’wakw, like me, [or they belong to other distinct nations]. They just happen to live in the city. Q: You’ve talked about the family tree and how well Aboriginal people know that tree. How important is that for the future of the city?

They’re quite invisible, even in their own land.” A: That’s my biggest aspiration for the city. We all have knowledge and an understanding that this is Indigenous land and that we’re all on Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh land. But can you name an area that you would see as an Indigenous place in the city? No. They’re quite invisible, even in their own land. The city has a significant role to make sure that we all understand that there’s ancient history here and we’re not a new city. That our culture is not building towers of glass but rather that we are a truly unique place on earth. No other city has that culture based on that history that we do here. Q: What would you like to see to make that invisibility more visible? A: I would like to see Aboriginal people represented in our governments. Maybe one day we’ll see an Aboriginal person elected to city council. Q: What will reconciliation look like when it’s been achieved? A: My personal opinion is that reconciliation means Aboriginal people will be able to experience the same quality of life afforded to all Canadians. All of those socioeconomic gaps are closed: health, housing, water, justice, education. For the broader Canadian population, the aspiration should be that we become a country where these disparities no longer exist.

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Arts Full Slate Whether you want to sneak a peek inside local artists’ studios or take in international pop stars at Rogers Arena, this fall sees our fair city full of the weird, the wonderful and the plain old entertaining. Here are our top picks for the hottest tickets in town. BY

Michael White



Angels in America: Perestroika Tony Kushner’s Pultizer-winning drama about the AIDS crisis in 1980s New York has become all the more impactful as society has (slowly) enlightened itself about the cruelty of that era’s ill-informed masses. The second of Angels’ two parts, Perestroika follows Arts Club’s production of Millennium Approaches earlier this year. (Don’t worry if you missed its predecessor—this works as a stand-alone experience.) September 7 to October 8, Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage,

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Our collective inability to be less in thrall to the internet is the hot-button topic of modern life. Elbow Theatre Society principals TJ Dawe and Itai Erdal present a tragicomic take on, in their own words, “life online and the limits of digital empathy.” October 4 to 14, Firehall Arts Centre,

Almost, Maine

Upon its 2004 premiere in Portland, Maine, playwright John Cariani’s series of nine romantic vignettes (think of it as Love Actually for the stage) broke local box-off ice records before making its way to off-Broadway and eventually becoming the most-produced play in North American high schools. Now Pacific Theatre is having its way with this feel-good audience favourite. November 24 to December 16,

Playwright Marie Clements turns tragedy into art in the new opera Missing.

East Van Panto: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Vancouver Opera: Turandot

Puccini’s final work (in the gravest sense—he died before it was finished) is arguably also his most accomplished. Set in China, its story of a prince’s doomed love for an indifferent princess is set to music that is a feast for performers and audiences alike. A suitably dramatic beginning to Vancouver Opera’s season. October 13 to 21, Queen Elizabeth Theatre,


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Dirge for the Missing B.C.’s Highway of Tears goes from headline fodder to artistic inspiration in an ambitious new opera. THE SILHOUETTE OF a man sprints across the stage. There are no flashing knives, no obvious murder weapon—just murky, muddled violence that is absorbed more than it is seen, like a nightmare sprung to life out of the depths of sleep. A girl’s voice cries out: “Tell Momma I ran! I ran! I ran as hard as I could. Tell Momma I ran!” These words are the final, lingering echoes of the 16-year-old whose death marks her as one more victim along northern British Columbia’s Highway 16, better known as the Highway of Tears. The number of murdered and missing Aboriginal women in Canada is testament to the racism and gender violence that runs deeply through this nation’s veins. Since 1980, 1,200 Aboriginal women have gone missing or have been murdered, with an estimated 50 Indigenous women and girls vanishing along this notorious stretch of B.C. highway since 1970. The issue has finally gained the attention of Ottawa, with the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls launched in late 2016, but it seems incongruous—and certainly ambitious—to take this tragedy and render it into art. Yet this is precisely what City Opera Vancouver has done with Missing, its newly created chamber opera, which runs for five nights starting November 3 at Vancouver’s York Theatre, followed by five shows at Pacific Opera Victoria. The intimate two-act production focuses on an Aboriginal teen whose fate is sealed when she misses the school bus and hitchhikes home along Highway 16, only to be picked up by a predator. Against this backdrop, the grief and horror endured by survivors, who wait in vain for news of a missing loved one, is thrown into sharp relief. By humanizing the families of the victims, Missing honours their journey into the abyss and, hopefully, back toward some semblance of peace, says its composer, the Juno Award–winning Brian Current. n


Theatre Replacement’s recently established annual tradition, in which a classic fairy tale is relocated to our city and liberally soaked in absurdity, is perhaps the holiday season’s most refreshingly different onstage attraction. Here, the PNE is the setting, and the titular dwarves are has-been members of a 1980s rock band. November 29 to January 6, York Theatre,

Visit for more listings.

As Missing’s librettist, Vancouver filmmaker and Métis playwright Marie Clements elucidates this violent demimonde with empathetic elegance. For her, the work is a cathartic reckoning, the start of a healing journey for both Aboriginal people and the colonial culture, evoking “the hope that we’re evolving to this idea that we are responsible to each other.” Similarly complex themes have been fearlessly embraced by City Opera Vancouver throughout its 11-year history. The company’s works have explored territory from the loss of a child (Sumidagawa, 2010) to the invisible trauma of war (Fallujah, 2011). Missing, however, is new ground for this adventurous company, with sections of Clements’s libretto sung in Gitxsan, the Aboriginal language traditionally spoken in the region ribboned by Highway 16. By replacing common opera staples like German or Italian with the sonorous and throaty sounds of the Gitxsan language (one native speaker described it as “like swallowing a fishbone”), the chamber opera becomes firmly rooted in Aboriginal history and experience. Authenticity is imperative in telling this “painful and necessary story,” says City Opera Vancouver’s artistic director Charles Barber. To achieve this, the company invited families and friends of the missing to critique the production at various workshops and brought in vocal coach and Gitxsan speaker Vince Gogag to ensure the delivery and pronunciation of the language ring true—although four of the opera’s seven singers are Aboriginal, none are Gitxsan speakers. Feedback from those with a personal connection to the opera’s source material was crucial in its development, says Toronto’s Current, recalling how he changed the score after one workshop participant told him, “We don’t sing that high.” As a result, the minimalist score for Missing “is different from anything that I’ve ever done before,” says Current. With its exploration of the universal theme of loss, Missing lays the foundation for a bridge between two cultural solitudes that must work together, embracing reconciliation and ultimately forgiveness, to give birth to a new Canada—one where we realize that we are all each other’s keeper. —Roberta Staley

