North Vancouver offers a pleasant stripped back feel away from the intensity of the city, with wide boulevards, wooded canyon parks, and pedestrianized areas to take in the nearby mountain air. Just a block away from the easy-going shopping street of upper Lonsdale Avenue is the Civic Plaza, a calm paved space alongside the library with small trees and babbling water features. Every Wednesday evening from late May through September the space transforms for the Civic Plaza Farmers’ Market. This agreeable small evening-market expertly dials into the North-Van vibe with a selection of local artisan vendors offering delicious tonics, baked goods, pallets of ripe fruits and vegetables picked that morning, as well as unique arts and crafts.
My meander up through the businesses of Lonsdale Avenue culminated in a visit to the market, rounding off a busy day with a much appreciated serene shopping experience. I was on the hunt for a dessert but came away with much more. Here’s my five step round up of the can’t-miss sights and tastes:
1. Berry Good Raspberries – K&M Farms
Raspberries and cream, raspberries and ice cream, raspberries with cereal, raspberry sponge cake, raspberry mojitos, the list goes on. The humble, versatile, raspberry does something special to my taste buds. These extremely flavorsome picks were harvested that morning from sunny acres in the Okanagan by long time market attendees K&M Farms. Their other berry offerings looked just as delicious too.
2. A Tasty Tonic For Your (Gut) Troubles – Elixir Brewing
Elixir brewing is created and bottled just three blocks south of the market, and is owned by an extremely approachable owner, who was more than happy to share the benefits (and tasters) of their ginger beer concoctions. Each probiotic recipe is organically fermented so that it’s low-sugar, gluten free, and actively helps your gut. It’s the versatility that caught my attention – add the intriguing flavour combinations to cocktails, or mix with sparkling water. Mango habanero will live long in the memory, lip smacking good!
3. Feelgood Retail Therapy – Mystery Box Thrift Shop
Thrifting remains one of the best ways to keep all kinds of goods going, to be loved by somebody all over again. The mystery box thrift shop, based out of North Vancouver, makes good on seemingly worn out pieces of clothing, footwear and just about everything else – the owner takes time and care repairing and upcycling what may have seemed past the point of rescue.
4. Crumbly Yums For Man And Mutt – Cookies & Company
Enticingly crumbly cookies beckon you over to the Cookies And Co booth, but with much more delicious looking confection on offer it’s a task not to walk away without something. As well as cookies, you may find an array of brownies, cupcakes, biscotti and cupcakes. There’s even ‘canine division’ cookies – delicious dog friendly treats! I scooped some up for my pooch, she snaffled them in no time.
5. Fragrant Gifts For The Home – Moonwater Soap & Candles
Each ingredient that makes up Moonwater products is carefully selected based on their properties, both physically and spiritually. Soaps and candles are made from sustainable ingredients locally, and a percentage of the value goes towards a local charity. Good feeling gifts!