Is it one of your new year’s resolutions to try and incorporate more plant-based foods into your routine? Maybe ‘Meatless Mondays’ is a common occurrence in your household?
Whether you are a veteran in the plant-based space or new to testing the waters of an all-plant diet we’ve got some incredible companies who make some of the best cruelty-free goodies in the city.
These businesses make their products right here in Strathcona, so supporting local is also a box you can tick off of your resolution list.
Keep reading for the deets on three companies making plant-based products in Strathcona.
Lita’s Mexican Foods is a family-owned business with a passion for recreating authentic Mexican meals, snacks, and desserts into easy-to-prepare, plant-based foods. They offer tasty products like taquitos, traditional flour tortillas, and taco kits that are so delicious you’ll barely miss meat-based products.
You can find their offerings in several grocery stores throughout Western Canada. Visit their website for a store location near you.
Sunrise Soya Foods was founded in 1956 by Leslie and Susan Joe after immigrating to Vancouver and recognizing a demand for tofu in Vancouver’s Chinese community. From their humble beginnings making small batches of fresh tofu in the back of their grocery store, Sunrise Market, to a company who employs over 200 people, Sunrise Tofu is a staple in Canadian households for good reason. They were one of the first companies committed to exclusively using non-GMO soybeans in their products so it’s safe to say you’re getting the best tofu possible when purchasing from this brand.
Available at most major grocers across Canada, you can visit their website for a retailer near you.
Going plant-based and wondering the answer to that crucial question: what about chocolate? Most popular chocolate brands contain milk products but Living Lotus Chocolates won’t have you missing the dairy one bit. How does Raspberry Dark Chocolate, Chocolate Chai Brownies or an assortment of Ganache sound? We thought so.
Visit their website for a list of retailers or to place an order for delivery.Read More
Vancouver BIA’s are partnering with the Mayor’s office to give back to the community through the #StockJoy charity gift auction.
Fourteen neighbourhoods have curated incredible stockings full of unique gifts featuring the distinct flavours, goods, and services from local businesses in their district.
The stockings are being auctioned off until December 20 in support of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. It’s a special way to bring joy to a loved one (or yourself!), support local businesses, and give back to a worthy cause this holiday season.
Head to the Vancouver BIA Partnership auction website to view the stockings. When you’re ready to place your bid, you’ll be asked to register. If you are the winning bidder you’ll be contacted on December 21st and provided with your #StockJoy holiday stocking.
Here’s what you’ll find in the Strathcona Dreamers and Makers stocking.
Strathcona is where makers come to fulfill their dreams. Our diverse community is home to makers of all kinds working hard to share their wonderful gifts with the world. From craft breweries to jewelry makers you’ll find that there’s something for everyone. Enjoy our #StockJoy holiday stocking with the following items, totaling over $250 in value:
– Strathcona Beer T-shirt
– Dosanko Koji Salt
– Container Brewing Mug
– Pallet Coffee Roasters Benchmark Coffee Beans
– 3 Living Lotus Chocolate bean-to-bar Chocolate Bars
– Dream Catcher by Swallow from Enterprising Women Making Art
– Necklace by Grace Machine from Enterprising Women Making Art
– Tea Towels from Flax Home
– $50 gift card to Liquids & Solids
– $30 gift card to Rise Up Marketplace
From all the participating small business communities, thank you for supporting local.
Yardie Grabz is Strathcona’s newest ghost kitchen making up delicious homestyle Jamaican food.
Their name combines “Yardie”, meaning Jamaican diaspora, and “Grabz” for their grab-and-go style foods. Yardie Grabz is located in a commissary kitchen in the heart of Strathcona offering authentic and homecooked dishes – like patties, oxtail, and jerk chicken – for curbside pickup, delivery, and catering.
We spoke to Dimitri, the founder and head-chef of Yardie Grabz, about his unique offerings for the city and the impact he makes as a Black business owner in Strathcona.
Read our interview below and place your Yardi Grabz orders at yardiegrabz.ca
Can you tell us a little bit about your products?
We make classic Jamaican grab & go street food with a homestyle approach. From Jamaican Patties, Jerk Chicken to Oxtail, everything is handcrafted and made from scratch. We ensure we use only fresh quality local ingredients, halal and/or organic meats for every product, as we treat our customers and clients as if ourselves or our families are eating our food.