MUSIC Hanson

Whether you love or hate them for it, Hanson made history: the Oklahoma siblings’ multimillion-selling “Mmmbop” hastened the end of grunge and brought about the pop renaissance that continues to this day. In celebration of their (gulp!) 25th year as a band, they return to help us forget how old this information makes us feel. October 18, Vogue Theatre,

Lionel Richie and Mariah Carey

Two legends of pop/R&B hit-making (combined album sales: more than 300 million) tour the continent together at contrasting periods in their respective careers, Richie having been reassessed as a timeless treasure following years as a meme punchline and Carey trying to restore lustre to her brand after the lipsyncing tire fire that was New Year’s Eve 2016. September 3, Rogers Arena,

Westward Music Festival



If you aren’t yet familiar with this New York state–born stand-up, we recommend you remedy the situation when she returns to Vancouver after too long an absence. A winner of awards everywhere from Australia to her adopted home of Montreal, her humour is brash and staunchly feminist, but she’s also happy to laugh at herself. October 12 to 14, Comedy Mix,

Stuff You Should Know

Does a decapitated head retain consciousness? Why do we itch? What are the origins of curse words? Hosts Chuck Bryant and Josh Clark bring their freewheeling, wildly popular podcast to the stage, broadcasting live to the world. September 26, Vogue Theatre,

Vancouver Writers Fest

Launched in 1987, this annual celebration of all things printed and bound has not only offered crucial exposure for emerging and established wordsmiths, it has also introduced bookworms to many now-revered authors when they were all but unknown. In recognition of this year’s 30th-anniversary milestone, some literary heavyweights—including Margaret Atwood and veteran New Yorker essayist Adam Gopnik—have been brought on board. But the most memorable moments of each year’s program often come from the least expected sources, which is why the likes of Brit crime novelist Ruth Ware and former NHL goaltender (and latter-day Order of Canada off icer) Ken Dryden shouldn’t be missed. October 16 to 22, various venues,

If the future of summer festivals appears somewhat unstable (the Guardian considered the recent collapse of Pemberton a harbinger), perhaps the answer is to move them into the urban core and make them much less predictable? The inaugural Westward features up-and-comers such as Long Beach rapper Vince Staples, First Nations electronic trio A Tribe Called Red and local singer-songwriter Hannah Georgas at various venues in and around downtown. September 14 to 17, various venues,

The New Pornographers

Their first recording was made in 2000 for a lark. Yet despite seeming destined to not last 17 minutes, this Vancouver-centred collective— based around linchpin singer-songwriter Carl Newman—is now celebrating 17 years. Like any band that rules one very exclusive domain, the Pornographers’ exemplary pop-rock—which evokes the 1970s/1980s golden age of AM Top 40—has been taken for granted of late. It shouldn’t be: this year’s Whiteout Conditions is their career masterpiece. September 29, Commodore Ballroom,

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Visit for more listings.



The city’s premier ballet company sets its 2017/18 season in motion by bringing together two international titans of the art form. Resident choreographer Cayetano Soto, from Barcelona, presents the world premiere of his own self-explanatory New Work, while Sweden’s Johan Inger performs his B.R.I.S.A. for the first time in North America. November 2 to 4, Queen Elizabeth Theatre,

Now in its 14th year, this annual celebration of the Downtown Eastside’s artistic community showcases all manner of locally created artworks—from gallery exhibits to public installations—as well as theatre, dance, film, music and much more, while workshops and forums allow attendees to interact directly with creators. “Honouring Women of the Downtown Eastside” is this year’s theme. October 25 to November 5, various venues,

Vancouver International Flamenco Festival

The Polygon Gallery

Ballet BC: Program 1

Since 1990, this annual event has celebrated the centuries-old musical and dance traditions of southern Spain that have become globally synonymous with romance and seduction. This year, a program of 10 events takes place at Granville Island’s Waterfront Theatre and other venues, featuring talents from across Canada and, of course, Spain. September 11 to 24,

Feasting on Famine

Combining theatre and dance with martial arts, local company Radical System Art is audacious by nature. Its newest production, which launches the Firehall’s 35th season, finds company founder Shay Kuebler exploring the inherent narcissism of bodybuilding and the pursuit of “trying to create the perfect body while others in the world are starving.” September 27 to 30, Firehall Arts Centre,

Wells Hill

Via her non-profit company, Action at a Distance, Vancouver-based dance artist Vanessa Goodman has drawn considerable accolades (including being chosen for the prestigious Yulanda M. Faris Choreographers Program) for her thoughtful, often provocative work. In keeping with the company’s stated mission to “foster work that reflects the human condition, using dance to decode contemporary experience,” the three-years-in-the-making Wells Hill pays tribute to two legendary Canadian iconoclasts: musician Glenn Gould and media theorist Marshall McLuhan. (The production’s title is a reference to the address of Goodman’s Toronto childhood home, where McLuhan was a previous occupant.) November 24 to 26, Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre,


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Heart of the City Festival

North Vancouver’s esteemed Presentation House Gallery—the region’s only large gallery devoted exclusively to photography and media art—closed its doors in July after 30 years and more than 300 exhibitions. But only because its ambitions and reputation had outgrown the space. Its much-anticipated Lower Lonsdale successor, the Polygon Gallery, is (barring construction delays) scheduled to off icially open November 18 with N. Vancouver, a showcase of works from local and international artists that aims to “engage the social and geographic context of North Vancouver.” Those who can’t wait for the off icial opening can get a first glimpse of the gallery at an art auction chaired by world-renowned local photographer Stan Douglas on October 21 (tickets $300). newhome

Eastside Culture Crawl

Artist workspaces rarely receive visitors— distraction is the enemy of creative endeavour, after all. But for four days, more than 500 studios will open their doors to the public to peruse local (and often one-of-a-kind) canvas art, ceramics, glassware, furniture, clothing and jewellery, and more. November 16 to 19, various venues,

Stone and Sky: Canada’s Mountain Landscape

Few sights symbolize the country’s—or, at least, this corner of the country’s—history and majesty as effectively as our towering mountains and the unspoiled nature that surrounds them. In honour of Canada 150, Audain Art Museum has mounted this exhibit of works created by numerous Canadian artists between 1867 and now. November 11 to February 12, Audain Art Museum,

True Nordic: How Scandinavia Influenced Design in Canada

The surge of creativity that swept the globe after the Second World War manifested in Northern Europe in the form of a radical design aesthetic—clean, minimalist, functional—whose influence can still be seen in everything from large-scale artworks to off ice furniture. This seven-decade-spanning exhibit features pieces from Niels Bendtsen, Bocci and many others. October 28 to January 28, Vancouver Art Gallery,






Ian Telfer & Nancy Burke

Thank you to all our supporters for helping raise over $370,000 to benefit the conservation of our oceans.



