Wondering where to shop in Vancouver this holiday season? I’m going to tell you my secret source for interesting gifts and stocking stuffers: museum and art gallery gift shops.
Where to Shop in Vancouver and Support Local Institutions
Think of the places we go with children, and rush past the gift shop in hopes of avoiding a meltdown: Vancouver Aquarium, Science World, Vancouver Public Library Central Branch, Vancouver Art Gallery… all of these places get much-needed income from their shops. So not only are you collecting up intriguing gifts for the hard-to-buy-for, but you’re supporting some of our favourite places in the city.
For the constructors and future engineers, Science World has the incredible KEVA planks. If you’ve had a chance to build a structure with these in the dedicated room at Science Centre, you know these are more than just blocks. Because the mini planks are precision milled, you can build incredibly stable structures that get very, very high. It’s impossible to walk by these and not want to build something.
Holiday Gifts for Animal Lovers and History Buffs
Animal lovers will appreciate the Adopt a Killer Whale program from the Vancouver Aquarium. This isn’t an abstract donation – you really do adopt a specific, named whale. They provide family trees and details of where your whale lives, and their podmates.
The Museum of Vancouver’s popular bus scroll pillows make a return this year, a design based on the lists of stops from 1950s electric trolley buses. This year, you can also pick up pillows with illustrations from 1920s travel brochures extolling the virtues of Bowen Island and English Bay, complete with tasteful bathing beauties.
Stocking up on Stocking Stuffers
Stocking stuffers are usually the last things on my list. The gift shops of the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch are where to shop in Vancouver for little toys, bookmarks, small books and puzzles.
When you’ve maybe forgotten someone on your list, a nearly paperless gift like an annual membership for Science World, the Vancouver Aquarium, Museum of Vancouver or the Vancouver Art Gallery is a quick and very welcome solution. They will be thanking you profusely in the depths of a soggy February. [Editor’s Note: We’ll have more suggestions for local experience gifts in our next article, if you’re wondering where to shop in Vancouver for a clutter-free Christmas.]
Museum of Vancouver pillows available through Pillow Decor or Country Furniture. Adopt a Whale packages available through their website.
Erin McGann is the former Managing Editor for Vancouver Mom and Toronto Mom Now. She drinks just a bit too much coffee, is a bit obsessed about sourcing local food, plays the cello moderately well, spends too much time on Twitter, keeps honeybees on a rooftop, and has a thing for single-malt whisky. Erin is working on a novel set in turn-of-the-century Vancouver, which her husband, son and dog have to hear about all the time, and also blogs at Erin at Large.