Akiyo and Nathan Lowey opened Dosanko restaurant in July of 2017. Located at 566 Powell Street, Dosanko serves a selection of home-style, seasonally inspired yōshoku and classic Hokkaido plates with an emphasis on fresh housemade ingredients and a mottainai or “no waste” philosophy. With Akiyo’s experience with authentic Japanese cooking and Nathan’s formal culinary training, the duo opened Dosanko to share their passion and food with the world.
What inspired you to open this restaurant?
My husband and chef, Nathan, has over 15 years of experience specializing in French and Italian cuisine. He mentioned that one day he wanted to open a restaurant, but we didn’t know what kind of restaurant. I made homestyle Japanese meals, and posted photos of the meals on social media, and people started to ask where they could get this food. Nathan said that it tasted like it was made by the Japanese grandmother he never had. That inspired us to open a Japanese homestyle restaurant.
Why did you choose to open your restaurant in Strathcona?
We looked at other areas in Vancouver, but the space here was ready to move into and we liked the space. Everywhere else in Vancouver was also very expensive. There is a lot of Japanese history on Powell Street, so it feels right to have our restaurant in this area.
What are the main opportunities and challenges being located in Strathcona?
Most of the time it’s pretty good around here. The people around here care about each other and watch out for each other. We are pretty centrally located – not quite downtown, but central enough that a lot of people can access us easily. It’s hard to get this kind of space downtown. But there are still challenges in the area.
How do you interact with the surrounding community?
We try to be kind to everyone and encourage people to be kind to others. When we moved in here, we didn’t want to be a snotty restaurant that moved into the area. We are a part of this community just as much as everyone else here is.
Last summer the restaurant had to close for several months due to a building fire. What kind of support did you receive from the community?
We had a lot of support from the community. A friend of ours gave us the idea to start a GoFundMe fundraiser where we were able to raise $10,000 for our staff. We sponsored our staff for working visas so we used that money to pay our staff during our closure. The support from the community helped a lot.
Is there anything you want the community to know about you that they might not know?
On Tuesday nights we have Jazz nights, where we have live Jazz musicians play during dinner service. (Check Dosanko’s website for more information and dates)
Visit Dosanko Restaurant for amazing authentic food and a great atmosphere. Located at 566 Powell St.
Jonathan Simkin founded 604 Records alongside Chad Kroeger, the frontman of Canadian rock band Nickelback just over 20 years ago. Jonathan has been Nickelback’s lawyer for almost 30 years. With a shared interest in working with and producing Canadian bands together, 604 Records was born.
Jonathan has been the president of 604 Records since its inception. With 28 artists currently signed to 604 Records, including some huge names like Carly Rae Jepsen and Marianas Trench, 604 Records produces an endless amount of talent, right here within Strathcona.
How did 604 Records end up in Strathcona?
We bought this building 8 years ago and have been here since. The zoning in Strathcona allowed us to have a space where we could combine production and office space which is ideal. The building had the right bones for what we wanted to build.
Do you have any local Strathcona musicians signed to 604 Records?
We’re called 604 records because we support local artists. We have a self-imposed mandate to support local west coast based artists. We do work with artists that are from and live in the nearby area, although not all artists signed to 604 are from BC.
How do you interact with the community or other local businesses?
We put on a festival last summer where we blocked off our street and had bands performing on outdoor stages and had local sponsors, and we hope to host it every other year. It was really great and we love to do stuff like that. We’ve also had bands perform at Makerlabs before.
What are the main opportunities and challenges in having a business in Strathcona?
I love the neighbourhood and I’ve known it forever. I grew up in Vancouver so I do like the neighbourhood even with the challenges. It’s attracted a variety of businesses and it attracts young business owners which creates a lot of opportunities. I believe in the area. The general look and feel of the neighbourhood has improved. Every time a new business goes in I get excited, because I would love this to be a more viable neighbourhood, and I think we’re getting there.
The biggest challenge is probably security, which has been an ongoing struggle that has changed in the time that we have been here. There are instances where people are using drugs on our property and leaving needles behind, which is hard to deal with when trying to keep this a safe space for staff. There are also issues with graffiti, and it’s great that the BIA has the graffiti removal service, but it is still disheartening to have the building be defaced so often, when we try to make an effort to make it a nice space.
When you envision the future of Strathcona, what do you see?
The dream would be to attract more interesting businesses, more retail, more restaurants. It would be the most amazing thing to have it be a very vibrant and artsy neighbourhood. When I lived in Toronto, there was this neighbourhood called Liberty Village, and it reminds me a lot of Strathcona. When I was living there, it didn’t feel the safest, but now it has transformed to have a lot of creative and entertainment businesses. It would be nice to see Strathcona follow a similar pattern.
