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Who Won the 2012 Vancouver Where to Shop Awards?

We asked. Where readers voted. Here are your favourite spots to shop

By Jennifer Patterson

Heritage department at The Bay. Photo by KK Law

Department Store
The Bay
This Canadian company, founded in 1670, is one of the oldest in the world. Over the past few years, this downtown hub has turned into a don’t-miss fashion destination. Label lovers visit The Room, a high-end space filled with the crème de la crème of designer goods, and young trendsetters head to the world’s second-largest Topshop, on the lower level. For holiday decor, see the Christmas Street department.
Holt Renfrew; Army & Navy.

China & Crystal
Drop by this elegant South Granville space for classic collectibles, including Waterford Crystal or dinnerware by Iittala, Versace and Wedgwood.
Birks; Chintz and Company.

Antiques & Collectibles
Antique Warehouse
There’s no time like the present to redecorate. Luckily, Antique Warehouse has over 1,115 sq m (12,000 sq ft) of vintage and antique home furnishings. There’s something for everyone, as this massive collection ranges from 18th-century decor to mid-century modern furniture, all sourced from France, England and Belgium.
Antique Market; Scott Landon Antiques; Three Centuries Shop.

Children’s Clothing
This popular shop for tots and tweens carries clothing and accessories perfect for school, a holiday party or just playing in the yard. Big-name designers (think: Diane von Furstenburg and Stella McCartney) often design limited-edition collections for the chain.
Hip Baby; Beansprouts; Redfish Kids Clothing.

Men’s Clothing
Harry Rosen
Dapper gents head to this downtown store to fulfil all their style-related needs. The rich wood interior complements the custom-made suits, classic casual wear and colourful ties, alongside leather loafers and great-for-winter puffer jackets.
Holt Renfrew; Roden Gray.

Ladies’ Clothing
Vancouver’s own Aritzia started life in 1984 as a store-within-a-store, inside Hills of Kerrisdale (page 27) to be exact. Now, many years and stores later, the edgy, on-trend fashions and multiple in-house labels cater to a loyal legion of customers, including much-photographed celebrities and fashionistas.
The Bay; Holt Renfrew.

Glasses at Bruce Eyewear. Photo by KK Law

Bruce Eyewear
Stylish specs and cool sunglasses line the cases at this Gastown spot. Unique frames by sought-after labels such as Cutler and Gross, Oliver Peoples and Mykita are just a sampling of what’s in store.
Eyes on Burrard; Spectus Eyewear.

Sporting Goods
Sport Chek
No matter what your age or sport, you’ll find all the gear you need—from skis to golf clubs to inline skates—at this mega chain.
Mountain Equipment Co-op; Lululemon.

Change Lingerie
This Danish brand designs sweet skivvies and bras, with cup sizes ranging from A to K. Find pyjamas, slips and bathing suits, too. Free bra fittings.
Dianes Lingerie; La Vie en Rose.

Spend an hour—or four—exploring this palatial, multi-level bookstore. Everything from cookbooks to architecture to language has a dedicated section, as do the hottest best-sellers and magazines. Take the tots to the colourful kids’ section, then browse the expanded gift and decor area. Monthly author events.
Banyen Books & Sound; Black Bond Books.

Purdy’s Chocolates
Since 1907, this iconic Vancouver chocolatier has satisfied sweet-tooth cravings with sweet Georgia browns, hedgehogs and mint melties. The recognizable gold and purple box—chock-full of assorted chocolates, nuts and caramels—makes a great gift, whether for a hostess or for that chocolate-loving friend.
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory; Rogers’ Chocolates; Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie.

Fine Art
Inuit Gallery of Vancouver
This elegant and spacious Gastown gallery has been in business for over 30 years. Peruse the fine Inuit sculptures, along with prints, original drawings and museum-quality Northwest Coast First Nations art. Regular rotating exhibits feature stunning pieces by both established and new artists.
Jennifer Kostuik Gallery; Granville Fine Art.

