The Strathcona neighbourhood, located within the boundaries of Clark Drive, Gore Avenue, Venables Street and Railway Street, is littered with markers that look like they were pulled from a giant version of Google Maps. The markers have turned up in front of businesses and identify them as a member of the “Made in Strathcona” tours taking place on May 31 and June 7 (use the promo code BLOGGER50 to get 50% off tickets!).
The tours will let the public get a behind the scenes look into the inner workings of the businesses who have made their home in this versatile area of the city. Divided into manufacturing, food, catering and creative, each business uses their window of time during the tour to show off what they have accomplished and what they have to offer consumers. The tour will include information, demonstrations and the chance to interact with business owners, witness production methods and sample some of the city’s finest product and services.
“Strathcona has enjoyed steady and impressive growth as an attractive option for business owners looking to set up shop,” said Joji Kumagai, Executive Director of the Strathcona Business Improvement Association. “That said, many are unaware of the volume and caliber of business and hospitality offered here. The purpose of this campaign is to offer the public the rare opportunity to meet the business owners, artisans and market leaders that are made right here in Strathcona.”
While the area has typically been associated as one of the most historic residential communities, a unique combination of some of the Canada’s most well-known brands and up-and-coming talent have set up shop in Strathcona’s business hub.
“Strathcona is home to over 500 businesses and has been one of the most stable business communities in Vancouver for over a century,” Kumagai explained. “From established manufacturing companies to new creative agencies, we are seeing a modern mix of entrepreneurs planting their roots in Strathcona and thriving in the area.”
A taste test of the tours
We had a chance to visit five of the featured businesses participating in ‘the Made in Strathcona‘ tour on a much speedier version of what the public will be offered.
A.G.R.O. Roasters is an artisan specialty coffee roaster located at 550 Clark Drive. Their relaxed space offers patrons an ideal environment to take a break from the hectic city streets and enjoy a premium cup of coffee. Their walls are adorned with projected images of farmers in Kenya that the Roast Master and CEO, Blake Hanacek, had the opportunity to build lasting positive relationships with.
Housing one of the only coffee roasters in East Vancouver, attendees will be treated to a private roasting session during the tour while being offered taste tests and an informative Coffee 101 lecture. Their light roast blend is a divine combination of nutty tones with a warm chocolate aroma – who would have guessed that this coffee was roasted right here in East Van!
Next stop on our mini tour is what can only be described as a gourmand’s fantasy play space. Behind the white walls of 620 Clark Drive, lie the immense and truly impressive kitchen of The Butler Did It Catering Co. Their kitchen is a breathtaking assembly of gadgets. The sheer quantity and size required to fill every necessity of bringing meals for thousands of people together every day is exactly as impressive as it sounds. To those working in a restaurant, it may appear slightly less impressive, except of course for the variety of tools and the spectacular “Big Red,” a massive cherry red rotisserie oven.
During the tour they will be offering taste tests of their vast menu as well as touring the facility and introducing the head chefs.
A short walk to the next stop leads us to 1295 Frances Street and the home of House of Doors and Yew Woodshop. A collaborative partnership of multiple businesses with a common interest in working with wood. Leading you past the showroom and into the workshop, visitors will be given a tour of the facilities creative space and introduced to their lead craftsmen.
The facility boasts an impressive reputation for creating 90 per cent of their projects with reclaimed wood, the remnants from demolition and remodeling. A walk along the samples of their latest findings shows pieces coming from old buildings all over the lower mainland. Using the reclaimed wood not only bodes well for reducing the number of trees cut down, it also lends a sense of history to the pieces created.
Although probably in one of the most inconvenienced locations by the Powell Street construction and closure, Christine Lingerie is a sophisticated and stunning treat for the senses. Located at 821 Powell Street, their showroom, head office and design studio are littered with flowy rolls of silk in every shade and pattern.
They are the first line of silk lingerie designed and manufactured in Canada. Christine’s lingerie is carried in high-end boutiques and luxury department stores. Customers from around the globe and celebrities such as Oprah, Catherine Zeta Jones, Gwyneth Paltrow, Diana Krall, Christina Hendricks and Katie Holmes continue to collect her unique and beautiful garments. They are also an incredibly popular supplier for movie wardrobe essentials.
The last place on our tour as well as the location of the reception, is Belgard Kitchen and Vancouver Urban Winery housed in the Settlement Building at 55 Dunlevy Avenue. Tour guests will be treated to a wine tasting and a sampling of the gourmet offerings of Chef Reuben Major. An ideal end to this unique experience.
The Made in Strathcona tours will encompass four unique categories of tours hosted on two days, between 1 to 3 p.m. Following the afternoon tours the Strathcona Business Improvement Association invites the public to enjoy some of the best food and beverage companies and meet some of the residing businesses from the area at The Settlement Building for a reception.
On Saturday, May 31, the tours will showcase Strathcona’s manufacturing companies and the city’s hidden gems, including:
- Boardroom ECO Apparel
- Special Screencraft Printers
- YEW Woodshop
- The Vinegar Factory
- Wiens Studios
- Shop Wrong
On June 7, The Made in Strathcona Tours incorporate the themes of Food, Catering and Creative, showcasing local businesses including:
- A.G.R.O. Roasters
- The Butler Did It Catering Co.
- Pacific Restaurant Supply
- Propellor Design
- Eclipse Awards
- Christine Lingerie
Visit www.madeinstrathcona.com for more information about the Made in Strathcona tour dates, businesses participating and spaces available for lease in the Strathcona neighbourhood.
To get tickets, visit www.madeinstrathcona.eventbrite.ca.
Photography by Angie Holubowich @angholu
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