Today was beautiful in Vancouver, as it was yesterday. We’ve looked forward to a break like this for the last few dreary weeks of a wet and wintery Spring.
On the Drive it was if we were practising for summer, wearing shorts, filling every bistro patio (and we have a lot of them) and spilling people onto the sidewalks, smiling faces, plenty of bikes. There was a sense of happy relief — we’ve gotten through the worst of it — and expectation: when is the first No Car day this year? Musicians played at a couple of corners and, even though there were none today, it was easy to imagine dancers in the Park.
What was also notable to me today was the revival of our end of the Drive, between, say, Venables and Napier. For a long time we were the poor cousin to the fun and games to be found around 1st or Grandview Park. Now, almost suddenly, we have our own centres of attraction, and we were attracting good crowds this afternoon. The morphing of Zesty’s into Zawa seems to have attracted its own crowds and, although Bump ‘n Grind coffee may have bitten the dust (it was closed this weekend), Pan e Vero is a highly successful new bakery with an excellent coffee/sitting area at the front. It has gallery-like walls that could compete with Havana for local shows, and an owner/baker willing to listen to bread recipe ideas.
In the next block south, we have the finest chocolatier for miles around (treat yourself to a dozen or so of her handmade delights) right next door to the classic Skylight diner. Next door down is the immensely popular Britannia Sushi where, frankly, the sashimi pieces are too big for good taste and decorum. Finally, to complete a four-door special, next door we find The Reef, a fabulous Caribbean joint I’ve written about before. We went there again last night and it was even better than before. I had their jerk pork tenderloin which was extraordinarily interesting, tasty and good! As I walked by today, clients were hanging out the doors and windows it was so packed.
Now, all we need is a decent grocer down this end. And there is plenty of space for one. All of the places mentioned above are on the east side of the Drive; the west side still needs a lot of work. But, we’re just practising right now. Things can only get better.