Did you know that The Burrard first opened its doors in the 1950s as a motor inn? And while our property is now firmly rooted in the 21st century, we still love honouring our mid-century heritage. Six decades later, we invite you to take a self-guided tour of the city’s historic 50s and 60s past.
Cup of Joe – Start your morning off right with caffeine fix at The Templeton. This old-school diner’s breakfast menu features dishes made with free-range eggs, handmade specialty sausages and natural bacon. Our go-to is the Big Ass Breakfast, made up of three eggs; your choice of turkey sausage, bacon or veggie bacon; cinnamon raisin French toast or blueberry banana pancakes; and rosemary potatoes – all for just $13.50. Plug a quarter in the jukebox, and then head off for your next stop.
Neon Vancouver – Sure, you may have caught the “Vancouver’s lights” shout out in Life is a Highway, but did you know that in the 1950s Vancouver was once second only to Shanghai in neon per capita? An incredible 19,000 neon signs once lined our city streets, and while only a few of the original signs remain, glimmers of our neon past can still be found on select streets (try Granville Street around The Templeton, for starters). Make your way across the Burrard Street Bridge via public transit or by foot to the Museum of Vancouver’s Neon Vancouver, Ugly Vancouver, and check out the exhibit’s 25 working neon signs (including the iconic Smilin’ Buddha Cabaret). The museum’s 1950s and 60s galleries also offer interesting insights into Vancouver’s post-war dream.
Shop Retro – Vancouver’s Commercial Drive neighbourhood was colonized by Italian immigrant families in the 1950s and later became the city’s bohemian heart. Now, the popular Drive neighbourhood is lined with independent grocers, restaurants and bars, and Italian cafes. It’s also home to some of our favourite vintage wear shops. After grabbing a bite to eat at one of many delicious eateries (we suggest Café Calabria), make your way to Mintage. This local favourite carries both women and men’s fashions, and offers a great selection of denim, retro dresses, accessories and even bridal wear. A couple of other favourites on The Drive: Little Miss Vintage for hand-picked, hard-to-find items ranging from the 1930s to 80s; and Attic Treasures for mid-century modern furniture, lighting, décor and kitchenware.
Catch a Performance – The Queen Elizabeth Theatre was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1959 with an invitation-only concert. Now one of Canada’s largest proscenium theatres, you can catch a selection of acclaimed performances, ranging from comedy and dance to Broadway shows. Upcoming acts include Motown the Musical, Ballet BC’s Romeo + Juliet, Steve Martin and Martin Short, and more. The theatre is right downtown, and close to many of our favourite restaurants, where you can grab a pre- or post-show bite.
And, of course, there’s no better way to complement your tour than with a stay in one of our retro-chic, mid-mod rooms! Click here to book.