How did you begin your journey with cooking and how did you decide to turn your craft into a business?
Ever since I was a kid I’ve been a foodie and loved pastries, baked goods and anything sweet and savoury. My passion for cooking started when I was younger and I worked part-time jobs in the food industry when I was in high school and university. Throughout that time I worked my way up in positions and met a lot of cooks and chefs on the way that have influenced my style in cooking.
Yardie Grabz came to be from a craving for Jamaican Patties that I had during the COVID-19 lockdown. I wanted a patty so badly, but could not find any in Vancouver that truly represented the taste that I knew growing up. I came up with a recipe and tried cooking it for myself. I made them and posted them on social media, and from that moment family, friends and strangers started to message me if I could make patties for them. From then it’s only gone forward.
Where in Strathcona are you based and what makes this neighbourhood special to you?
We’re based at 266 Raymur Avenue. It’s a cool neighbourhood because it is very industrial. The building we work directly in has multiple businesses around us, of different kinds. So it’s great to be working around creative and hard-working individuals in the community. It definitely adds to the fuel of the hustle.
What kind of impact does your cooking have on the community?
I believe we impact the community in a positive and tasty way! We’re a go-to spot for locals in the East Van area and as well as Caribbean/African residents of Vancouver. As they too, had challenges to find authentic food that represents their culture and what they regularly eat.
We’re one of the very few Black-owned businesses in Strathcona, and one of the only few Jamaican food production companies in Vancouver – and the Lower Mainland at that. So It’s a blessing to merge my two cultural identities of Canada and Jamaica through food service while putting smiles on people’s faces.
How can we get our hands on some of your food?
You can find our products on our website www.yardiegrabz.ca
We provide wholesale service, catering and takeout and delivery on Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays.
Our Jamaican Patties can also be found at our great vendors at New Amsterdam Cafe, Tony’s Coffee and Rise Up Marketplace (another great business in Strathcona.) We plan to provide our Jamaican Patties throughout more stores in Strathcona and throughout Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, so be on the lookout for that. Any newly info can always be found our Instagram/Website @yardiegrabz or yardiegrabz.ca
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The holiday season has arrived and we’re so excited to share about some of Strathcona’s upcoming holiday markets and December events.
We hope everyone is getting into the holiday spirit, ready to take in the season, and of course, do a little extra gifting and shopping from local businesses.
What’s coming up?
Whether you’re looking for a laid-back night of live music in a quaint space or a holiday market to stock up on gifts we’ve got a list of what’s going on in Strathcona this month.
Strathcona Holiday Market
December 4 – 5 from 11am to 5pm
700 & 800 Block East Hastings St. Various retail stores.
A group of Strathcona businesses in the 700 & 800 Blocks of East Hastings are coming together to bring you a one-of-a-kind holiday market. New shops in the neighbourhood like Flourist, Flax Home and Pure Shoppe are teaming up with Strathcona favourites like Picnics and Poetry and Strathcona Beer to offer a chance to shop local brands and studio art, with a dose of festive cheer. Lots of brands will also be popping up for the weekend featuring clothing, homewares, jewelry, ceramics, baking goods and more, covering all of your holiday and personal shopping needs. Visit Flax Home on Instagram for more info.
Awen Haus Holiday Market
December 11 – 12 from 11am to 6pm
780 E. Cordova St. (MakerLabs)
There is so much to discover at Awen Haus, Strathcona’s latest collective of makers, artisans, and crafters. They are coming together to showcase their products under one roof at MakerLabs for a Holiday Market on December 11 – 12. Think unique handmade gifts, accessories, decor and more with raffles prizes and holiday drinks. A full list of retailers will be available soon. Visit awenhaus.ca for updated vendor info and more.
Live Music at VV Tapas Lounge
Various evenings from 7 – 9pm
957 E Hastings St.
Wine, tapas and live music from local musicians – what could be better! VV Tapas Lounge has started adding live music to their offerings and it’s well worth spending a night out with them. Visit @vv.tapaslounge on Instagram for upcoming events.
Luppolo Brewing Live Music Night
Wednesdays from 7 – 9pm
1123 Venables St.
Wednesday’s at Luppolo Brewing you’re not only welcome to stop by for some of the best pizza in the neighborhood but you can also catch a variety of live musicians from 7 – 9pm. Visit Luppolo on Instagram to see what’s coming up.