RESTAURANT PARTNERS Araxi Restaurant + Oyster Bar, blue water café + raw bar, Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, Fish Counter, RawBar at the Fairmont Pacific Rim, The Pointe Restaurant, Wickaninnish Inn, Vancouver Aquarium, YEW seafood + bar

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2017-07-18 12:33 PM

2017/18 Season

Nov 2 3 4 New Work | Cayetano Soto B.R.I.S.A. | Johan Inger

Feb 22 23 24 Romeo & Juliet | Medhi Walerski

May 10 11 12 BEGINNING AFTER | Cayetano Soto New Work | Emily Molnar Bill | Sharon Eyal & Gai Behar

Subscribe Single tickets September 5 Support for Ballet BC haS Been generouSly provided By

Romeo and Juliet pRoduction sponsoR

dancer KIrsten WIcKlund. W photo mIchael m slobodIan.







THERE’S BEEN A LOT of ink spilled in praise of the return of the burger, but what most spots forget is that this food staple is not a canvas on which to paint your foie gras, ground short rib and manchego aspirations. It’s a burger. Chef Robert Belcham knows this, and that’s why he keeps it simple at Monarch Burger: local beef, aged 45 days and ground fresh daily. It gets a soft bun lightly browned, iceberg lettuce, processed cheese, tomatoes, some house-made bread-and-butter pickles and secret sauce. Voilà—messy perfection for the honest price of $11 ($12 gets you a beer, too, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.). 926 Main St. (located inside the American pub),

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THE QUIET QUÉBÉCOIS Chef JC Poirier goes big with St. Lawrence. by

Neal McLennan Luis Valdizon

PHotoGraPHs by

IF YOU’RE LIKE most people, the start of your visit to St. Lawrence, the much-hyped new room from chef JC Poirier, will be locating its spartan website (it contains the address, opening hours, phone number and that’s it) and using the reservation button to desperately try to find a dinner slot in the next month that isn’t either 5:30 p.m. or 9:45 p.m. I wish you the best of luck. In some ways, Poirier has become the perfect microcosm of Vancouver’s dining scene. He comes with impeccable credentials (he trained under Normand Laprise at Montreal’s famed Toqué before heading west, where he was Rob Feenie’s wingman at Lumière), but his experience at his own fine-dining spot, South Granville’s Chow, was long on ambition but a hair short on patrons. But since shuttering that admired room, he’s flourished by moving down-market—the no-frills Pizzeria Farina is consistently full despite dozens of

St. Lawrence Restaurant


269 Powell St., Vancouver 604-620-3800 Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.


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Steak Tartare

challengers who’ve materialized since it opened six years ago, and his ode to a casual red-sauce joint—Ask for Luigi—won this magazine’s Best New Restaurant award in 2015 and has been packed ever since. But St. Lawrence is a big step back toward Chow’s level of fine dining: the interiors are a lovely regal blue, there are beautiful monogrammed plates, and the cheap-and-cheerful crowd who devotedly line up a block away at AFL had better be prepared for simply cheerful, as the cheapest entrée is a venison meat pie the size of a small island that clocks in at a “Sacré bleu!”inducing $32. The cheapest starter— the terrine of the day—a Hawksworthian $17. But before you even wrap your head around paying such prices

on Powell Street, a gratis plate of cretons (essentially a homey pork rillette) is placed in front of you with two large pieces of still-warm pain au levain and a housemade mustard—it’s the most substantial amuse-bouche in town and its heft is an appropriate accompaniment for wading through the compactin-options-but-substantial-in-portionsize menu. The food is inspired by chef Poirier’s Québécois upbringing, but to the unlearned in all things la belle province (c’est moi) it feels like an ever-so-slightly updated take on a classic French (as in France) brasserie. Many of the usual suspects—steak tartare, mushrooms in puff pastry, rabbit in mustard sauce—show up, but with the kitchen’s attention to detail they’re

Hanger Steak Chef JC Poirier

The interiors are a lovely regal blue.

Rice Pudding

anything but trite. The tartare ($19) is perfect small chunks of Cache Creek eye of round, their richness cut with capers and lemon and then funked up with a rare appropriate use of truffle paste and some chèvre noir. It’s a standout dish when served with thin waffle-cut fries. At a later date, I opted for the smoked bison tongue ($18), an equally sizable starter that rides the bison’s leanness to flavour nirvana. The mains are even more substantial. A deeply brined, impossibly moist thick-cut pork chop ($36) is grilled and topped with a huge melted chunk of Oka cheese and dotted in vain with cornichons to cut the richness. It’s a massive dish, like a porterhouse français, that could easily be shared by two. And while the portion

of the hanger steak with bone marrow and escargots ($42) is smaller, the dish is a master class in full flavour and is served with a heaping basket of pommes frites that, unavailable as a side, is perhaps the most envyinducing dish for fellow diners. Less successful was the lyrically named pomme duchesse à la royale ($12) from the Legumes menu, which turns out to be a very large stuffed potato with cheese, which is pleasant enough but unnecessary given the portion size of the mains. Accompanying all this is a tight, French-only wine list that, while not inexpensive (the cheapest bottle is a rosé at $58), has been crafted with care by Matthew Morgenstern with tough-to-locate gems (a magnum of

Bourgueil is a temptation at $138) that match perfectly with the food. I was nicely cajoled to end with the rice pudding ($18 for 2+), a dish that I have literally never ordered in my life. But here it’s served with a dollop of salted caramel and a dehydrated banana, and the combination of the sweet with the tang of the pudding was revelatory—it has my vote for best dessert in town and is a perfectly deft finish for the substantial mains. The bill for two of us, with two glasses of wine each, one starter, one vegetable and two mains, was $180 before tip, but it’s possible we could have added a third diner for such an order without anyone going hungry. But even still, that tariff is not insignificant (find me another spot in Canada that charges $42 for a hanger steak and I’ll eat another bowl of rice pudding) and has to be a high-water mark for an eatery east of Main. But it never feels gouging. If you’re expecting a Québécois Ask for Luigi you’ll be sorely disappointed, but if you’re searching for a serious take on regional cuisine and don’t mind paying for it, you’d be hard pressed to find better.