What would you like to see more from Strathcona BIA?
For me, it’s about improving security issues, and creating an environment where when you do run into graffiti or someone is using drugs on your property, that there is some effective way of responding to that. The Strathcona Community Safety Service has been a great help with this, because when I call they show up and actually help. Having them patrol into the later hours of the evening would be an even greater help.
To find out more about 604 Records, visit their website
Fari Maghami is a pastor at Coastal Church, lives in the neighbourhood with his wife and two kids, and is an important part of Coastal Eden Cafe.
Coastal Eden Cafe opened a few months before the Covid-19 pandemic arose. Through the trying times of navigating the pandemic and opening a cafe in the downtown eastside, Coastal Eden Cafe became a pillar of community support.
As a social enterprise, Eden Cafe aims to better the neighbourhood by creating jobs for individuals who might otherwise be excluded from the workforce due to their past struggles with addictions and/or lack of experience. Eden Cafe also provides an intentionally hospitable and welcoming space that fosters a healthy community for all people.
Why did you decide to open Eden Cafe?
Coffee shops can set an atmosphere for a certain area. We wanted to create a place where people know your name, where they feel cared for, where they can come in regardless of their struggles. We have all kinds of people that come in where everyone can enjoy the space and be themself.
What is the biggest opportunity of having this cafe in the DTES?
People in the area come here to find resources and get the right direction. People come in here feeling very low, having struggles with addiction, having issues with getting employment, etc. But here, people can come and not be judged. The staff here know that they’re not just here to provide good food and good coffee, but to provide care as well.
We also have a transitional employment and training program. This 3-6 month program is for people that have barriers getting back into the workforce. For example, people that have had issues with addiction in the past, trouble with the law, or mental health issues. This is a great opportunity to provide employment.
What does community support mean to you?
Community support would be not just having one person, but having several people that are in your circle of support. The way we see support is holistic: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual – that’s the way we try to help people. We connect people. If there are people struggling with mental illness, we would try and see if they have a mental health worker or doctor they could see. We connect people with areas, with organizations, or help them get an application for BC housing, as well as inviting them to church and getting them connected to a greater community.
What does community safety mean to you?
Community safety is one in which we care and watch out for one another. People speaking up to support each other. If a situation appears to be getting out of hand, we lean toward de-escalation to support our neighbours. The more love and kindness and compassion there is by everyone in the community, that will have a ripple effect of reducing violence.
What are some of your favourite parts of having Eden Cafe?
The people, the community. Seeing the joy on peoples faces when people are coming in and connecting with old friends. People use this space as a meeting place which is amazing to see. We love to see our regulars and hear stories. We love hearing success stories of people in recovery. Ultimately we’re here to help people and help draw them close to God, when you hear those stories it feels good.
Visit Coastal Eden Cafe for delicious food, great coffee, and a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Located at 643 E Hastings St.
Creative Others, located in Makerlabs at 780 E Cordova, is a collective of multi-skilled professionals, ranging from disciplines such as architecture, marketing strategy, digital and physical design and content creation, all working under one umbrella to ensure a seamless experience for their clients.
Starting out originally as Creative Troy, Troy McNamara wanted to expand his creative endeavor to the many talented and multi-skilled people he knew, and thus, Creative Others was born. The concept has been around for a few years, but it was officially launched one year ago this month.
How Creative Others came to be
Troy was working as a freelancer as “Creative Troy.” With a background in architecture and growing up working with his hands, he always enjoyed bringing art into physical production. Troy started to venture out into the more creative realm of brand design and marketing. Troy had a network of friends that were multi-skilled in web design, copywriting, photography, metal fabrication, graphic design – you name it. There were always others involved in his work, and that’s how the name Creative Others came to be.
Starting a creative business
Troy always wanted the creative freedom to make decisions. As a business owner, it’s a lot of work and responsibility, but to create an environment where creatives can collaborate and thrive is so important. Many people working in the creative industries don’t value themselves as much as they should, and many are on the neurodiverse spectrum. Troy got frustrated that creatives were struggling personally and financially, and wanted to build a brand that creatives from differing backgrounds could get involved in.
Working in Strathcona
Strathcona has a start-up mentality and “get it done” attitude. People know how to work hard here and it’s inspiring. Each building and business is unique, there isn’t a heavy urban vibe. It’s a great place for creatives to work.