Laugh’s at LanaLous
362 Powell St.
On any given night you can find something special happening at LanaLous. A regular spot to catch night-after-night of comedy but you can also find a variety of live music and band perfomances. For more information on upcoming events visit LanaLous on Facebook.
Strathcona is home to many socially-minded organizations that work year-round to support our community members.
Consider giving back to one of the organizations below and make a huge impact this holiday season.
We’re inspired by #GivingTuesday, a global generosity moment that follows Black Friday and puts a positive focus on some of the world’s most giving organizations.
There are so many incredible community organizations in this neighbourhood making a difference for those in need in our community. It’s important to support them year-round, but in particular during the winter months we encourage our audience to give a little extra where you can.
The number of great community-serving organizations in Vancouver and in and around Strathcona means there are a lot of opportunities to make a difference with your dollars, especially during the holidays.
If you’re looking for a local organization to donate to this year take a look at the places below that are doing amazing work to serve those in need in our community. Click on the organization names to learn more about their missions.
- note that this is not an exhaustive list and if you think another local organization should be added to this list, please get in touch with us!
Atira Women's Resource Society
Atira Women’s Resource Society is dedicated to supporting women and children affected by violence by offering safe and supportive housing and by delivering education and advocacy aimed at ending all forms of gendered violence. Donate here.
Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House
Mission: To provide opportunities for residents to meaningfully engage with and contribute to their community in an equitable atmosphere of sharing and learning. To provide a dignified welcoming space that creates and supports an improved quality of life for the DTES community. Donate here.
Embers Eastside Works
Our mission is to create economic and employment opportunities for people living on low incomes. Over the past 18 years, EMBERS has helped thousands of people facing barriers to work lead productive, fulfilling lives. Donate here.
H.A.V.E Culinary Training Society
HAVE Culinary Training Society is a culinary training school that provides food service job training and work opportunities to individuals in Vancouver who experience barriers to employment. HAVE students are youth and adults facing mental and physical disabilities, poverty, addiction and homelessness.
Lookout Health and Housing Society
Lookout Health and Housing Society provide housing and a range of support services to adults with low or no income who have few, if any, housing or support options. Because the people we serve have challenges meeting basic needs and goals, we place minimal barriers between them and our services. Donate here.
Mission Possible supports individuals who are challenged with poverty to navigate their journey to a sustainable livelihood. We do this through supporting individuals with employment training and individual coaching in our Employment Readiness Program, and through offering supportive, transitional work opportunities in our social enterprises. Donate here.
Union Gospel Mission
UGM is determined to restore the God-given dignity of people by sharing and demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ, providing without discrimination:
- Meals, shelter, outreach and chaplaincy services that relieve suffering and renew hope
- Life recovery programs that offer freedom from addictive lifestyles
- Education and job preparation that equip for successful living
- Affordable housing that fosters community and personal contribution
- Preventative programs that build healthy families
Vancouver Aboriginal Health Society
Located in the Downtown Eastside, Vancouver Aboriginal Health Society’s mission is to improve and promote the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of individuals, focusing on the urban Indigenous community in Metro Vancouver. Donate here.
Watari Counselling & Support Services Society
Our mission is to facilitate meaningful change and provide a bridge to healthier possibilities through innovative, community driven and supportive programming. Community programs include the Individualized Community Outreach Program, S.T.A.R. Program for Kids, Migrant-to-Migrant, and Community Addicitions Counselling Team, among many others. Donate here.
WISH Drop-In Centre Society
Mission: To improve the health, safety and well-being of women who are involved in Vancouver’s street-based sex trade. Critical services and resources WISH provides, include its 24-hour drop-in centre where they serve over 9000 meals a month, its emergency shelter, its Mobile Access Project Van, as well as capacity-building programs. Donate here.
Living Lotus Chocolate specializes in decadent bean-to-bar chocolate, made in Strathcona, Vancouver.
Living Lotus Chocolate is the maker of bean-to-bar chocolate using ethically sourced ingredients. All of their products are made from organic ingredients and are refined sugar and gluten-free.
We spoke to Audrey, the founder of Living Lotus Chocolate about her bean-to-bar method and how her products make an impact on the chocolate industry. Read our interview below and visit livinglotus.net to learn more about her products.