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Welcome to Luxury...



Your pad Thai isn’t authentic?” Sen Pad Thai

Angus An, chef-owner of five Thai eateries, including the awardwinning Maenam, has heard it all before. But considering that this new Granville Island stall specializes in Thailand’s favourite street food, it’s time to settle the debate and explain the many reasons why his stir-fried noodles are great.

7-1666 Johnston St. 604-428-7900

1 Semi-dehydrated rice noodles imported from California don’t have to be pre-soaked, which often contributes to soggy clumps in lesser versions.

4 Speaking of sweet, good pad Thais such as these do have a touch of it to balance the sourness of tamarind pulp and the savoury pong of fish sauce.

2 Each serving is individually wok-fried to order, not steamed in big batches, ensuring an even distribution of heat and no crunchy hard bits (unless you’ve specifically ordered the northern-style pad mi korat with crispy pork).

5 In addition to five types of pad Thai, this surprisingly expansive menu features several renditions of delectably chewy pad siew and pad ki mao, all made with fresh, silky-thin rice sheets. (We highly recommend anything that comes with the lemony-peppery goodness of holy basil.) Which will be your favourite? Well, that’s a whole different hornet’s nest to untangle. —Alexandra Gill

3 Contrary to popular perception, some regional variations—pad pu sen chan with crabmeat from Chanthaburi, for instance—are indeed tossed in red sauce. No, that’s not ketchup. It’s chili paste.


845 Hornby St, DowntownVancouver 604.689.7777 | 32

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Bows x Arrows

4194 Fraser St., 604-620-7657 The Victoria-based Bows and Arrows Coffee Roasters is apparently no longer content with courting the espresso crowd: in a stylishly sparse South Fraser café, BxA also serves up a full-service dinner menu (overseen by Trevor Pruegger of the Birds and the Beets) alongside grab-andgo pastries from Thomas Haas. Pull up a candlelit table for two and order a generously portioned plate of locally sourced salumi, seriously strong house-cured pickles and fresh sourdough to accompany the pack-a-wallop cocktails (like the gin-based BxA negroni) before tucking into fresh, seasonally inspired mains like an only slightly overdressed rye berry salad.—Stacey McLachlan


The Perfect Venue For Your Exclusive Event or Holiday Party

Presented by

In support of

presented by NOV. 6-11, 2017

36 chefs. 14 unique events. 1 special charity. tickets are already 60% sold

Young Project Chefs practice their skills under the watchful eyes of chefs (L-R) Makoto Ono of Mak N Ming, Robert Belcham of Campagnolo, Andrea Carlson of Burdock and Co, Trevor Bird of Fable, Hamid Salimian of Nextjen, Angus An of Maenam and Lucais Syme of Cinara. HAMID ATTIE

visit for tickets, event details and chef lineup




Empress 1908 Gin, $47 IN OUR CROWDED craft spirits scene, it takes a little something special to get us excited, but this mash-up bottle between distilling legend Peter Hunt of Victoria Distillers and lodging legend the Fairmont Empress makes an impact right off the bat with its regal purple hue (all natural, courtesy of dried butterfly pea blossoms), which transforms to a soft pink with the addition of tonic (see right).


Fall is starting off on exactly the right food and wine notes.



Foxtrot Tango Whiskey Bar

Visit for more food and spirits.


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Veggin’ Out When the history of vegetable-forward cuisine is written, there’ll be an entire chapter dedicated to New York’s revolutionary Dirt Candy. Its Canadian chef/owner, Amanda Cohen, is popping into town and suiting up beside Burdock and Co.’s Andrea Carlson for an evening of green power as part of this year’s Eat! Vancouver festival. $135, November 8, PRODUCT

Hot Licks If we’ve heard about one rock star with a side project in the hot sauce business, we’ve heard about…okay, it’s just the one, but Jonny Hetherington, front man for the band Art of Dying, is absolutely slaying it with his small-batch artisanal sweat-inducers. The rocker favours the habanero pepper and cuts it with peach, beet or pineapple for some all-natural takes.


SHAWN SOOLE may be the greatest bartender in B.C. never to be VanMag’s Bartender of the Year (gotta be in Vancouver, Shawn) but his resumé—single-handedly making Clive’s a destination, then nailing it with Little Jumbo—is growing. Foxtrot Tango Whiskey, the new spot in Victoria’s DoubleTree hotel he’s just opened with Shane Clarke and Jill Tulloch of Clarke and Co., channels a 1950s L.A. lounge and immediately rises to the forefront of the capital’s must-visit watering holes. 777 Douglas St., Victoria

Client: C|Prime / Size: 4.6” X 4.9” / CMYK / Vancouver Magazine


ET & Campari 1.5 oz Campari 2 oz tonic water 1.5 oz Empress 1908 gin

Reflected in its carefully crafted menu, C|Prime puts a premium on locally sourced and curated ingredients. Using the finest cuts of BC-raised meats, fresh seafood, vegetables and cheeses paired with innovative, rich sauces and salts, the restaurant offers incomparable dishes that showcase both Italian and New York inspired flavours.


Build over ice in a glass in the order listed above. Sip and repeat.

Located in the Century Plaza Hotel

1015 Burrard Street Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y5 T (604) 684 3474 F (604) 682 5790


W W W. C P R I M E . C A

Back in Black The menu at Gotham doesn’t Untitled-3 1 list “Chicago-style” as an option, but if you want your filet (or New York strip) cooked in a sizzling hot cast iron pan coated with butter (instead of the usual commercial broiler), just drop the Windy City’s name and you’ll get a darkcrusted beauty with a slightly richer taste.







No More Costco Wings Name Bells and Whistles Location 3296 Fraser St. People James Iranzad and Josh Pape (Buffala, Wildebeest, Lucky Taco) 6-Word Description Sports bar with seriously elevated food.

