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Insider Itinerary: Vintage Vancouver

April 21, 2024 |
Wendy Underwood

Did you know that The Burrard first opened its doors in 1956 as a motor inn? And while our property is now firmly rooted in the 21st century, we still love honouring our mid-century heritage. Over six decades later, we invite you to take a self-guided tour of the city’s historic 50s and 60s past.


The Templeton

Cup of Joe
Start your morning off right with caffeine 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; French toast or buttermilk pancakes; rosemary potatoes and toast – all for just $16.99. It’s not too retro, though. If you’re looking for avo toast or some vegan delights, they’ve got your back. Plug a quarter in the jukebox, and then head off for your next stop.

Museum of Vancouver, Neon signage

The Epitome of ‘Retro’
There are always exciting exhibitions happening at Kitsilano’s Museum of Vancouver, but there are plenty of historical mainstays to check out, including 1950s: The ‘50s Gallery, and 1960s – 1970s: You Say You Want A Revolution. Step through the city’s history, from the age of neon and high-fashion street photography to the swinging ‘60s, when Greenpeace launched right here in our town. Looking for a snack in the ‘hood? Head up West 4th Avenue, which was casually known as ‘Rainbow Road’ back in the day, to the Naam – Vancouver’s first vegetarian restaurant established in 1968, where the fries with miso gravy and ‘dragon bowls’ have become the stuff of legend. 


Shop Vintage
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’s 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 and major musical acts. The theatre is right downtown, and close to many of our favourite restaurants (try Chambar or Bar Haifa) , 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.

Photo Credits:
Feature Image: Pixabay via
The Templeton – The Templeton’s Facebook page
MOV Image  – Museum of Vancouver Facebook Page

Vintage clothing and accessories – Mintage website
Lobby of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre –
Vancouver Civic Theatres website