New York, Paris, London…Vancouver? Let’s be honest, this Canadian city doesn’t spring to mind when you think of the world’s best places to go furniture and homewares shopping. But I’m here to reveal the truth – Vancouver is indeed a little slice of homewares heaven, it’s a beautiful place to visit to boot.
Even better, it’s possible to get all your shopping covered in one day, as long as you have shopping stamina, comfortable shoes and regular caffeine breaks. The only disappointing thing about my Vancouver shopping tour was the size of my suitcase (I’d already filled it up during a visit to New York in the same trip!).
I’d advise starting your shopping trip in the historic heart of Vancouver, Gastown. If you had to compare it to somewhere in Sydney, it’s a bit of a cross between The Rocks and Surry Hills. Gastown dates back to 1867 and is the city’s oldest area. Think independent design, food and fashion, great cafes (essential shopping breaks), bars and cobbled street charm. In 2012, it was named the world’s fourth most stylish suburb. Pretty impressive. It’s also small and easy to walk around.
My first and favourite stop was Parliament Interiors (115 Water Street). Come here for colourful, modern classics and friendly service. The shop is beautifully merchandised, laid out in different room sets which are all styled to perfection. There’s lots of colour, with something beautiful and tempting everywhere you look. The prices seem very reasonable for good quality pieces you’d be hard pressed to find everywhere else. It’s on trend without being too faddy. The buyers clearly know what they’re doing and have great taste. And even if there’s no room in your suitcase, you’ll still pick up plenty of inspiration.
Inform (50 Water Street) is high end and expensive, there’s no getting around it. This is a super sleek and stylish showroom full of amazing designer furniture and homewares, with a 20-year history. It does feel a little intimidating and a sign suggests you leave your bags at the counter before looking around, but the staff are helpful and friendly if you’re brave (and feeling rich) enough to approach them! At the end of the day, not every shop is obliged to sell affordable homewares and if you’re after that special designer investment piece, this would be a great place to visit.