May 29, 2018  •   7 min read

Note: this post has been updated as of June 5, 2023


Vancouver – Canada’s greenest city, aiming to be the world’s greenest by 2040.


With snow-capped peaks in the horizon, ocean waves surrounding the city, and orcas splashing in the distance, this western coastal town is truly unlike anywhere else. With the entire city and surrounding areas on a common mission to do their part in reducing waste and protecting the environment, Vancouver is one of the easiest places to eat fresh, shop sustainable, and travel consciously.


The city’s recent ban on single-use plastics, taking effect June 2019, is an example of its collective commitment to sustainability. Often counted amongst the world’s top five most liveable cities, the melange of cultures and nationalities make this city rich in natural beauty, heritage and community.


Sharing some of this city’s local businesses and eateries that are leading the way in conscious consuming, keep these places bookmarked for your trip to Vancouver.


W H E R E  T O  S T A Y

Fairmont Waterfront

Ranked as a “5 Green Key” Hotel by Green Key Global, the Fairmont Waterfront embraces sustainability. A rooftop garden that was planted more than two decades ago produces over twenty varieties of herbs, vegetables, and edible blossoms that are used in the hotel’s kitchen.

With an apiary housed on the third-floor terrace, the beehives here are home to over 250,000 honey bees and pollinators. The hotel allows guests to visit the hives and learn more about why honey bees are so important to our future.

With a mission to operate as a zero-waste hotel, the Fairmont Waterfront has diverted 90% of their waste away from landfills.

Address: 900 Canada Place Way

Photo courtesy of Fairmont Waterfront


W H E R E  T O  E A T



Showcasing the best of Canadian cuisine, Forage only uses locally-sourced ingredients.

With fare that is so fresh, Forage works directly with local fishers, foragers and farmers. Vancouver being known for its exceptional culinary scene, Forage brings together unexpected flavours, unique ingredients, and unrivaled quality.

Taking locally-sourced ingredients a step further, Forage’s entire drinks menu is only sourced from local breweries, distilleries, and wineries. With an excellent and very friendly team behind them, Forage takes their staff on farm and foraging trips, for an all-inclusive learning experience. The team forages for elderflower and other local flora, a way to encourage and educate on the process of farm to table, making all the working parts of this restaurant sustainability-focused.

Sustainability is in every feature of this farm to table restaurant. From the sustainable kitchen design to the food, there isn’t an aspect that has been overlooked. Designed by Evoke, the walls are covered in felt to allow the acoustics to flow in the best way possible, providing a pleasant dining experience. Even the restrooms are eco-conscious, with PCW toilet paper, eco-flush, and reusable hand towels.

Forage doesn’t just cater to their patrons, but they work with a 420-acre ecological reserve – the Cheakamus Centre in Squamish – where they donate funds from their filtered water program to enhance student learning at the centre’s garden. With 6700 students each year, Forage, along with the Cheakamus Centre, have a common goal to teach students about aquatic, forest and food eco systems, with a focus on environmental stewardship.

With a chic yet inviting atmosphere, Forage is the top choice for sustainable dining in Vancouver.

Address: 1300 Robson Street

Photos Courtesy of Forage


Fable Kitchen

With an aim to help define Canadian cuisine, Fable sources local product, making the experience truly farm to table, with fresh deliveries daily that are prepared for that evening’s dinner service. In a relaxed and fun environment, this space is open-concept, where patrons can get a full view of the chefs at work from the bar.

With sustainability built right into the fabric of the space, the wood beams and brick walls have been reclaimed from the historic Cecil Hotel.

Accommodating for all dietary types, the team at Fable is helpful in suggesting gluten-free and vegan options. With plates that are meant to be shared, this sustainable eatery is warm and welcoming, a friendly space to eat sustainably in Vancouver.

Address: 1944 West 4th Avenue

Photos Courtesy of Fable Kitchen


La Mezcaleria

For those with a taste for authentic Mexican fare, La Mezcaleria is a fun, casual space with trendy décor and a commitment to serving dishes that honour the different regions of Mexico.

Using organic and locally-sourced ingredients and recommended by the Vancouver Aquarium as an ocean-friendly outlet, this eatery isn’t just acclaimed for its food or handmade ice cream, but for its well-stocked bar. La Mezcaleria’s innovative bar program uses a diverse selection of high-quality and hard-to-find tequilas and mezcals, along with ingredients such as serrano pepper, blue corn, and agave- one of the largest lists in Vancouver. The bartenders, some of whom are native Mexicans, are well-versed on the details of tequila and mezcal, so a seat at the bar here is an educational and gustatory experience.

Addresses: 1622 Commercial Drive or 68 E Cordova St.