Jewellery & Watches
Tiffany & Co.
This year marks the 175th anniversary for the coveted jewellery label. Expert craftsmanship and attention to detail—not to mention the recognizable robin egg–blue box—keep customers coming back. Don’t miss the eye-catching collections by Elsa Peretti, Frank Gehry and Paloma Picasso. Be sure to check out the selection of crystal, sunglasses, leather goods and home decor, too.
Birks; Pandora Jewelry.

Bentwood box at Inuit Gallery of Vancouver. Photo by KK Law

Spas & Salons
Vida Spa
The goal of this chic, relaxing spa is to bring your dosha into perfect harmony, helping to promote well-being and restore energy. Treatments are based on Ayurveda, a 5,000-year-old system of Indian medicine.
Chi, the Spa; The Spa at the Wedgewood.

Fluevog Shoes
Flights of fancy for your feet. Vancouver’s own Fluevog continues to push boundaries when it comes to footwear, with the help of custom buckles, curved heels and sculpted toes. The motto behind these whimsical shoes: unique soles for unique souls.
Browns; Gravitypope.

Shopping Centre
Pacific Centre
In the heart of downtown sits this massive shopping mall housing some of the biggest brands: H&M, Apple, Sephora, Club Monaco, BCBG and Harry Rosen. It’s also home to ultra-luxe retailer Holt Renfrew.
Metropolis at Metrotown; Richmond Centre; Park Royal.

To vote for next year’s winners, click here.

Who took top spots in Whistler’s Where to Shop awards? Pick up the new issue of Where Whistler to find out, or click here.

Hot Shopping: TOMS Shoes for Stylish Kids

TOMS Mary Jane shoes

Kick-start the school year with a posh little pair of glittery Mary Janes from the TOMS line of shoes for tweens and tots. Kindergarten doesn’t seem so scary when sporting a ruby-red slipper, inspired by Dorothy. And boys, don’t fret, the classic slip-ons and high-top Botas are ready for any rough-and-tumble playground adventures. At Gravitypope, Dandelion Kids and Holt Renfrew.—Jennifer Patterson

Hot Shopping: Comfortable Flip-Flops from Native Shoes

Native Shoes' Paolo sandals

Savour this rain-free weather (fingers crossed!) by letting your toes breathe and wiggle about in a pair of Native Shoes’ just-launched Paolo sandals (pictured). These washable, waterproof—not to mention odour-resistant and shock-absorbent—dual-density flip-flops have foot peaks to massage your soles while you walk. Pick up a pair at www.nativeshoes.com, Gravitypope or Roden Gray.—Jennifer Patterson

Hot Shopping: Fabulous Flip-Flops

Love Beach Peacock flip-flop in Sunrise

Flip-flops are undeniably comfortable, but rarely does the essential summer shoe manage to combine comfort with wearable style. Local line Love Beach offers the best of both worlds — eye-catching, artistic styles that keep your feet feeling fine. Each shoe sports a colourful design motif, gold-plated and corrosion-resistant pendant, gentle arch support, triple-layer EVA sole, a supple TPU upper and gel cushion heel. The collection offers a range of colours and includes three design styles — Peacock (shown), Love Bubble and Summer Floral. $40.

Available online and at select local retailers, including Capital City Luggage, 1337 Wellington St. W., 613-725-3313.

Hot Shopping: Anna Sui Designs for Hush Puppies

Sandals by Anna Sui for Hush Puppies

Fashion designer Anna Sui’s new collection for Hush Puppies proves that comfort and style really can co-exist. In fact, each uber-chic pair mixes whimsy with an oh-so-comfortable sole. Add some height with the patent toe oxfords, channel Coachella with fringed booties, set the mood with kissing-fish slip-ons, and savour the summer weather in cute sandals—with a cherry on top, naturally. At The Bay and www.hushpuppies.com.—Jennifer Patterson

Hot Shopping: Footwear from Generic Surplus

The Wellington sneaker by Generic Surplus

Summer’s just around the corner, so it’s time to invest in a pair of cool kicks for the warm weather. Generic Surplus, a Los Angeles–based brand, designs GQ-approved footwear for the modern man. Vibrant colours elevate stonewashed canvas, net mesh and linen to the perfect summer accessory that transitions easily from brunch to the beach. Styles range from the standard sneaker (including the Wellington, pictured) to posh brogues to taller deck shoes. Pick them up at The Block or Livestock.—Jennifer Patterson

