Our travels start in Uptown New West, home to quite possibly one of the most eclectic shops you’ll ever find, the New West Cobbler Shoe Repair. Known for re-soling your favourite pair of shoes and their superb customer service, they also offer knife and scissor sharpening, key cutting and have a phenomenal collection of tchotchkes and collectibles. Dragons? Yep. Toeless socks? For sure. Orthotics? Absolutely! It’s not just a cobbler.
A few shops north of the cobbler is RedRum Records, a classic old-school record shop, with thousands of vintage albums alongside tons of new vinyl, and perhaps the largest collection of Japanese pressings in the province! You could spend hours in this store flipping through their collectables, and checking out their unique collection of posters, stickers, and turntables.
Intense vinyl decisions can create a hearty appetite. Luckily, nestled in between the New West Cobbler and RedRum Records is the Waffle House. A New West staple since 1954, you’ll find culinary classics like Salisbury steak, hot turkey sandwiches, and, of course, waffles!
With a full belly, you’re ready for a gentle stroll to the West End. This short walk takes you along the Seventh Avenue bike route, past the New Westminster Lawn Bowling Club and through Moody Park. As you head down 7th Avenue to 12th Street have a look at the houses. How many different architectural styles can you count? How many can you name? Take out that sketchpad and draw your favourite one. San Francisco is cool, but Brow of the Hill, the area that you’re walking through, has some of the oldest homes in the province standing next to some of the newest, and everything in between.
With a day free from responsibilities and fresh eyes, you can really see your city, especially the mix of old and new buildings lining 12th Street. Inside one of the older structures, you’ll find Renaissance Books, another of New West’s most unique and eclectic stores.
For over 20 years, Renaissance Books has been a cultural community hub, home to readings, art shows and book launches. And of course, stacks of books. Those that love used bookstores will welcome the woody and earthy scent that permeates the air, a scent that will take you back in time. Renaissance has something for everyone; plentiful piles of vintage books, new publications from local authors, and new favourites just waiting to be added to your bedside table stack.
Our day continues with a downhill trek to the historic downtown of New West. Don’t forget to look up or you’ll miss the post-WWII apartment buildings. If cool architecture spotting works up a thirst, Arnie’s Grocery at the corner of 10th Street and 3rd Avenue is a great place to pause and grab a frosty drink from the cooler.
At the bottom of 10th Street, you’ll soon find yourself on Front Street, one of the original thriving commercial districts in the whole province. In 2016, the City revitalized the area to create an inviting area for residents and visitors alike. Along Front Street Mews, you’ll find so many photo opportunities with interesting public art like Floralume, catenary lighting and a parklet where you can enjoy your coffee and snack from Old Crow Coffee or the Hive Café, both housed in some of the oldest buildings in the province.
A visit to Front Street is not complete without going into Antique Alley, one of the largest antique stores in the lower mainland. Prepare to spend a good chunk of time wandering and discovering well-priced antiques from the 19th century, retro furniture from the mid-20th century, and so much more. And who knows, maybe the antique picture frame you buy will have starred alongside your favourite Hollywood actor because they rent their collection to the film industry!
(Speaking of Hollywood, it’s not just miscellany housed in Antique Alley that has found its way into film. Did you know many of the buildings and the streets in the area have been featured in film and TV shows, like Rumble in the Bronx, I, Robot, and Godzilla?)
Our next stop is Sapperton, a neighbourhood with an established thirst for brewing, ranging from 1880 to 2006. The brewery connection is once again strong as it is now home to Barley’s Homebrewing Supplies. Barley’s is a great store to pick up all the supplies you need to make your own beer, books about making beer, drinking beer and the history of beer. As an alternative thirst quencher, you can also buy DIY kombucha supplies and even purchase kombucha by the glass or growler. They also sell some cheesemaking supplies and other supplies for various fermentables.
You can also wet your whistle at Another Beer Co. (ABC), located on the other side of the railway tracks in the city’s industrial area. They have a wide selection of beers on-tap and the open-concept warehouse-style has a way of connecting you with the beer-making process and inspiring your next great home brewing project.
Spending a day surrounding yourself with the books, brews, vinyl and views that make our city both familiar and new; it’s how you can truly #ReDiscoverNewWest.
Have you #ReDiscoveredNewWest’s other unique and eclectic shops in our lovely city? Don’t forget to snap a photo of your finds and post to your public social media page with #ReDiscoverNewWest for your chance to win some great prizes. When you shop local you can also enter to win $1000 to spend local! Visit www.ReDiscoverNewWest.ca for all the contest details and a listing of more great New West shops.