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Taste Vancouver Food Tours: North Vancouver

On this adventure we were in North Vancouver for Taste of Vancouver’s latest guided food, drink, and sights tour. We had enjoyed the Gastown one, so knew what to expect with this.

Our guide today was Kelsey, who very fittingly also works for the Museum of North Vancouver, and she even helped to write the script for this tour.

Today’s itinerary would have 9 tastings and 8 stops, across 2.5 hours. 3 of which were alcoholic (with options to substitute), 4 savoury bites, one 1 sweet and savoury sample, and 2 desserts.

As a one woman show, it was impressive how she kept our tour group of 5 in line, while calling ahead to each stop to warn them of our arrival. She was also on top of bio breaks, making sure to point out all the available washrooms.

Similar to the Gastown tour our meeting point was the local Starbucks, where we were treated to a welcome refresher, as we dawned name tags for easy identification.

From here we would learn more about the Burrard Inlet, given our water front view. How everything before us was discovered by George Vancouver, who enjoyed naming places he discovered after himself and his friends, such as Galiano Island.

The area we would be exploring is called the Shipyards as it was a hub for logging and lumber, as both were needed to build ships, specially talk trees for their masses.

Kelsey also spoke to Expo ‘86 and how Canada Place’s sails and the North Vancouver Quay Market was built for the occasion. The latter of the two we would get a closer look at with its carnival style, 3 levels of shops and boutiques, focusing on unique niche items.

Our first official stop was the summer seasonal Brewyard Popup featuring 7 breweries,1 distillery, 1 cidery, and 2 wineries.

They make for a great spot to grab a drink at, considering the number of liquids on tap to choose from. Today we had our choice of a beer or cider from Windfall. The former was an easy going dry hopped pale ale, and Windfall’s Hail Mary rose cider had a great scent and refreshing tart tang.

This would be paired with a sample of pizza from neighbouring booth, Nicli Pronto pizza; also located in Lonsdale’s indoor marketplace.

Here, this family run pizza parlour focuses on unique pies, such as their Pear and Brie pizza, which was cleverly described as a different take on the classic Hawaiian.

Our next stop was the Artisan Wine Shop, located at the centre of the marketplace rotunda with it own free standing, self-erected walls. They are part of Iconic Wineries BC and represent 7 wines from Okanagan. Described to us as “a single agency selling experiences, and story tellers in the tourism and business world of wine.”

Here, we had our option of either red or white. For the Red it was a Reserve Syrah from Mission Hill. This jammy wine won 95 points in decanted London, UK; which only features older wines and is on a higher tier of competition.

For white it was the Road 13 Marsanne, from the Oliver region. This is traditionally French white grapes, needing heat and concentration to build it flavour. This bottled batch we were trying was unique in taste and colour due to the smoke over the vineyards, from that year’s summer fires. In this fuller bodied wine we got notes of pineapple and marizpan, contrasting the smoke in a tropical way.

But the highlight for me was being able to use the most stunning glassware I have ever held. These wine glasses were mouth blown crystal, delicate, but strong, in a sold one piece. Truly the vessel makes a difference in wine, and I was sad the price tag on a box of 6 was a little too rich for my blood.

Next we headed to the Soup Meister’s Nephew’s stand, serving soup. This is a staple in North Vancouver. Originally named “ Soup Meister”, his nephew took over when he retired. They are known for their win in “Best meal under $10”, for the “best soup” category.

Today between 3 of us we were able to try all three of the available samples. The Italian wedding was herbaceous with spicy and zesty meatballs, a nice hearty morsel contrasting the tender cooked pasta.

The Chicken vegetable rice was most comforting with its hearty and fragrant broth.

And the Coconut curry squash was a thick and creamy soup with the warming heat of ginger.

Then our journey took us outdoors where with the views of water before us we paused to talk out the ships in the ship yard.

Kelsey also noted the historic buildings and equipment, plus machinery they have painted yellow and kept as decor within Shipbuilder’s square.

I was in awe of the “Mega bench” extended seating that ran 48 meters with 2000 red cedar boards.

We also noted Polygon Gallery as a great tourist attraction and the monument to Jo Bustermente, who once used his trumpet to signal to ferries coming to shore, only to lose his arm and ability to play the same.

Our next food stop was JamJar, giving us a taste of Lebanese. I am familiar with this chain and its multiple locations, the original of which is not from in North Vancouver. So found it surprising that they would be featured in a historical tour of North Vancouver. (This and our dessert stop below.) However, I was informed that the stops to rotate, so the experience I am recalling here may not be what you would get, should you sign up for the tour as well. This is good to know, as if you loved it once you may want to do it again and could get a slightly different and new experience and learning out of it, especially if with a different tour guide.

At Jamjar we got a collection of their popular dips and sides, halloumi fries, deep fried cauliflower in a pomegranate syrup, and hummus. This was a big hit for the tour goers that were not familiar with the canteen.


Next, it was a pause at another memorial. This one highlighted North Vancouver’s shipyard as one of the important shipyard in Canada’s west coast. They were the first to hire women, given that all the men were drafted for war. And their unique rivet shaped garbage cans speak to this story. (To hear it, you will have to take the tour for yourself, I would hate to ruin too much of the surprise in recapping this).

At “Punch clock portal” we got to see an artistic recreation of employee cards, assign to all the people who came to work in the shipyards during the war. Plus the line highlighted across the shipyards signifying the border for the water to dry land.

Next we took an inclined walk into an alley for Cream Pony. I have heard of this doughnut shop they also sells fried chicken, and have been meaning to check them out; was happy to be able to do so during this tour.

Cream Pony is a family owned business, named after the combination of two of their “favourite things” from the “Sound of Music”. And as a tour only exclusive, we got a two bite, spicy fried chicken slider with their popular glaze donuts in place of buns. All of their donuts are nostalgic flavours like, their best selling strawberry crueller.

We would take it to go and enjoy it on the patio of Streetcar Brewing next door, accompanying it with a taster of their radler.

I was fascinated to learn the origins of this beer, and that it is named after spokes of a bike. Apparently beer was enjoyed during long distance cycling tournaments, to the point they ran out, so started adding lemonade to the beer for increased longevity. Today we tried Streetcar’s peach radler that reminded the tour of sour peach candy.

Our next trek had us learning about the steep hills of Lonsdale and how after horse and carriage travelling, street cars came into fashion. And how at the time the 45 degree incline of the Main Street caused many close case, to the point that the city levelled it out.

Getting into dessert territory we were at Earnest Ice Cream. Another not exclusive to North Vancouver shop, but a good one to try for those new to Vancouver, or have never had their small batch, artisan ice creams.

Today we would sample their top selling cookies and cream ice cream and applaud their zero waste initiative, seeing as everything they us is compostable.

And our last stop would bring us back, full circle to where we started: Old World Confections within the Lonsdale market place for a milk chocolate hedgehog to go.

And thus ended our 2.5 hour tour, on time. A great way to eat and get a walk in for locals, while learning something new. And an excellent tour to take for those visiting as it includes food and drinks and brings your through a sightseeing area fairly quickly.

Follow the link below to sign up for either the aforementioned Gastown tour, or this new North Vancouver Shipyards one, I just wrote about.


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