In a city famous for its chic and love of fun, one neighborhood is unlikely to validate both reputations. But Vancouver's Kerrisdale is to this city's élan what the maple leaf is to the Canadian flag: the very center.
After a day of shopping here, you could return home with an assortment of Armani suits or garden ornaments. But the place isn't just about glitz or gizmos for sale: It has a rich history too. Though first settled in 1867 by the Irish McCleery brothers, who came to farm, Kerrisdale really came into its own in the late 19th century, when the Canadian Pacific Railway constructed a line that passed right through its heart. Kerrisdale got its name in 1905, when Mrs. William MacKinnon, one of the area's earliest residents, was asked by the railway's general manager to name the tram stop at what is now 41st Avenue. She chose the name Kerrisdale after her old family home in Scotland.
By the early 20th century, Kerrisdale and Shaughnessy, to the northeast, formed an enclave of wealth in what was a countrylike setting removed from downtown Vancouver. Grand houses sprang up in an assortment of architectural styles that reflected the area's British roots: regal Tudors, fanciful Queen Annes, and Georgian revival extravaganzas. Many of these imposing old homes still stand, surrounded by clipped hedges and tall iron gates.
To experience the best the area has to offer, spend an afternoon shopping in Kerrisdale, then stroll the streets of Shaughnessy to see the beautiful homes. Can't tear yourself away? Return to Kerrisdale for a taste of pub life. Brace yourself for some fun!
Kerrisdale is about 3 miles south of downtown Vancouver, west of Granville St. and bisected by 41st Ave. The main shopping district centers on 41st Ave., four or five blocks on each side of West Blvd.
Area code is 604 unless noted.
This is no place to hunt for bargains, but the U.S. dollar is strong. Even pricey items are less expensive north of the border, where many shop owners bypass suppliers to buy directly from manufacturers. Below are a few of the stores you won't want to miss.
Hill's of Kerrisdale. High-end designer clothing for men and women. 2125 W. 41st; 266-9177.
Isola Bella Children's Clothing & Shoes. Exquisite European items for children. 5692 Yew St.; 266-8808.
Puddifoot. Linens, china, flatware, and the like. 2350 W. 41st; 261-8141.
Thomas Hobbs Florist by Maureen Sullivan. Gardeners will find cast-iron urns and statuary, gorgeous pottery, and outdoor ornaments, not to mention plants and flowers. 2127 W. 41st; 263-2601.
To tap into the rowdy, fun-loving side of Canadian life, eat at a pub.
Cheshire Cheese Inn. An English-style pub with bangers and mash, plus steak and kidney pie. 5645 West Blvd.; 261-2834.
Red Onion. The Double Dog is made up of two meaty wieners in a bun with onions and grated cheddar. 2028 W. 41st; 263-0833.
There are a few good B&Bs right in Kerrisdale, and the grand hotels of downtown Vancouver are just a short cab ride away.
Johnson Heritage House. This 1927 Craftsman-style house is filled with antiques. The four rooms have full baths. From $115. 2278 W. 34th Ave.; 266-4175 or www.johnsons-inn-vancouver.com.
TreeHouse B&B. Barb Selvage cooks a four-course gourmet breakfast fit for a Mountie. Three spacious rooms with full baths. From $115. 2490 W. 49th Ave.; 266-2962 or www.treehousebb.com.