Business support in Strathcona
Creative Others is currently building out a course dedicated to helping small to medium sized businesses. This course will show them how to optimize their online presence, improve their SEO, set up google ads and more so that businesses in the area can thrive. Additionally, the doors are always open at Makerlabs to come by for a tour of the people and businesses that operate in this building. If you ever want to drop by to say hi and meet some incredibly talented people, Makerlabs is the place to be!
Online at creativeothers.co, @creativeothers.co on Instagram, and in person at Makerlabs.
This is Maddles Made.
A Strathcona-based designer and maker whose business it is to sew, craft and design out of her studio at Maker Labs in Strathcona.
She sells fun, handmade wears like earrings, jewelry, textiles, homewares and fashion items playing with bright colours, fabrics, fuzzy textures and up-cycled material.
You can find Maddles Made in-store at Awen Haus or online via her website maddlesmade.com
Tell us a little bit about your brand and what you do.
I’m a hybrid designer-maker-artist-
How did your love for creating begin and when did you decide to turn your passion into a business?
I’ve always loved creating, I’m just one of those people that always needs to keep their hands moving! I’ve been selling my work on the side on and off for years, but my business got more serious when I moved to Vancouver from Australia and got my studio in Strathcona. The community here is supportive and encouraging of the things I make, which really fuels my creativity.
Where in Strathcona are you based and what makes this neighbourhood special to you?
I have a small 90-square-foot studio inside the MakerLabs building. It’s been such a fun process to build out my space exactly to my needs over the years (no space is wasted). I have two industrial sewing machines in my space, a desk, computer, an ironing station and overflowing tubs of fabric and colourful supplies. The community here is great, I’ve made many wonderful friends who inspire me daily and I love having access to all the communal workshops and tools. Outside of MakerLabs I love the Strathcona area, there are many fun shops, bars and places to get snacks. I regularly go for little walks through the neighbourhood when I need to take a break from sewing or making.
How does your work impact the community?
The MaddlesMade brand is all about fun. I like to make pieces that make people feel happy when they use them. I believe wearing or interacting with items that have bright colours or fun textures can have a positive impact on people’s emotions – especially when you’re in the depths of a grey rainy Vancouver winter.
Where can we find you?
Online at www.maddlesmade.com or @maddlesmade on Instagram.
My products are also stocked in The Nooks in Gastown and Awen Haus (the in-house artist store we have at MakerLabs).
Shop local in Strathcona this holiday.
The holidays are here! It’s that wonderful time of year when you can put your gift-giving dollars into local businesses.
Looking for the perfect gift for your partner or co-worker, friend, or family member? You’ll find a variety of unique gifts right here in Strathcona.
We’ve put together a perfectly curated list that includes a wonderful arrangement of gifts to suit your needs and budget.
Check out our Strathcona Holiday Gift Guide for every personality below.
Clothing & Accessories
Let one of these Strathcona catering companies take over the cooking for your holiday parties or winter gatherings.
We’re so lucky to have a plethora of amazing catering companies working right here in Strathcona. Getting ready to plan your holiday dinners and gathering but don’t want to cook? Let one of these delicious businesses take on the heavy lifting and impress your guests at the same time.
You’ll find a range of unique bites from all of the businesses listed below – keep reading to discover 5 Strathcona catering companies to consider this holiday.
With holiday season around the corner, trust Railtown for all of your catering needs!
Whether you are planning a party with friends, a long-awaited office celebration, or are looking for a stress free holiday dinner for the family, Railtoen Caters has memorable and delicious offerings to make your celebration the highlight of the year.
Choose from a selection of canapes, platters and seasonal menus suitable for all of your entertainment needs.
Nothing tastes better than market-fresh produce, locally farmed meats and sustainably sourced seafood. Fresh, local and seasonal ingredients in every dish – and Savoury Chef is dedicated to featuring the very best that B.C. has to offer.
From carefully planning, tasting and custom-creating menus with each client to offering connections to a network of industry partners and event resources, Savoury Chef is a true one-stop shop, as well as a preferred catering vendor to a number of Vancouver’s premier event venues.
See what they have to offer this season for holiday meals.
Cocktails & Canapes
Cocktails & Canapés specialize in creating a one-of-a-kind innovative experience. With an abundance of catering services and menus and no shortage of creativity, they bring something special to the table every time.
Offering canapés, fine-plated menus, family style meals, graze menus and more you’ll find everything you need for a unique holiday meal right here.
Yardie Grabz specializes in homestyle grab & go Jamaican food – from Jamaican Patties to BBQ Jerk Chicken, Oxtail Stew & much more! Sticking to their Caribbean roots, their love for homestyle and natural foods remains.