Hot Shopping: Flip-Flops by Claudia Alan

AYA flip-flop by Claudia Alan

Summer days aren’t too far away. Give your tootsies a treat with a pair of AYA flip-flops by Claudia Alan. The Canadian company adorned its comfy rubber-soled sandals with frog and raven motifs by local First Nations artist Corrine Hunt, who designed the medals for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter  Games. Now that’s what we call a winning combination. Available at www.claudiaalanstore.com. —Kristina Urquhart

Hot Dates: Army and Navy Shoe Sale

Shoe photo ©Loutocky/Fotolia.com

April 25 to May 6

High-heeled mavens and sneaker devotees duke it out over massive discounts at Army & Navy’s legendary shoe sale. This 12-day event sees big-brand footwear, including Steve Madden, Diesel and Marc Fisher, knocked down to wallet-friendly prices.—Jennifer Patterson

Hot Shopping: Ugg Puts its Best Foot Forward in Yorkville

photo by Oscar Mach

It’s the time of year when every other pair of feet you see is likely to be sporting a pair of calf-length caramel-coloured sheepskin boots. Although such footwear is synonymous with UGG Australia, the brand produces many other styles, too. Tony Yorkville is home to the company’s first concept shop here in Canada (a second is now open in Vancouver), where a curved zebra-striped ceiling and frosted glass walls serve as a backdrop for the brand’s entire collection of men’s and ladies boots, slippers, sneakers and accessories such as hats and handbags. Open daily. 23 St. Thomas St., 647-799-0300.

Hot Shopping: Runway Ready

The Room at The Bay

Prabal Gurung, Jason Wu, Roland Mouret, Charlotte Olympia and Azzedine Alaïa. If the mere mention of these five designer labels leaves you feeling faint, then The Room at The Bay is the place for you. This 2,100-sq-m (23,000-sq-ft) store-within-a-store carries covetable clothing, jewellery and footwear, all prominently displayed in a pristine, super-chic setting. Another reason to stop by: Erdem’s nine-piece collection, exclusive to The Bay—be still my beating heart.—Jennifer Patterson

More information:

THE BAY Canada’s oldest department store features fashions for the home and family, as well as Canadian gift items and everyday essentials. High-fashion area The Room features pieces by Armani, Erdem and others. The heritage department stocks the iconic point blankets, outerwear and collectibles. 674 Granville St. at Georgia. 604-681-6211. www.thebay.com

Hot Shopping: Sweet Kicks

Super-comfy Native Shoes

Cool kids, hipsters and heck, even President Obama’s children have been spotted sportin’ a pair of Native Shoes. This collection of light-as-air footwear keeps shoe-a-holics on their toes with styles that range from the classic Jefferson slip-on to the sweetly named Paddington rain boot to the 2011 Red Dot Design Award–winning Fitzimmons hiking boot ($90, pictured). Find your ideal shoe in a multitude of colours at Gravity Pope, Pacific Boarder and Walrus.—Jennifer Patterson

More information:

Gravity Pope, 2205 W. 4th Ave. 604-731-7673.


Pacific Boarder, 1793 W. 4th Ave. 604-734-7245.


Walrus, 3408 Cambie St. 604-874-9770.


Hot Shopping: Fancy Footwork

Trendy yet classic TOMS shoes, designed by the Olsen twins

The days as Michelle Tanner on Full House are just distant memories for Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Now they’re focused on their passion for fashion. Items fly off the shelves from their casual Elizabeth & James line and from their luxe label The Row. Recently they lent their star power to a good cause: designing a line of cashmere and wool shoes for TOMS (pictured), a company that for every pair of shoes purchased donates a pair to a child in need. Head to Holt Renfrew to buy items from all three projects, or purchase your pair of slip-ons at www.toms.com.—Jennifer Patterson