Can you tell us a little bit about the bean to bar chocolate method and your products?
Bean to bar chocolate is chocolate that is made straight from the cacao bean. We take the cacao beans that have been through the post harvest processes in their native country and crack, winnow, grind and mold them into chocolate. We use beans that have been ethically sourced, procure organic and local ingredients and use coconut sugar as a sweetener. We have three standard bars in 70% Arriba Nacional Dark, 57% Oat Milk, and Blonde (Vegan White) Chocolate. We do limited releases and over the holidays we will have a Raspberry Dark chocolate bar and Mocha chocolate bar composed of Oat milk chocolate and coffee.
How did you begin your journey with chocolate and how did you decide to turn your craft into a business?
Where in Strathcona are you based and what makes this neighbourhood special to you?
We are located on Cordova street between Hawks and Heatley but we don’t have a storefront. If you go South on Hawks to Keefer four blocks you’ll bump into McLean Park. My father’s family had a house on Keefer before that park was built and my grandfather had a shoe repair shop on Main Street back in the day.
How does the bean to bar chocolate method make an impact?
We’ve always been a vegan company, and by adding bean to bar chocolate we get to source from the farmers who take so much care and attention to the cacao trees, harvesting, and fermenting the beans. This ensures we are truly a cruelty-free company.
Where can we find your products?
Our products can be found online at www.livinglotus.net
Dine Strathcona returns November 17 to 30
Show support for Strathcona’s small businesses while raising funds for HAVE Culinary Training Society.
The Strathcona BIA is bringing back Dine Strathcona from November 17 to November 30. The neighbourhood’s beloved independent restaurants, cafés, and breweries are once again coming together to offer a lineup of specialty and favourite menu items to raise money in support of vulnerable community members within Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
First launched in 2019, the two-week community festival invites locals and visitors to savour special promotional dishes at several food and drink hotspots in the vibrant neighbourhood, including The Mackenzie Room, Superflux, Strathcona Beer Company, Dosanko and The Garden Strathcona. 19 businesses will be participating in this year’s event and $5 from the sale of each Dine Strathcona menu feature will be donated directly to the festival’s 2021 community partner, HAVE Culinary Training Society, with the goal to raise $5000.
Guided by a philosophy of Hope, Action, Values, and Ethics, HAVE Culinary Training Society is a not-for-profit organization that provides accessible food service training and employment opportunities to members of the community who face barriers to employment such as poverty, homelessness, addiction, and mental health challenges. Over the past 14 years they have successfully trained 1,200 students with over 75% of them gaining steady employment in the tourism and hospitality industry. Since March 2020, the kitchen at HAVE’s on-site café has been utilized to prepare over 1,000 meals per day for at-risk individuals who have experienced food insecurity due to the pandemic.
“For the third year in a row, the Dine Strathcona festival gives diners the chance to support a worthy cause while discovering the incredible culinary talents and community spirit that make Strathcona such a unique and special neighbourhood,” says Johanna Lauyanto, Manager, Communications & Sustainability at the SBIA. “The money raised during this year’s event will provide funding to enroll new students in HAVE’s culinary training program and help secure job placements for new graduates in Metro Vancouver restaurants.”
In a short video produced by the Strathcona BIA, HAVE’s Executive Director, Amber Anderson, shares about the life-changing impacts of their the programming and the positive ripple effects that are made throughout the community as a result.
This year’s Dine Strathcona participating locations and featured dishes:
Coastal Eden Cafe
643 E Hastings St │ Mon-Fri 8am-4:30pm │Sat 8am-2pm
Mortadella Sandwhich $8.95
Thinly sliced mortadella, pickled egg plant, fresh basil and arugula, mustard, & spicy mayo on focaccia bread drizzled with virgin olive oil
Dine in or order for pickup or delivery through Uber Eats.
1216 Franklin St │ Food Hours Tue-Thu 3pm-8pm │ Fri 3pm-9pm │Sat 1pm-9pm
Chicken Parm Sandwich $12.50
Tomato sauce, house-made basil (or spicy) mayo, parmesan and mozzarella cheese on a toasted potato bun
Dine in during Burdy Food Truck hours. Brewery hours are Sun-Thur 2pm-10pm, Fri 2pm-late, Sat & Sun 12pm-late.