Photos courtesy of La Mezcaleria


Ask For Luigi

For the pasta lovers, Ask For Luigi is a casual, intimate Italian-inspired restaurant that specializes in incredible, fresh handmade pasta. With a nod to all things Italian, this little spot hosts a range of Italian wines, grappas, and coffees, all served alongside their authentic fare.

We can’t rave enough about their dishes, and it’s definitely a must-try restaurant!

Gluten-free options are available as well.

Address: 305 Alexander Street

Photo 1 courtesy of @chrismeetschris


Livia Forno e Vino

Your neighbourhood stop for all things pastries, bread and wine. This beautiful little corner bakery makes fresh fare all day, going from brunch to dinner. With authentic pastas, pillowy sourdoughs, and mouth-watering pastries, Livia Forno is not to be missed. The relaxed atmosphere is perfect for dinner inside, or brunch on the patio.

Personal recommendation: The Breakfast Sandwich, pictured to the right 

Address: 1399 Commercial Drive

Photos courtesy of Livia Forno e Vino


Jam Jar 

Jam Jar Canteen is Lebanese food simplified. Using the freshest, local ingredients wherever possible, this eatery has a fun atmosphere, perfect for brunch, lunch, or takeout (really steps up your ocean-side picnic game!). 

Aside from just making incredible food, Jam Jar has a Giving Back Program, where they give back to the communities they operate in. They participate in fundraisers, give out gift cards, and even provide meals to those in need. 

Address: 2290 Commercial Drive

Photos courtesy of Jam Jar


The Arbor

Voted one of the best vegetarian restaurants in Vancouver, The Arbor is a relaxed spot, perfect for sharing. Their range of plant-based dishes are created with fresh ingredients sourced in partnership with local farmers, creating real food that’s simple. The Arbor draws on comfort classics, making almost everything in house, including their ketchup and mustard, and their award-winning vegan and gluten-free burger patty. Choosing to by-pass the questionable imitation meat alternatives, The Arbor challenges us to think about vegetables differently!

Address: 3941 Main St

Photos courtesy of The Arbor



Flourist is working hard to change the food industry, namely flour and wheat. With a transparent approach, Flourist aims to provide traceable grains by working exclusively with Canadian family farms to source premium grains and beans. They mill their flour in house, and their head Michelin-starred chef, Tommy Aird, is on a mission to challenge our taste-buds by reverting back to real whole grains (the less refined the better), where we lessen our wastage and increase our diversity in taste. Why can’t pastries be made with whole grain flour? 

Address: 3433 Commercial Drive

Photos courtesy of Flourist


Le Marché St George

Le Marché St George is a beautiful gem tucked away in a residential neighbourhood. A general store, café, and occasional event space, this French eatery is the perfect place to grab a coffee, a pain au chocolat (or better yet, one of their amazing crepes!), and spend a leisurely afternoon reading or chatting with a friend. The crooked, old building that houses this café is charming and quaint, and the baked goods are not to be missed!

Address: 4393 St. George St

Photos courtesy of Le Marché St George


Bao Bei

A unique restaurant in Vancouver’s Chinatown, Bao Bei is a veggie friendly spot that brings the best of Taiwanese and Chinese cuisine in a modern setting. With schnacks like bean curd skin (definitely get it!), vegetable dishes like king pea tips, and incredible house fried rice, this restaurant will satisfy all your Chinese food cravings.

Address: 163 Keefer St

Photos courtesy of Bao Bei


Rise and Shine

With a mission to provide delicious, clean ice cream (so many mainstream brands are full of chemicals and additives), Rise and Shine makes delectable ice cream from scratch, and all treats are made in house. They offer seasonal flavours that use ingredients that are sustainably and locally-sourced, and organic. 

Rise and Shine partners with many small, lower mainland farmers, as they care about supporting those in their community, and lowering their emissions by reducing transportation and waste. They work hard to be as sustainable and low-waste as possible, and even offer all compostable packaging. 

Address: 3382 Cambie St

Photos courtesy of Rise and Shine Ice Cream


Bâtard Bakery

A family-owned, French boulangerie and café in the Fraserhood, Bâtard is the place to go for all your French favourites – bread, pain au chocolats, sweet treats and more. The marketplace and café are housed in a 100-year old building that feels quintessentially Parisian.

Address: 3958 Fraser St

Photos courtesy of Bâtard



A day trip from Vancouver, Pilgrimme, the cabin nestled in the ferns of the tiny island Galiano, is well-worth the ferry ride. Ranked amongst the top restaurants in the country, Pilgrimme is pure mastery with ethically and locally-sourced ingredients that are as diverse as the ecosystem on the Island.

