Retro: something that is imitative of a style, fashion, or design from the recent past.
Ever feel like you were born in the wrong decade? You’re not alone! Popular shows such as Stranger Things and Riverdale have been transporting us to the past as of late. Even Stephen King’s horror-sequel, It 2 (catch it at the SkyTrain station’s Landmark Cinema) lulls its unsuspecting viewers into an undeniable wave of nostalgia. From the clothes various characters wear, to the food they consume and the games they play, RETRO is back and (we’re hoping) here to stay.
As any great designer will tell you, trends are cyclical. All fads from the past will eventually return, experiencing an inexplicable resurgence of sorts. And this phenomenon is actually very common. New West has been a major trendsetter since the early19th century. As the first official city of Canada, as well as the original capital of the once Colony of British Columbia in 1858, our city has acted as a main metropolis for many years. Even today, this dense urban area paves the way for the cool kids of our nation. Instead of bringing back retro trends, New West actually embodies them by blending the old with the new.
The Vancouver Retro Gaming Expo (VRGE) is a great example of this! The yearly event shows just how important celebrating older gems can be—especially when we consider the ever-growing popularity of classic video games today. Last June, over 1500 retro gaming fans attended the annual expo at New West’s Anvil Centre. Their favourite retro games and well-known pop culture characters were almost always attached to positive childhood memories. And events such as the VRGE allow for those memories to be memorialized.
Carla and Shane from “Carla’s Creations” make these amazing retro perler figures.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait a little while for the next VRGE. But don’t fret: the waiting will be worthwhile! Running on June 20th, 2020, the next expo is gonna be even bigger and better than the last! And as we count down the days, why not also examine some of New West’s other retro businesses and attractions? Let’s start off with one of the most retro diners in New West…
Location: 77 10th St
Burger Heaven is the type of place that seems to have existed since the beginning of time. The New West staple garners a number of regulars—some being local residents while others are well-known celebrities like Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. Regardless of your A-list status (or lack thereof), one thing rings true: you’re sure to get the same amazing service and fare here. The restaurant is known for its endless array of tasty, but eclectic burgers (i.e. Exotic Buffalo Burger, Perogy Burger, Teriyaki Burger, etc.) as well as its undoubtedly retro vibe. But has it always been that way?
In September 1985, Bill Mural visited New West from Montreal and ate at a joint called Burger Haven. Gord Skillen, the owner at the time, has been looking to pursue other business ventures and was unfortunately ready to close up shop. Thankfully, Mural walked into the place and immediately fell in love; he claimed it was the overall vibe he felt when he walked through the door that ultimately sold him. He viewed the establishment as his own sort of heaven. And thus, the rest is history!
So come and grab a tasty meal at this retro diner and experience the interior’s homey ambiance and personable service. Enjoy the 80s neon lights, the friendly servers and the gargantuan meal portions. And if you’re feeling extra hungry and particularly confident during your stay, take a stab at joining Ernie’s Wall of Fame. Challenge yourself to devour 8 patties topped with cheddar, mozzarella, mushrooms, bacon and a special sauce. Only the mightiest eaters win!
What sort of retro trends float your boat? We love them all! Celebrate retro fashion, food, games and decor by enjoying the New West based businesses that epitomize the very movement. And if you’re looking for a quick fix before the next VRGE, head on over to the newly opened Capital City Arcade in Sapperton for some much-loved, vintage gaming. See you there!
Jocelyn works as a Tourism Ambassador for Tourism New West. She’s an aspiring journalist with a passion for sharing the eclectic stories of different peoples, places and cultures.