Karen Marshall is the co-founder of Fleurs de Villes, a bespoke flower display company, president of connected solutions at Toolbox+ Design, a boutique ad agency, and a long-time Vancouver resident. She shares her favourite spots in Canada’s coastal capital of laid-back cool.

Travel HQ with an Ocean View

Vancouver is blessed with a variety of hotel and Airbnb options, but Fairmont Pacific Rim is truly special. It’s in a superb location, right on the waterfront; outside, the rooftop pool overlooks Coal Harbour and the North Shore; and comfortable rooms inside, many with epic ocean views, and oversized soaker tubs, coax you to cozy up and stay in. But you won’t—there’s live music downstairs in The Lobby Lounge to enjoy, and a whole city to explore outside.

Culture on the Go 

The best way to see Vancouver is on foot or by bike—the fewer wheels, the better. Use a bike-share program like Mobi and pick a path, any path! Walking tours of some of our local neighbourhoods like Shaughnessy and Strathcona offer insights to Vancouver’s unique Asian influences as well as beautiful scenery.

Perfect Your Plié

I’m loving Ballet Lounge. Owner Suzy Kaitman makes ballet fun for all—who doesn’t love a neon light-up barre?

Unique Boutiques

For local flavour, you can’t beat Main Street. South Granville has sophisticated housewares and décor shops, with spots like Uno Langmann (fabulous antiques) and Bacci’s (home décor) adding to the area’s appeal. Walrus on Cambie Street, meanwhile, is a super little gift store with a focus on Canadian design.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Exhibit Art

South Granville is full of small galleries, but if you want to discover up-and-coming creatives, each May, graduates of Emily Carr University on Granville Island put on show featuring their work. Vancouver also has an incredible array of outdoor murals to explore on your own or with a guided tour. Start your research at, or save the date for Vancouver Mural Festival, which takes place around the city every August.

The Galley

Find Your Appetite

The best patio to kick back with a burger and beer is at The Galley, located above the public Jericho Sailing Club on Jericho Beach. They have both carnivorous and vegetarian options, but if you’re looking for a purely plant-based experience, Heirloom Vegetarian in South Granville won’t disappoint.