Having spent time in Copenhagen at Noma, Jesse McCleery changes the menu every few days, ensuring only the freshest of ingredients are used. An established kinship with the Island’s growers, fishers, and foragers allows this unique menu to honour the local plants, sea life, and land animals. Committing to be as ecological as possible, and to lower their footprint as much as possible, everything right down to the ceramics are locally made.

With an air of dining in a dear friend’s home, this wood cabin blends into its surroundings, minimally disturbing the environment around it.

Address: 2806 Montague Road, Galiano Island

Photo 1 courtesy of Pilgrimme


Other Notable Eateries:

Maizal | Authentic Tacos
Nook | Italian
AJ’s Brooklyn | Best Pizza in the City
To Live For | Vegan Baked Goods
Lucky’s Doughnuts | Amazing Donuts
Laowei | Secret Bar in Chinatown
Do Chay | Vegetarian Vietnamese 


W H E R E  T O  S H O P


Old Faithful Shop

Old Faithful Shop is a swoon-worthy home goods atelier in the heart of Gastown. With an eye for design and quiet beauty, the store carries sustainable products that are made with trustworthy craftsmanship. Their heirloom pieces are meant to last and to be passed down for generations.

Address: 320 West Cordova St

Photos courtesy of Old Faithful Shop


Hey Jude

Hey Jude is a design-inspired curated vintage shop in Gastown, specializing in contemporary-style pieces that have been hand-picked and edited by the shop’s two founders. With an emphasis on sustainable clothing, natural fibres, clean cuts and seamless cohesiveness, these thoughtful pieces go far in reducing the ethical and environmental impact of fast fashion. This shop has everything from clothing to accessories, wellness products to home goods.

Address: 315 Abbott St

Photos courtesy of Hey Jude


One of a Few

With a focus on slow and sustainable fashion, One of a Few carries crafted clothing that tells a story. With a focus on fashion-forward pieces made by Canadian and small-scale designers, this shop in the heart of Gastown is the perfect place to find unique apparel. Helping emerging brands find their footing along with an aligned customer base, One of a Few is a great place to support small businesses and artists.

Address: 354 Water St

Photos courtesy of One of a Few


The Coast Goods

A little neighbourhood home décor & giftware shop, The Coast Goods is housed in a 100+ year old building in East Vancouver. The shop is a curated collection of independent artisans and ethically made goods, featuring small makers from both local and global areas. Here you can find a range of products made using traditional craftsmanship – pottery, weaving, artwork, apothecary – in a modern aesthetic.

Address: 1302 Victoria Drive

Photos courtesy of The Coast Goods



A certified B Corp, KOTN has the fourth-highest B Impact Score of apparel brands in North America. With an emphasis on simple, cotton basics, this brand invests in the creation of jobs, infrastructure, systems, and education to alleviate poverty, creating shared, sustainable growth for the communities they are part of. With a philosophy of “farm to table for clothing”, KOTN’s cotton farmers in the Nile Delta are fairly paid and treated, making their line of men’s and women’s apparel that much more ethical.

Address: 3743 Main St

Photos courtesy of KOTN


The Soap Dispensary

Vancouver’s first dedicated shop to refill and zero waste, The Soap Dispensary focuses on soaps, household cleaners, personal care products, DIY ingredients, and fine edibles. With their newly opened Kitchen Staples right next door, you can find zero waste grocery items and bulk ingredients in one stop.

With a mission to lower the city’s waste, single-use plastics are kept out of landfills, watersheds and energy-intensive recycling systems. All products in the store are biodegradable, minimal impact, and good for both humans and the earth. 50% of suppliers are locally-owned businesses, and 75% of soaps are locally-made. Educating people on shopping zero waste, The Soap Dispensary provides an easy opportunity for locals to do just that.

Address: 3718 Main Street



An organic and ethically-sourced tea brew bar, Cultivate takes tea to another level. With a soothing and earthy interior, this tiny tea shop is both a brew bar and retail store. All teas are sourced from China, the richest blends available, that are ethically and sustainably sourced. Choose from a range of teas for different needs and tastes, all packaged in recyclable kraft pouches. Ordering a brew isn’t a quick pour, but rather the slow and intentional process of traditional Chinese tea ceremony, where the tea is washed in several rinses to draw out the flavour.

Address: 3623 Main Street


Other Notable Shops:

Quidditas | Natural Wellness & Herb Shop
Gatley | Lifestyle Store
Hill’s Dry Goods | Lifestyle Store
Harlow Atelier | Natural Wellness Store


W H E R E  T O  V I S I T


Stanley Park

A gem within the city, this expansive green space is perfect for a nature escape. Bike, run, or stroll along the seawall, taking in the mountains in the distance and the ocean before you.

