Escape from Home – Vancouver

Jonny Bierman is a sustainable travel journalist and content creator from Vancouver, BC. He escaped from home on an urban getaway in his own backyard discovering Indigenous culture, history, art, and cuisine in the city he thought he knew. His urban getaway paired Indigenous adventure with art, culinary, and history for a perfect cultural connection.


Day 1:

Talaysay Talking Tree Tours

Stanley Park, traditionally known as Xwayxway (pronounced qwhy qwhy) is somewhere I’ve always ridden my bike through but never actually knew – that is until my Talking Trees Tour with Talaysay Tours. Learning about that area’s healing powers, medicinal qualities, spiritual significance, and it’s history as a gathering place and trading center brought me closer than ever to a place I enjoy often.

Our guide, Deanna, connected me with its elements and purpose in a way that’s hard to put into words. On just one walking path, we saw how paint can be made for art and different plants can be used for skincare, water filtration, medicine, food and food storage, and different grass and trees can be used for textiles–and this is in just one short walk! Vancouverites: you think you know Stanley Park? Not until you’ve done the Talaysay Tour’s Talking Trees Tour.


Bill Reid Gallery

After a beautiful walk in nature, venture to the nearby Bill Reid Gallery in downtown. This gallery is Canada’s only public art gallery dedicated to contemporary Indigenous art of the Northwest Coast and honours Bill Reid. Bill was a Haida artist who pieced together and saved much of the Haida art that was taken from his peoples in years past.


Salmon n’ Bannock Restaurant

Vancouver’s only Indigenous owned and operated restaurant is also rated #3 out of 2,522 restaurants in Vancouver on TripAdvisor. Salmon n’ Bannock is newly renovated and open July 31st for dine-in service. Tip: try the candied salmon, bannock flatbread, and take home a jar of cedar jelly!


Skwachays Gallery

Skwachays Lodge Interiors

Skwachays Lodge Hotel & Gallery is Vancouver’s only Indigenous hotel and doubles as an art gallery. While the hotel is currently closed, you are still able to check out the award-winning facility and gallery that hosts Indigenous artists in residence.

When the hotel is reopened, you’ll find beautifully decorated rooms with Indigenous art and textiles for an experience found nowhere else in Vancouver. Tip: there’s an authentic sweat lodge on the roof!


Day 2:

Takaya Tours Kayak Tour

Take to the water with Takaya Tours and rent a kayak from one of their two locations. Coast Salish Indigenous peoples have long held a strong connection with the ocean for transportation, hunting, and trading so an experience here would not be complete without a scenic paddle on the water.


Mr. Bannock Food Truck

In North Vancouver, you’ll find Vancouver’s first and only Indigenous food truck, Mr. Bannock! Inspired by and made with local ingredients from the Squamish Nation, Indigenous chef Paul Natrall of the Squamish Nation uses his culinary skills to blend tasteful ingredients with bannock for a food truck experience like no other. Tip: try the wild game bannock burger and Indigenous chicken and waffles!


Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre and Thunderbird Cafe

Our next stop takes us a little outside of town but is totally worth the journey. The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler is where the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations perform and share their culture in welcoming drum ceremonies, art, textiles, crafts, tools and more. Dine at their Thunderbird Cafe for modern Indigenous cuisine before or after your visit.