Favourite places to go and eat by Skytrain
BY JULIE CHENG
“Banana cream pie!” My husband’s eyes lit up. “That was Gilligan’s favourite. Mary Ann always made it for him.”
“Did you like Mary Ann or Ginger?” I asked. Mary Ann and Ginger are two very different but hot castaways from the iconic TV series Gilligan’s Island.
Pause. “I liked Mrs. Howell; she had lots of money,” he said.
The banana cream pie was just one of the deals I picked up from Seiffert Market at Vancouver Community College, located downtown at Pender and Cambie. That day I was lucky to get my hands on fresh-baked muffins (still warm, six for $2.50), whole-wheat buns (12 for $1.50), shepherd’s pie ($4.00) and chicken dinner ($2.50, reduced from $4.50). But the fresh pies are really the best deal in town: $3.50.
Sieffert Market is just one of my favourite places I’ll talk about in a new series: the Skytrain Rambler.
Why Skytrain Rambler?
I love the Skytrain. With two lines (Expo and Millennium) running through it, Renfrew-Collingwood has more Skytrain stops than any other community. The Skytrain can take you downtown and on to the North Shore, east to Burnaby, Coquitlam or Surrey, and south to Richmond.
The Skytrain saved me years ago when I was searching for places to go with my two preschool kids. I’d take them to the Central Branch library, Metrotown, Central Park, Seabus and North Vancouver. When they started to fuss with hunger we’d always find a good meal just around the corner.
Today the Skytrain gives my teenage kids the freedom to go to these very same places and discover their own favourite eating spot. It’s a fast, efficient and environmentally friendly option for mass transportation. You save on parking and gas and you’ll enjoy amazing views.
So hop on and take a ride!
Skytrain stop: Stadium-Chinatown
Zone 1; 10-15 minutes from Renfrew-Collingwood stations
From Joyce-Collingwood, 29th Avenue or Nanaimo stations, take the Expo line or Millennium line, heading to Waterfront station.
From Rupert or Renfrew stations take the Millennium line to VCC Clark then transfer to Expo or Millennium line heading to Waterfront station.
Get off at the Stadium-Chinatown stop. Head up the stairs or escalator, past the Blenz and up another flight of stairs. Exit at Beatty and Dunsmuir.
Seiffert Market. One block west along Dunsmuir, you’ll hit the back entrance of Vancouver Community College (main entrance is 250 West Pender Street; walking time from station is 5 minutes). Upstairs, Seiffert Market sells fresh muffins, pies, cakes, lunch entrees and more made by VCC baking and culinary arts students.
On any given day you can get treats and staples for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, from delicious croissants and cakes to ready-made soups and salads to uncooked racks of lamb and salmon filets.
The lunchtime scene reminds me of Woodward’s $1.49 Day sales as customers scramble for the best deals that day. Watch the elbows! Also check out the student-run cafeteria or JJ’s restaurant. Downstairs in the salon, you can get your hair cut for $7.50.
Exit VCC at Hamilton and Dunsmuir. Walk south up Hamilton Street, past the Canada Post office to Georgia Street (3 minutes).
Central Branch, Vancouver Public Library (350 West Georgia Street). It was always a treat to take my kids to the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library. Under the soaring lobby outside the branch you can enjoy a coffee/hot chocolate and muffin with your kids before going to one of the children’s storytime and checking out the terrific collection of books.
Head west down Robson Street to Howe Street (10 minutes).
Robson Square. Here’s another great place to people watch. Take your pick of delicious multi-ethinic food from the food carts surrounding the square. The Vancouver Art Gallery is also right there, housed in a beautiful former provincial courthouse. Admission for children under 5 is free and is by donation on Tuesdays 5:00 to 9:00 pm.
Across from the Vancouver Art Gallery, on Georgia Street, the Hong Kong Bank building features a stunning piece of art hanging from its lobby: a 90-foot (27.5 metre) aluminum pendulum by sculptor Alan Storey.
Chinatown. Head north til you hit Dunsmuir Street again and walk east til you’re back at the Stadium-Chinatown Skytrain station. Walking this will take you at least 25 minutes so think about hopping onto the Skytrain at Granville station (Dunsmuir entrance is before Seymour Street) and making your way back to Stadium-Chinatown. Once there, exit to the right of the transit Lost Property office, through the concourse level down the stairs to Keefer Place and past T&T supermarket.
Head down Keefer until you hit the back side of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden (578 Carrall Street between Keefer and Pender). There is a free section of the garden that is run by the Vancouver Park Board.
Chinatown has changed a lot since I enjoyed the breakfast butterhorns from BC Royal Café and the apple tarts from Hong Kong Café. Those wonderful cafes have long gone but you can still get apple tarts at the busy New Town Bakery (148 East Pender)—they’re not quite the same but still pretty good. While at New Town, take out a Dai Bao, which one friend described as a Chinese hamburger.
If the timing is right, check out the Vancouver Chinatown night market, running til September 8, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6:00 to 11:00 pm, along Keefer Street between Main and Columbia.
That’s the end of the first Skytrain trek. Back home, the banana cream pie must have earned an A+ for its maker. Gilligan and Mary Ann would have approved.
Julie Cheng loves to ride the Skytrain. She is the editor of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News.
Copyright (c) 2013 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News