What to Buy in BC: Shopping on Canada’s West Coast

Share  Facebook Twitter

British Columbia boasts some must-haves when it comes to keepsakes. After all, nothing marks your visit better than enjoying something uniquely Canadian when you return home. We’ve done some shopping for you—a bit of BC bounty, if you will. Enjoy!

EDIBLES

Little Miss Chief smoked salmon.

Little Miss Chief smoked salmon is the perfect BC delectable keepsake. Photo: Little Miss Chief

Little Miss Chief 
Available at Urban Fare, Save On Foods, and more
Traditional smoked salmon is about as iconic as you can get when it comes to culinary take-home ideas. This brand, based in Westbank and owned by Ellen Melcosky, a member of Esketemc First Nation, uses wild-caught BC Keta salmon and a traditional cold-smoking method. The packaging is approved for check-in luggage, the fish is Ocean Wise recommended (meaning it’s a sustainable product), and Ellen’s secret family recipe is downright delicious.

The Canada Collection from Purdys Chocolatier.

The Canada Collection from Purdys offers a mix of mini Hedgehogs and Blond Maple Melties. Photo: Purdys Chocolatier.

Purdys Chocolatier
Available at Purdys locations throughout BC
Vancouver’s Richard Carmon Purdy first sold his homemade chocolates in the city’s downtown core back in 1907, and 110 years later the brand’s signature purple boxes still bring a smile to many a sweet-tooth’s face. The company continues to make many of their classic recipes, and modern confections are added seasonally—all made with quality ingredients. Pick up The Canada Collection, especially the Vancouver and Victoria boxes, a mix of mini Hedgehogs (classic since the ’90s) and Blond Maple Melties.

VQA Icewine
At wineries and wine stores throughout BC
Want to purchase wines that are BC through-and-through? Look for BC VQA on the label—it represents the province’s quality assurance for any wine made from 100% BC-grown grapes, including wines from the Okanagan Valley, where most of BC’s wines are produced. Icewine is a magical elixir that is the result of grapes harvested while still frozen on the vine, to make a dessert wine that’s like no other. Limited production makes a bottle all the more covetable.

WEARABLES

Vancouver's John Fluevog shoe designs.

Vancouver’s John Fluevog has been offering up unique shoe designs since 1970. Photo: John Fluevog Shoes

John Fluevog Shoes
At two free-standing stores in Vancouver, plus boutiques throughout BC 
With a catch line like “Unique Soles for Unique Souls Since 1970” one can’t help but be intrigued by this footwear label. John Fluevog has stayed true to his free-spirited design philosophy, building a brand for men and women that has an environmentally soft footprint favoured by celebrities, from The Beach Boys to Beyoncé. Want a quintessential Fluevog design? Go for a pair of Angels, with a sole made from 100% natural latex harvested from the Hevea tree.

The Alpha SV jacket from Arc’teryx boasts micro-seam technology.

The Alpha SV jacket from Arc’teryx boasts micro-seam technology. Photo: Arc’teryx

Arc’teryx
At their 4th Avenue, Vancouver store and retailers throughout BC
With headquarters in North Vancouver, this high-tech performance-apparel and equipment brand has been the go-to label for outdoorsy types since 1998. The company started off making rock-climbing harnesses, and over the years has revolutionized the industry with a complete line of men’s and women’s outdoor gear that many labels aspire to be. Serious alpine mountaineer? Go for the Alpha SV jacket. Made in BC with WaterTight™ zippers and micro-seam technology, you’ll be comfortable and dry in this keeper.

COLLECTABLES

Cowichan Trading
At two locations in Victoria
Any visitor to Victoria would be remiss to skip this shop, especially if a BC Cowichan sweater is on your radar. Forget the souvenir T-shirt, and go for a hand-knitted sweater made by Vancouver Island’s Coast Salish people. You’re sure to don this wearable work of art for years to come.

The Thunderbird, Eagle and Killerwhale Drum by Kwakwaka'wakw artist Kevin Cranmer.

The Thunderbird, Eagle and Killerwhale Drum by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Kevin Cranmer. Photo: Coastal Peoples Fine Art Gallery

Coastal Peoples Fine Art Gallery
New address as of April 1, 2017 is 332 Water Street, Unit 200, Vancouver
Since 1996, this gallery has been a mainstay in Gastown, thanks to its collection of First Nations and Inuit fine art. BC’s best are showcased here, and any collector with an appreciation for indigenous art would find this space a hallmark of Canadian talent. From painting to sculpture, textiles to totems, choosing is the hardest part. One stunner: the Thunderbird, Eagle and Killer whale Drum by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Kevin Cranmer.