Quarry Rock Hike

Just thirty minutes from downtown Vancouver nuzzled in the quaint Deep Cover neighbourhood in North Vancouver lies this beautiful little hike called Quarry Rock. We didn't have the best weather for the hike but nonetheless we powered on through the drizzling rain to get to the must-see lookout. 

Beginning at the parking lot on Panorama Drive, there are numerous signs indicating the path to follow for the Baden Powell Trail. Quarry Rock makes up only a fraction of the Baden Powell Trail. The complete Baden Powell Trail is 48km and covers a whole range of Vancouver's North Shore region from Deep Cove all the way to Horseshoe Bay. Follow the Baden Powell trail signs, which will take you along Panorama Drive until you get to a set of wooden stairs on your left. This is where the hike begins. Shortly after a few steps, you'll come across a pretty relentless uphill path covered in exquisitely intertwined tree roots. The hike leads you through one of Vancouver's many temperate rainforests with Hemlock and Douglas Fir trees aplenty. The trail begins to level out after about ten minutes, once you get to a wooden bridge. The next thirty minutes of the hike is a steady incline along paths and wooden boardwalks until you reach a fork in the Baden Powell Trail. Merge right through the tree clearing and you'll hit solid rock - this is the Quarry Rock summit. From here, you can enjoy scenic views of the Indian Arm inlet, Deep Cove harbour, and the skyscrapers of a faraway downtown Vancouver.

Quarry Rock is an awesome little hike if you want a bit of exercise before the day begins or if you're just in Vancouver for a couple of days and have lots to cram in!

Round trip: 1.5 - 2 hours

Length: 3.8km

Elevation: 100m


Nelson the Seagull

In the heart of East Vancouver, within the depths of edgy Gastown, lies this beautifully quaint and simplistic eatery - Nelson the Seagull. This spacious café was restored on a tight budget leaving many of the old elements from the Rainier Hotel Heritage building intact. High ceilings with mosaic tiles on the floor, antique mailbox drawers, old-school art, a vinyl record player and a black-and-white photo of Nelson Mandela as a boxer behind the counter allows for a rustic yet cosy vibe to the place. The seating arrangements are also charming - from lounging sofas to tables for the whole neighbourhood to sit, this place is a great local hang out to get work done or enjoy a bite to eat. Nelson the Seagull's focus is on Bread and Coffee (as it says on their window), and, boy, do they do it right! 

Their minimalist menu proves that you really don't need anything extravagant to satisfy you're every foodie needs. Breakfast is served all day (thank god), with a choice of muesli, avocado on toast, grilled cheese or soft poached eggs on buttered sourdough toast with the option to add roasted beef, mushrooms, tomatoes or avocado. We were in breakfast heaven. The sourdough bread is cooked in-house at the back of the café in the open air kitchen, allowing the smell of warm cooked bread to engulf the entire space. If you manage to time your feast just right, it will be hard to not walk home with a loaf (or three) of Nelson's finest. Nelson also has a sweet lunch menu - daily soup or salad, and three sandwiches to choose from: Carnivore, Herbivore and Ploughmans. We didn't actually try any coffee at this place (which we definitely regret) but the homemade lemonade was delightfully refreshing.

The obscure name 'Nelson the Seagull' has a cool story behind it too. The two owners, Lee and Jonathan Snelgar, grew up in South Africa and wanted to tribute their café to Nelson Mandela's courage and morality during the apartheid. 'Nelson the Seagull' is a play on the popular song 'The Seagull's name was Nelson' made famous in South Africa by folk singers, Des and Dawn Lindberg, in the 1970s. The song unwittingly became an anthem for the anti-apartheid movement.

For more information, check out their website here. 


Lynn Canyon Park

Lynn Canyon Park is a great hidden gem to visit in North Vancouver, and it is completely free compared to its nearby tourist-magnet counterpart (Capilano Suspension Bridge).

The park officially opened to the public in 1912 and was only 12 acres in size. Now, the park stands at a huge 617 acres and offers many creeks, waterfalls and trails to enjoy within this temperate rainforest. Due to its moderate temperature, mild climate and huge rainfall, Lynn Canyon Park represents one of the world's rarest and most biologically productive ecosystems. Within this climate, coniferous trees grow a plenty - some of which are 80-100 years old. The most common trees you'll see in the park are Douglas-fir, western redcedar, western hemlock and sittka spruce - normally draped in beautiful green moss. There are boardwalks and trails all across the park so that you can revel everywhere this place has to offer. Lynn Canyon Park also has a suspension bridge that is 40 metres long and 50 metres high, which stretches across the canyon with pools, waterfalls and raging water down below. This is a great place for a short little walk if you find yourself in North Vancouver.

At the entrance to the park lies the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre, a cool little addition to the park, where you can find a mass of information about the animals, plants and environmental issues within this treasured area.

For more information about Lynn Canyon Park, click here. 


Bump N Grind Café

I don't see nothin' wrong with a little Bump N Grind…

Back in 2006, Cheryl & Kyle Wright founded Bump N Grind's first café on Commercial Drive in East Vancouver. Their second venture is located on Granville and 14th in the friendly, vibrant neighbourhood of South Granville. An independent, multi-roaster coffee shop, Bump N Grind have carefully chosen the best artisan coffee roasters from across Canada to share with other coffee lovers. Some of which include: Fernwood (Victoria), Transcend (Edmonton) and Phil & Sebastian (Calgary).

We were a little pushed for time, but man were we glad we stopped by. The cappuccino here was the smoothest, silkiest I've ever had, balanced with the perfect caffeine hit to leave me feeling pleasantly buzzed for the day's adventures. There are also specially handcrafted espresso drinks such as the Duetto (an espresso machiato with maple whiskey), Spiked Chai with Bourbon, and Almond Chocolate Gibraltar on offer.

Bump N Grind isn't just about the coffee, it also boasts an array of delicious baked goods including croissants, muffins, and cookies. Don't forget to try the Earl Grey Shortbread, the Matcha Green Tea Brownie and the famous Mookie (cookie & muffin)!

The interior of Bump N Grind is modern yet simplistic. The high ceilings are lined with criss-crossing wooden beams. Be enchanted by the lights that mesmerise you when you look into the mirror whilst waiting for your brew. The custom-made shelving which spells out 'Bump N Grind' is a homely touch to this great coffee shop. This homeliness is mirrored in the vibe here: chilled out and relaxed - the perfect place to get some work done or chill with friends.

For more information about this great little coffee shop, check out their website here.