Cooking with halal meats, fresh produce and traditional Jamaican spices and herbs Yardie Grabz uses the freshest and most natural ingredients.
Searching for tasty food to compliment a team lunch, holiday gathering or festive meal? Yardie Grabz provides catering for all clients of any size and circumstance.
Vancouver has so many great places to grab a cup – here are the best coffee shops in Strathcona.
Strathcona is filled with exceptional coffee roasters and cozy cafes serving up great cups of coffee with incredible ambiance. Here you can find everything from in-house roasters to perfectly pulled espresso to the loveliest of latte art. It’s truly a coffee connoisseur’s dream *insert heart-eye emojis here*.
Some of Vancouver’s best coffee shops live in the heart of Strathcona. We’re proud to have almost a dozen unique and inviting cafes in our little neighbourhood alone. You will find exceptional blends and delicious aromas from locally-owned coffee shops and cafes. Each space represents a little piece of the heart and soul of Strathcona.
However, it doesn’t stop there. If java isn’t your thing, rest assured you can find plenty of delicious snacks, lunch items, teas, and tonics as well – something for everyone!
Here’s a full list of Strathcona’s best places to find coffee and more.
From the folks behind the former Gastown coffee stand Iktsuarpok Coffee Stand, Oidé Coffee took over the old Agro Roasters on Clark Drive this past Spring. According to their Instagram, they are still in their soft opening phase however you can still enjoy delicious coffee, teas and baked goods from Thursday to Sunday.
550 Clark Dr.
Thurs – Sun: 10am – 4pm
Mon – Wed: Closed
Coastal Eden Cafe
They consider themselves more than a cafe. Eden is a social enterprise dedicated to providing the DTES with great coffee and food. They strive to provide a welcoming space for people from all walks of life.
643 East Hastings Street
Hours: Mon – Thurs: 8am – 4:30pm
Sat: 8am – 2pm
The Garden Strathcona
The Garden is top of the list for aesthetically pleasing cafes in Strathcona. Aside from delicious coffee they also have amazing food, a curated retail section, and an entire banquet space that is rentable to the public.
868 E Hastings St.
Hours: Mon – Sun: 9 am – 4 pm
Pallet Coffee Roasters
There are few calmer vibes than the ones you experience walking into Pallet Coffee’s Strathcona location. High ceilings and wonderful daytime light make this Powell St. cafe one of our favourites to sit and stay awhile. You can also score their locally roasted beans to take home or order them online.
395 Alexander St.
Hours: Mon – Fri: 8 am – 3 pm
Sat – Sunday: Closed
Rise Up Marketplace
Rise Up Marketplace is a wonderful community gathering place where neighbourhood folks pop by for morning pick-me-up or come to settle in for a quiet lunch break. You can find freshly baked goods, yummy lunch specials, and of course a fine cup of coffee.
704 Vernon Dr.
Hours: Mon – Fri: 9 am – 6pm
Sat – Sun: 9 am – 4 pm
Considered a micro-roastery Prototype is a unique space where you can find a perfectly designed roasting bar and brewing station all in one. The result is one fantastic cup of coffee. You’ll also find take-home beans, cold brews and best waffle-donut hybrid treat.
883 Hastings St.
Hours: Mon – Fri: 8 am – 4 pm
Sat – Sun: 9 am – 5 pm
This quaint little coffee cart lives in Strathcona but can be found at various farmer’s markets, parks and events throughout the city serving hand-pulled espresso and a variety of tea-based drinks.
Various locations and times
Upon entering the Railtown Cafe the inviting smells of home-cooked comfort food will instantly tell you that this is so much more than a coffee shop. Serving local Moja beans Railtown Cafe is also not a place to sleep on when it comes to a coffee. We just recommend you arrive hungry.
397 Railway St.
Hours: Mon – Fri: 8 am – 6 pm
Sat – Sun: 10 am – 4 pm
Trick or Treat? Halloween Hop returns to Strathcona 🎃
It’s that time of year! The Strathcona Community Policing Centre and RayCam Co-operative Centre, in partnership with Strathcona BIA, will be hosting the third annual Halloween Hop in Strathcona. Several of our local businesses will be handing out candy to trick-or-treaters in the 800 Block of East Hastings from 3:30pm to 5pm on October 31 Halloween Day.
Join Strathcona’s most colourful block for a fun and spooky afternoon! This event is free to attend and all are welcome. The Strathcona Halloween Hop walking route starts at RayCam Co-operative Centre at Campbell Ave and East Hastings St. Enjoy treats provided by local businesses, a photo booth, and an activity zone with fun for the whole family.
It’s the perfect event to kick off your Halloween festivities! We hope to see you there.