2016-06-08 4:15

Proudly presenting works from the National Gallery of Canada


What’s Hot Now Valentino suede shoulder bag with enamel panthers ($3,110), Boboli, Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust watch in 18K Everose gold with (56!) diamonds and green dial ($20,100), Rolex Boutique GWC, globalwatchco .com. Carmen tasselled pumps ($395), Kalena’s Shoes, kalenashoes .com. Masahiro Maruyama eyewear ($889), Bruce Eyewear,

Stylist extraordinaire Leila Bani dishes out precious intel on the season’s most coveted looks and must-have pieces—from Vancouver and beyond.

photography by Kyoko Fierro styling by Leila Bani

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Accessories are life. The easiest and most fun way to make or change a look in a flash.” – s t y l i s t l e i l a ba n i

Cozy + Casual Loro Piana hooded toggle coat ($6,260), baby camel hair sweater ($2,580) and Pete Sorensen braided leather belt ($425), Boboli, boboli .ca. Performance denim slim jeans ($139), Dish and Duer, Anne and Valentin Drake glasses ($479), Bruce Eyewear, Church’s brown boots ($740), Gravity Pope, Paul Smith black leather monkey print wallet ($350), Simons at Park Royal, Rolex 18K gold Cellini time watch with crocodile leather strap ($17,400), Rolex Boutique GWC,


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I think it’s good to not be too precious about the bling. I mean, don’t fling it in the river, but what’s the point of it sitting in a box?” – l . b .

Modern Boho Valentino chiffon Chemisier dress ($6,960), Fair Isle knit bralette ($810) and over-the-knee boots ($2,860), Boboli, 18K yellow gold toggle necklace ($13,920), Stittgen Fine Jewelry, Rag and Bone felt hat ($235), Gravitypope Tailored Goods, Lise Charmel floral demi-bra ($207), Diane’s Lingerie, dianeslingerie .com. Scarves for Water scarf ($29), Obakki,

Plaid! Statement coat! One of the most coveted bags on the planet! This gal’s ready for her jet.” – l . b .

Power Lunching Versus Versace white graphic-print jacket ($1,660) and Alexander McQueen cropped trousers ($1,560), Leone, Valentino black fine-rib turtleneck ($1,520) and Valextra Iside large bag ($3,575), Boboli, Marni resin earrings ($530), Gravitypope Tailored Goods, Diamond and tanzanite ring ($18,000), Stittgen Fine Jewelry, PS by Paul Smith Lin block heels ($530), Gravitypope,


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I love that no detail is left behind, from the embroidery on the McQueen dress shirt to the pocket square to the very athleisure-trendy Prada sneaker brogue.� – l . b .

Fresh Prince Midnight plaid twill suit ($999) and navy box dobby and paisley pocket square ($59), Indochino, Alexander McQueen embroidered shirt ($995), bow tie ($250), Versace red cardigan ($895) and Prada leather sneakers ($1,255), Leone, leone .ca. Steel cufflinks ($310), Stittgen Fine Jewelry, stittgen .com. Happy socks ($14), Gravitypope,

If there’s one thing we learned from our search for Vancouver’s Best Dressed, it’s that style is about making your own rules: party skirts can be pink pleather, waist-free is the new black, dresses are for men, khakis are for breakdancing and going full suit in a world of West Coast casual can be the ultimate style statement. by Dominika Lirette

photography by Evaan Kheraj styling by Luisa Rino

grooming by Anya Ellis

Get the Look

Find outfit details and outtakes from this shoot at


The Artist

The Free Spirit

The Dapper Doc

Name: Chris Weber Day job: Hairstylist Style: “It’s very unisex with a touch of hipster. I love mixing new and vintage pieces.”

Name: Stewart Iguidez Day job: Dance instructor at Harbour Dance Centre and choreographer Style: “It’s always consistently comfy, because I love mobility.”

Name: Darwin Wan Day job: Family doctor Style: “You’re always at risk of being projectile vomited on, so you have to tone down what you wear. I don’t wear any Brunello Cucinelli cashmere to work, ever—that stuff is completely off limits.”

Best Dressed


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What will you be spotted wearing most days? Black, white and denim. What is the best compliment someone has paid you in regards to your style? I like when you go to work and people ask you if you’re going out afterward. If they ask you if you’re doing something tonight, it’s because you dressed so well. I’m like, “Thank you. No, I’m actually just going home.” Who inspires your style? Some of my favourite fashionistas are the Olsen twins, because they always wear a lot of oversized clothes that are really dark. I like how they go gender-neutral sometimes. They wear lots of hats, lots of big sunglasses and oversized shirts. How would you describe Vancouver’s style? It’s very mixed. It always depends where you are. East Vancouver definitely has the best style. People are very open to fashion and love showing their own style. Why do you love fashion? You can really express yourself with how you dress. No one tells you what to wear and you get the chance to show the world who you are. I go shopping lots in the women’s section. I go to Topshop, not Topman. I often go to Oak and Fort and all those stores, and I like that you can dress very genderneutral. You can make big statements. What piece of clothing can you not live without? Hats. They add the perfect touch of edge to my style. And it’s always raining in Vancouver, so they’re a must-have.

What piece of clothing or accessory can you not live without and why? I’ve been collecting hats from all over the world—specifically fedoras. Every time I travel, if there’s a hat that I don’t have, I’ll try to bring one back from out of town. I have a wall full of hats. It’s not ball caps, it’s newsboy hats, berets and mainly fedoras. Are there any past looks of yours that make you cringe? Yes, when I was in high school I was a raver for a bit. Enough said. Has the street style of dance influenced the way you dress? I’ve been really inspired by styling out and dressing up a lot of fitness gear. I’ll dress it up with a vest, and then a cardigan and a fedora. It doesn’t look like workout gear, but I have the ultimate fusion of chic, comfort, simplicity, mobility and it’s very clean looking. What is the best compliment someone has paid you? Someone said, “Hey, I’ve known you for years, and you’ve never had a bad outfit.” Consistency. It was very flattering. In your opinion, what “makes” an outfit? I really like simple but also really subtle details. It could be an asymmetrical shirt that might be slightly tapered on one side— you wouldn’t notice it. Do you ever try to coordinate what you’re wearing with your adorable dog? When my one dog has a pop of red, I’ll usually have a pop of red with a feather in my fedora, so we do kind of always match.