338 Powell St │ Wed-Fri 10am-4pm │ Sat & Sun 10am-5pm
Pour Over plus 40g of wholebean coffee $7.50
Feature coffee comes from a Colombian farm owned by farmer Luz Dary, part of Harken’s Wish Foundation series to support women farm owners
Dine in or order to go. Coffee beans available to order online.
Pallet Coffee Roasters
395 Alexander St │ Mon-Fri 8am-3pm
Pour Over plus a 100g of wholebean coffee $7.50
A pour over coffee made using one of Pallet’s specialty coffees (choose from a list of their current offerings), plus a sample of roasted coffee beans
Dine in or order to go. Coffee beans available to order online for pickup or delivery.
883 E Hastings St │ Mon-Fri 8am-4pm │ Sat & Sun 9am-5pm
Honduras Buena Vista (whole bean coffee) $18
Fresh and vibrant, showcasing notes of toffee, orange, and almond. Sourced in partnership with Honduran farmer Arlex Casco and the Honduran Coffee Alliance
Purchase at their cafe or order online through their website.
Strathcona Beer Company
895 E Hastings St │ Sun-Thu 12pm-9pm │ Fri & Sat 12pm-11pm (10pm last call)
Hawaiian Pizza $23.10
Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, Fior de Latte, Capicola, Pineapple, Jalapeno cream, Padano, and Pistacios
Dine in or order for pickup at 778-379-9050.
Superflux Beer Company
505 Clark Dr │ Sun-Tue 12 – 9pm │ Wed-Thur 12pm-10pm │ Fri-Sat 12pm-11pm
Napa Salad $13
Napa cabbage, gala apple, roasted carrots, radish, toasted pumpkin seeds, fresh herbs, with a ginger, organge & miso dressing
Dine Strathcona feature dish available for dine in only.
696 E Hastings St │ Sun-Thu 4pm- 11pm │ Fri-Sat 4pm-12am
Beef Burger $17
63 Acres organic house-made beef patty, house BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomato, red onion, dill pickles & spicy sriracha mayo, served with fries or house salad
Dine Strathcona feature dish available for dine in only.
Spooky season is upon us 🎃
We’re preparing for our second 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 3pm to 5pm on October 31 Halloween Day.
This event is free to attend and all are welcome. The Strathcona Halloween Hop walking route starts at RayCam Co-operative Centre at Campbell and East Hastings. Enjoy hot apple cider and trick-or-treat at local businesses along the way. The activity zone halfway along the route will have safe and fun entertainment for the whole family. It’s the perfect event to kick off your Halloween festivities!
Awesome Sauce Designs specializes in stained glass art and workshops.
Corinne Leroux is the owner of Awesome Sauce Designs operating out of MakerLabs in Strathcona. She offers quirky, handmade art pieces (available to order on her Etsy shop) and teaches regular classes on how to make your own stained glass art.
We stopped by her studio at 780 E Cordova St. to chat about her work and how she impacts her community – get to know Corinne below.
Tell us a little bit about your art and what you make.
I make stained glass art with a modern twist. I try and veer away from what people think of when they traditionally think of stained glass. My pieces focus on a more modern geometric style and the weird and whimsical.
How did you begin your journey with stained glass and how did you decide to turn your art into a business?
I’ve always been crafty and had many hobbies including learning to knit at the age of 6. Stained glass was one of many hobbies I tried, and I took a class at the Surrey Arts Centre in 2005, and then really loved it. I made more and more pieces and was giving them away to friends and family. I also had other things I was making – you can only have so much stained glass in your house – so I decided to combine all my hobbies into one business and start selling my work. This included things I had sewn, knit, greeting cards I designed, and stained glass, but eventually, the glass just took over all of it.
In 2015 after having lots of practice in the medium, and seeing that there were very limited places to learn this art, I started teaching stained glass classes in my studio.
Where in Strathcona are you based and what makes this neighbourhood special to you?
My studio is based out of MakerLabs. It’s a really creative space, filled with other makers, that I find inspiring just to be in. There’s always an energy here that makes me excited to work on my art. I also love all the history in this neighbourhood seeing all the colourful historic buildings as well as the newer murals that have been painted in the last few years. I think it adds to that creative energy that we have in MakerLabs.