go local: finishing my Christmas shopping on Robson Street
I grew up in Victoria but often came over to Vancouver to shop. It seems funny now, but 10-20 years ago, Victoria had very little in the way of shopping. We used to drive up the island to Nanaimo to go to Costco. Don’t ask me why they had a Costco and we didn’t.
Nowadays it’s better in Victoria, but I still remember being young and mesmerized by the glitzy, glam appeal of Robson Street. We’d take the ferry over and spend time shopping up and down the street. Things look a little different now, but it has only gotten better.
Fast forward to today, and I’m now living in this city and shopping is a whole new ball game. I like shopping in outdoor settings over malls, and find that Robson has more than enough options to finish off my Christmas list.
And yes, I’m nearly done. I’m not bragging here, just excited to enter into December with no to do list! My goal was to finish all the shopping before December 1st. We don’t go overboard with gifts, but I do love a good gift exchange. I’m really wanting to be intentional with my time in December, so cutting out the busyness of shopping, visiting Santa and a few other traditions has made me feel more calm and excited about the simple pleasure of family and food.
Last week, I had the opportunity to escape to The Blue Horizon boutique hotel on Robson for a night away from the kids, with a few other friends (Keisha + Julie) to finish my goal before December rolls in. It was really nice to have uninterrupted time to think and browse and read. I’m not going to lie, those kind of days are like a fable. So it felt good.
Also, my youngest son got into food colouring the day before I left and dragged gobs of turquoise gel around the house. The white leather couches were smeared with it. His face, hands, belly, feet. The countertops, his high chair, the floor.
My hands, my face.
I’m still finding it.
In any case, I needed a night away!
The view from the Blue Horizon was incredible. It was bustling below, as the hotel is situated in the epicentre of the strip, but the hotel itself was quiet and calm and wonderfully bright.
I’ve never eaten at Joe Fortes, and I have to say it’s an institution. Old school wine list and boozy $18 cocktails. Iceberg wedge salads with crumbly blue cheese. Saucy Cobb salad, lobster oil and balsamic with that crusty, warm sourdough. Fried sliced pickles in a deep dish bowl. Established waiters in white collared shirts. And that old timey dessert list with classics like tiramisu and cheesecake and hefty creme brûlée. I love eating out and I’m always fascinated by how new restaurants do things and continue stay current and also how old ones stick around and still call in the crowds. It was a Wednesday night and the place was packed. Also helps that Fleetwood Mac ate there while in town for their show. Well, helped me, at least! (insert star eyes).
After dinner we still had some time for shopping, as most shops are open until 9pm this time of year.
First stop, Saje for some oil therapy. I’m obsessed with their Carrot lotion. Also, everyone outside is extra nice to you after visiting Saje because you smell so dang good. I had more than one compliment on my scent while out and about.
There’s a new glowy, glossy Indigo that replaced Forever 21, which is fine by me. I can spend a long time and a lot of money in that store which seems to caters to bookish, hostessy, parental types of people.
Their Indigo kids section is probably my favourite.
I snagged some earrings from Blue Ruby which has a surprising array of classy silver and gold studs which are hard to find. Many of their pieces are made by local designers and still remain affordable. I love a lot of the styles, from classic brushed brass studs, to bohemian gold and silver and modern geometric designs.
All in all, Robson Street is a cheery, open aired strip to shop with plenty of classic options for hot drinks, gifts and treats. Over the years it’s been refreshed and some of the newer tenants offer up some great choices for a night out on the town.
Photos by Julie Christine Photography.