What will you be spotted wearing most days? A spreadcollar dress shirt—my work requires business dress. Also, because it rains every day, I often have a trusty Arc’teryx Veilance Gore-Tex jacket on, too. What item can you not live without? Blundstone 501 Australian work boots—in my opinion, the most versatile pair of shoes in the world. You can wear them to a restaurant or hiking up a trail. Where is your favourite place to shop? London. A veritable smorgasbord of stores catering to every taste and price point. And a Mr Porter biennial sale. If you could raid someone’s closet, whose would it be? Fashion magnate Nick Wooster’s. I’ve seen pictures of his closet. It doubles as an apartment. What is your biggest fashion tip? I think learning the colour wheel is actually really important. Most people, including myself, when we’re born have no clue how colours go together. There’s actually a little bit of science to it. Always bear in mind fit, fabric, formality and colour. Does your profession affect how you dress? Everything has to be machine washable. Can you tell us about @Styleshutter? I decided to take photos of the clothes I’m buying. I have a friend who is into fashion, too, so we said, “Let’s start an Instagram.” It’s basically a side hobby.

Our tastemakers (left to right) Chris Weber, Stewart Iguidez and Darwin Wan proving plaid is a timeless classic for any style.

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The Online Shopper

The Expressionist

Name: Adele Tetangco Day job: Co-founder of Style: “Long and oversized—things that don’t have a waist. I like to be able to eat.”

Name: Sushi Day job: Employee at Lush Manufacturing Style: “Quirky, dark, yet colourful. All things cute and spooky.”

If you could raid someone’s closet, whose would it be and why? Cate Blanchett in her role as Elizabeth I in the movie Elizabeth. I’ve always wanted to try on a really big ruff. What is your biggest fashion tip? Everyone should own at least one pair of colourful shoes. Who is one of your favourite designers? Rachel Comey has been my favourite designer for many years, for both shoes and clothing. I love everything she does. Like, if she made a pen, I’d buy that pen—that’s how hard-core in love I am with Rachel Comey. When did you start developing your sense of style? Not until I got into my thirties. I think one reason is income: you’re making more money. So it’s being able to afford the things that maybe you wanted before but weren’t accessible to you at the time. Have you given your kids any fashion advice? My oldest (age 17) started rebelling against the things I pick for her because she thinks I make her look too old. I’m like, “Hey, it’s not looking 30, it’s looking really stylish and advanced for your age.” Style is all about the inside, and I know that sounds cliché, but when I wake up in the morning and I pick something, I don’t wear it because it’s cool. I wear it because it makes me feel amazing. I always tell my daughter, “If you don’t feel comfortable, don’t wear it,” because it’s the person under the clothes that’s going to give you your sense of style.


Who are your style icons? I don’t really have a style icon, but I’m inspired by Japanese street fashion. They do a lot of weird stuff and I love it. If cost were no object, what would you buy right now? YRU light-up shoes. Oh, how I long for those! They’re my main goal one day. What is your biggest fashion tip? Be comfortable in your own clothes without judging other people’s style choices. Has roller derby influenced your style at all? I think it’s made my style more elaborate. I feel more comfortable in what I wear now. Why is Halloween your favourite holiday? You can just dress up how you want. I love costumes. I used to cosplay as well. So I used to make a lot of my own stuff and dress up. What is your earliest fashion memory? Once I started listening to rockabilly music, the style came with it. That was maybe when I was 18. I started to get more comfortable in dresses and wearing heels, and I put on lipstick almost every day. As a fashion school grad, do you make your own clothing? Yes. Most of the clothes that I wear I made myself. Lately, I haven’t been making a lot of things, only because I don’t have a sewing machine anymore. What is the best compliment someone has paid you? I think it’s people mostly appreciating the confidence I have, the fact that I can dress as weird as I like.

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I’ve always wanted to try on a really big ruff.” —a de l e t e ta ng c o

Pro models for the day Adele Tetangco (left) and Sushi sharing a laugh on-set.

A decade ago, made-to-measure suit maker Indochino caused a menswear revolution when it launched online. These days, the Vancouver-based company’s physical showrooms are redefining what it means to have a store.

Retail Dis


Retail isn’t dead, but the rules are most certainly being rewritten. Here’s how Vancouver companies are thriving in a global market that no longer distinguishes between online and off. by Jessica Barrett

photography by Andrew Querner



tepping off Cordova Street and into Julia Church’s Nettle’s Tale boutique is like walking through a portal into another world. The din of Gastown’s dense urban life quickly fades away, to be replaced by a tranquil log cabin vibe complete with raw wood design details, deer head bust and a curated collection of enamelled mugs, pocket knives and rustic-yet-upscale camping gear, all handselected to highlight the star of the show: Church’s own line of Nettle’s Tale swimwear. Opened last March, the store is like a bricks-andmortar ode to Church’s customers—active, outdoorsy women who’d rather poke around a tidal pool than sip cocktails at a swim-up bar. Nettle’s Tale gained an international following almost immediately after launching in 2014, striking a chord among women with Church’s novel approach to swimwear—she designed and sized a range of semi-custom suits based on the body types of real women in her life: her mother, her friends, even a former roommate, rather than the unobtainable physiques of fashion models. But the initial customer base didn’t come through a storefront. Rather, Church’s location in one of Vancouver’s mostly highly visible—and high-rent—shopping districts was made possible through her success selling swimwear online. “It’s interesting: if you would have asked me at the start of my business where I wanted to be in five years, I would have glamorized Nike’s website,” Church reflects over coffee in a buzzing café across the street from her store. “I would have said, ‘I want you to pick one of our already patterned designs and say what you want the print to be, customize it, and get it shipped to you in six to eight weeks.’” While many might assume the internet would be a challenging place to sell what is arguably fashion’s most unforgiving garment, Church found it to be an invaluable tool in building her confidence and proving her concept had legs. To test the waters, she launched a crowdfunding campaign and blew past her goal of $10,000 in a matter of weeks. She ultimately walked away with $70,000 in start-up capital and a priceless contribution in the form of international press. “We had Huffington Post and Buzzfeed, and we broke into the U.S. market, which takes some companies years,” she recalls. A pop-up shop followed, then a temporary shared retail location on Main Street, and, finally, less than three years after launching, she opened her flagship store in Gastown. Consider her trajectory a sign of the times. While the rise of online shopping over the last two decades has been blamed for ushering in the death of retail, a look around your average shopping mall or high street shows that’s most certainly not the case. Sure, we might be facing end times for retail giants like Sears, but even Amazon’s


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After her semicustom swimsuits hit a chord with women online, Julia Church expanded her individualized approach to customer service to include an offline outpost of Nettle’s Tale. “We’re trying to create a really positive, empowering environment where you just feel like your body is what it is.”