Beloved by Vancouverites and tourists alike, Stanley Park is perfect for a morning jog amidst the misty mountain air. Meander the trail and take a book with you to one of the many beaches along the way. Lounge on some driftwood “benches” and marvel at the city where the mountains meet the sea.

Address: Stanley Park


Camosun Bog

A rare and beautiful ecosystem located within Pacific Spirit Park, Camosun Bog was nearly lost due to damaging human activity. Since 1995, the Camosun Bog Restoration Group has been working to restore the bog, and reverse the damage. Located on the unceded territory of the Musqueam nation, the bog was once a source of food, medicines, raw materials and trade commodities for the Musqueam people. Rich in biodiversity, a visit to the bog will instantly relax you. You’ll find big cedars, moss covered ground, meandering trails, and lots of wildflowers and plants.

Address: South along Camosun St to the entrance past 19th Ave


Capilano Suspension Bridge

Often advised against due to the number of tourists, the Capilano Suspension Bridge is an expansive area, with a park and tree walks surrounding it. Originally built in 1889, this footbridge spanning across a roaring river in the Coast Forest Region is 460 feet in length and has stood the test of time.

Once across the swaying bridge, the park itself is less busy with tons of giant trees, and information on sustainability and forestry on plaques throughout the park. A great place to educate oneself on the important role forests play in our lives, the mini bridges stretching between the tall trees, the aquatic life in the many little ponds, and the woodpeckers flitting around make for a relaxing and leisurely nature day.

Address: 3735 Capilano Road, North Vancouver


Vancouver Aquarium

Unlike most aquariums, the Vancouver Aquarium has a strong commitment to sustainability, actively showcasing and educating visitors on the state of the ocean and how they can reduce plastic-waste. With exhibits throughout the aquarium dedicated to the reality of our plastic problem, the aquarium is using their influence to educate and encourage, rather than elude.

All the marine mammals that live in the aquarium are rescues, whose families rejected them. Without ever forcing or demanding shows and demonstrations from the sea creatures, the otters, sea lions, penguins and resident dolphin are free to play and swim as they please.

Address: 845 Avison Way


Circle Farm Tour

For an experience that is off-the-beaten path, Circle Farm Tours in the stunning Fraser Valley is a great way to see the BC countryside, without straying too far from the city. The Fraser Valley Group is a collaboration between the towns of Abbotsford, Langley and Ch’illiwack, bringing the best of the Fraser Valley together in an easy to navigate circuit of operating farms in the area. Combining natural beauty, farm animals, farm-to-table delights, and rolling hills, going on a farm tour is the best way to support local farmers, growers, and businesses. 

Visit the alpacas and their stunning woolly goods, the goats and their range of delicious goat’s cheeses, milks and ice creams, the cidery for a bubbly flight of farm fresh ciders and eats, and much more.

Fraser Valley

Photo 1 courtesy of Circle Farm Tour


The Audain

A beautiful space nestled in the village of Whistler, The Audain is well-worth the drive up to BC’s ski town. Built by Michael Audain, a large part of the museum’s collection was originally his own private one. With pieces showcasing the art of British Columbia, the works on display range from 19th and 20th century First Nations masks, paintings by Canada’s beloved Emily Carr, and renowned photo-conceptualizations of Jeff Wall and Stan Douglas.

The architecture of this impressive space is simultaneously remarkable and soothing. Built to blend in seamlessly with its surroundings while maintaining an aura of ultra-modernity, long wooden beams and floor length windows invite nature in.

Address: 4350 Blackcomb Way, Whistler


Scandinave Spa

Another Whistler gem is the Scandinave Spa. This thermal, hydrotherapy retreat is set amongst the beautiful mountain range, providing a heightened sense of relaxation and rejuvenation. The baths, saunas and steam rooms are consciously designed, and operate with a low environmental footprint.

Harmonizing this spa with its natural setting, having a low impact was necessary in its construction. With vegetated green roofs, sunlight-optimized buildings, pest-resistant, regionally appropriate plants, and drought-tolerant landscaping, this spa was thoughtfully designed in all aspects. A heat recovery system uses recuperated heat from the baths and showers to preheat water throughout the spa, down lighting reduces light pollution, and window design helps achieve passive solar heating on all major buildings.

Address: 8010 Mons Road, Whistler

Photo courtesy of Scandinave Spa

You might also like: The Sustainable Guide to Victoria

Some of these eateries were in collaboration with Forage & Sustain. With stringent requirements, I only work with brands whose visions and ethos align with my own. All thoughts and opinions remain my own.

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