Photograph courtesy of Booje Media


Cosmetic + Medical Dermatology

WE KNOW SKIN. 2425 Hemlock Street, Vancouver, V6H 4E1 | 604.682.7546 | |

Herschel Supply Co.’s pop-up shop in Deep Cove is fashioned as a lemonade stand where beverages take precedence over their bags. That’s emblematic of a new retail reality where stores are about selling an experience first, product second.

seemingly inexorable march toward world domination now includes physical bookstores in U.S. cities from Seattle to New York, Whole Foods, and, soon, a spate of cashier-less convenience stores. Retail isn’t dead, but the rules have been rewritten, and increasingly they favour smaller, more innovative brands that are gaining traction in a global market impervious to the boundary between online and off. Vancouver, with its entrepreneurial spirit, well-educated workforce and tech-conversant global population, is home to a growing number of companies that are on the leading edge of this retail disruption. This city hasn’t historically been known on the world stage for sartorial exports (aside from a certain alliterative yoga-pants brand, that is). But that’s starting to change, thanks to a burst of young companies that are coming of age in step with shifting market forces, says Marc-David Seidel, professor of entrepreneurship and innovation at UBC’s Sauder School of Business. Just like people, businesses are imprinted with the culture of the time and place in which they are born, he says, which is why retailers founded decades, if not centuries, ago, are struggling to keep up with changing consumer trends. However, companies emerging in Vancouver’s techfocused corporate ecosystem are tailor-made for a global market in which consumers value good ideas, strong branding and ultra-responsive customer service over a ubiquitous presence in every shopping mall in the land. “These start-ups are basically founded at a time when people are used to shopping online or used to shopping globally,” Seidel says, adding that a relative lack of retail expertise in the city may turn out to be a strength. “We’re not burdened by pre-existing bad habits.” Seidel also notes that a major reason traditional retailers are struggling is due to bloated corporate structures and inflated costs passed down from a bygone era in which big box stores were king. Add to that Vancouver’s status as a tourist hub and a permanent destination for people from all over the world, and products developed here can quickly find a fan base in


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every corner of the globe. “It used to be that in the fashion industry you had to be on the proper Paris catwalk and be in Vogue magazine,” Seidel says. “Now you just need to be on the right influencer’s feed on Instagram.” That global marketplace was squarely in the crosshairs of Lyndon and Jamie Cormack when they launched bag and backpack company Herschel Supply Co. in 2009. With decades in the apparel industry between them— Lyndon with Vans and Jamie with K2 Sports—the brothers saw a gap in the market for their urban-meetsold-timey designs that combine vintage features like leather straps with laptop compartments. And from the start they aimed beyond B.C.’s or even Canada’s boundaries—a bit of a departure from the way many Canadian retailers had traditionally done business. “It wasn’t Herschel Supply from Vancouver with big Canadian maple leaves all over it,” says Lyndon. “It was more like, hey, there’s this idea and through travelling, through research, through a hunch, we felt that we could create something that we could bring to the world.” To achieve their goal, the pair employed a multipronged approach, courting third-party retailers, independent sales consultants and distributors to get their products on store shelves, as well as launching an online store with the promise to ship worldwide. Some positive initial press put them on the global radar and almost from day one they had customers as far afield as Kuwait, Australia and Zimbabwe. It was a powerful strategy in terms of exposure for the brand—even if in those early days it carried a financial cost. “I think the bill was $94 to ship to Kuwait,” Cormack recalls. “But the beauty in the idea was if you want to buy it, you have this opportunity to buy our brand.” Herschel now has products in more than 10,000 stores in over 70 countries and has expanded to include a line of outerwear, while the head count at its Railtown headquarters has grown to almost 170 people. Which makes it surprising the brand is only now opening its own retail locations on home turf. This July, Herschel



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is quick to point out that its showrooms, where customers can have their measurements taken and view samples but don’t buy clothing off the rack, were the invention of necessity. “The biggest thing that online-only businesses struggle with is customer acquisition,” says Green, noting that after a strong online start, going physical was a crucial strategy in maintaining growth. Green believes the future of fashion retail lies in the “omnichannel” delivery his company—which now employs nearly 400 people in its Yaletown headquarters—helped to pioneer. To be successful, companies have to combine the best of both worlds in order to offset the respective challenges. For instance, online retailers have access to a treasure trove of analytics about consumer habits that can help them determine when and where to invest in costly bricksand-mortar infrastructure. But it’s not enough to open a conventional store. To stand out and attract customers in the real world, companies must also provide a unique customer experience that truly embodies the brand. To that end, Indochino’s focus on individualized customer service acts like the personification of its online approach to bespoke menswear—something that stands in stark contrast to the experience of buying massproduced clothing off the rack. “In terms of a growth strategy, we said to ourselves, ‘Let’s not sell a product, opened its first Vancouver-area pop-up store in Deep let’s sell an experience,’” he says. But the company’s Cove, where Cormack lives, and next spring they’ll open 17 showrooms across North America (with four more a 5,000-square-foot flagship store in Gastown. But for a to open this year) also serve as a gentle introduction to company that’s already ubiquitous in nearly every corner of the world, including Vancouver, moving into retail isn’t the concept of buying online. More than 70 percent of customers who come into the showrooms have never as much about moving inventory as it is about building interacted with the brand before, says Green, but more brand identity. than half go on to make a second or third purchase online. “What a retail experience is going to allow for this brand is to let people come into our house and see what we Getting consumers comfortable with buying through really care about,” says Cormack. “And what we care about both streams is the next challenge for today’s retailers, he says, and here, too, many in the industry are looking to is customer experience, design details and ambitious Vancouver-based companies for leadership. projects; we care about Vancouver . . . we have this ability “We’re viewed as cutting-edge, leading-edge retail,” to story-tell beyond belief.” says Green, who has been invited to speak at over 20 The store as a venue for storytelling first, sales international industry conferences this year. “They’re second is another way retail is being redefined by really looking at us and saying, ‘These guys have figured the influence of online start-ups, says UBC’s Seidel. out something special and are doing it the right way.’” The trend of online apparel companies opening That reputation has Julia Church feeling confident physical stores is an important step in combating the about her odds in growing Nettle’s Tale into another limitations of online sales, he notes, as many people made-in-Vancouver success story. Six months after are still wary of buying high-touch items like clothing opening the store, she’s finding a wider market, thanks online. But as companies migrate from virtual to to discoveries by walk-by traffic and tourists, and she’s physical, they tend to stay leaner and nimbler than refining a style of body-positive customer service that traditional retailers—and in their execution, many embodies the brand. And with ambitions to one day are changing the idea of what it means to have a store. expand her retail operations to other cities in Canada, Seidel points to Vancouver-based online retailer she’s confident the relationship she built with her Indochino as one player that changed the game when customers from the outset means they’ll continue to it opened its first physical showrooms in 2014. “They don’t really have inventory,” he says. “You go in there to support her wherever she goes. “Women were able to say to themselves, ‘This is a concept I’m ready to see come make an order and they help you make a bigger order.” to market, I’m willing to support it.’” Drew Green, CEO of the made-to-order suit company, For Indochino CEO Drew Green keeping the company evolving has meant pioneering an “omnichannel” delivery model. “The biggest thing online-only businesses struggle with is customer acquisition.”


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California’s Secret Vineyard Hit the Anderson Valley before all the (other) travellers turn it into the next RECIPES

A New Spin on Brunch Hens down, here’s the best egg you’ll taste this year, with a simple recipe to fete it ARTS & CULTURE

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Two museums attempt to right historical wrongs in a landmark discussion of the

Doctor of Wine


UBC researcher Hennie van Vuuren has built a bespoke bottle bunker where he grapples with allergies, biofuels, and time itself

Daily stories that connect you to the best of our By Neal McLennan city. Fresh, exclusive insight that resonates locally. Plus the Vancouver Restaurant Guide, with 1,000+ authoritative reviews that you’ve come to expect from your city magazine—as gorgeous on your phone as it is on desktop. RESTAURANT FINDER

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Play Wonder Wall Reclaimed bricks from Chicago give the space a true loft feel. “We wanted to bring some sort of heritage in,” says Luu.



The search for a right-sized home comes to an end in this light-filled loft. by

Jessica Barrett Tracey Ayton

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AFTER BOUNCING AROUND the Lower Mainland for more than a decade, Ann Luu was starting to feel like the protagonist in a familiar children’s tale. The bachelor pad in English Bay was too small, the Surrey townhouse too big, and the half dozen other condos and apartments in between never felt “just right.” Until last year, that is, when the CTV weather anchor found the Olympic Village loft she now shares with husband Mike Rumsby and their beloved Boston terriers, Nitro and Ramsay. j

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Creature Comforts Textured surfaces like the leather couch and a tree-stump table give the loft a rustic West Coast feel, made even more local by the hanging bus roll, a remnant of Vancouver’s transit history— and a former commuting route for Luu (above). Mellow Yellow Marigold lacquer cabinets and matching bar chairs add a warm burst of citrus to a monochromatic kitchen (inset, bottom left). Wild Thing “We’ve always killed plants because we’ve never had enough light; finally in this space we kind of just had to have them,” says Luu, who took inspiration from her newly acquired green thumb to accent the guest bathroom (inset, right). Home and Away The map in her bedroom (opposite, right) peels away to mark each country visited, and Luu has big plans for it. “My goal is to have a picture gallery of where we’ve been around that map,” she says. “We love travelling and want to do more of it.”


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Family Ties A family photo taken shortly after arriving in Canada from Vietnam (find Luu on the far left, in blue) sits next to souvenirs from a family trip to China— where her parents were born—in 2009.

Swing Low After plans for a spiral staircase stalled (they would have had to close the street and get a permit to lift it in), the hanging chair animated a space that otherwise might have been left for dead.

Bathed in natural light from the skyhigh windows and hugged by a wraparound patio that nearly doubles the floor space, the condo had the couple smitten from the start. But the plain white walls, tan cabinets and laminate floors screamed for a makeover. “It was really drab,” says Luu. Personality came in the form of a brick feature wall, a nod to the industrial history of the neighbourhood, and greenery in every corner—even adorning the bathroom walls—to erase any sense of separation between inside and out. “We never close our blinds,” Luu says. Meanwhile, a carefully curated collection of art reflects Luu’s family history, as well as the couple’s travels, both near and far. Whimsical touches, like a hanging chair, carve cozy nooks out of the open-concept space—irresistible for human and animal occupants alike. It all adds up to the forever home that has eluded Luu for so long. “The ongoing joke is, ‘When are we going to move from this?’ and I always say, ‘Mike can move whenever he wants.’”

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For Vancouver magazine’s 50th year, we’re taking a look back through the archives and sharing a few classic covers each month. Just like the city, we’ve changed a lot over the past few decades.

September 1975 Environmental activists hit the high seas to tail illegal Russian whalers on the hunt—though the Russians don’t seem too bothered by the pursuit: “They wave and cheer, under the impression we’re making a movie of them...then set about their grim business of blubber stripping.”

September 2004 As far back as 2004, Fraser Street was proclaimed to be “the new Main Street.” But writer Lila MacLellan was skeptical that the ‘hood could ever compete: “This is the most un-ironic street in Vancouver.”

September 2007 We published our 50th-anniversary issue last month, and it was a tough assignment thanks to the high bar set by this top-notch edition celebrating VanMag’s 40th. In it, the magazine’s early years are well chronicled through a profile of long-time editor Mac Perry, who first hatched big plans for the magazine at the Ritz Hotel and threw legendary parties at the office at Davie and Richards. “Mac would invite up the ladies from the corner,” remembers Douglas Coupland, who published his first forays into fiction in the magazine. “He taught me that for any party to hop, you have to have sexy people in the room.”

September 1981 “That Kitsilano feeling, the macramé-and-gumboots outlook, probably went out with the discovery of cappuccino west of Commercial Drive.” Ah, yes: blaming gentrification on coffee. Some things never change.

#vanmagturns50 For more vintage VanMag all year long, follow us on Instagram at @vanmag_com


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Vancouver magazine, September 2017  

Engaging articles, reviews and stories all about Vancouver. Vancouver Magazine informs, guides and entertains people who engage with the cit...

Vancouver magazine, September 2017  

Engaging articles, reviews and stories all about Vancouver. Vancouver Magazine informs, guides and entertains people who engage with the cit...