Today it was sunny and 54 degrees. Good day for walkin’!
I can see, on days like this, why Vancouver is considered such a beautiful, livable city. Proof:
But then there are things like this:
What was I doing? Oh yeah. I was reviewing a Real Canadian Superstore.
What is a Real Canadian Superstore, you ask? It’s what would result if a Super Walmart and a Costco had hot, sweet, unprotected membership warehouse sex. It’s not a supermarket according to Wikipedia. It’s a hypermarket.
Yes, it’s that glorious. Behold:
I’m a big fan of stores where I can purchase a head of lettuce, a bag of underwear (yes, I said a bag), and a stereo system in the same place. I know I shouldn’t be, but I am. The RCSS has pretty much anything you would ever need, including a ridiculously awesome produce section that has all sorts of exotic stuff (including dragon fruit!) and a giant candy aisle. You know me and candy, man, we go way back.
– Do you need a 4 pound bag of frozen calamari, a socket wrench, a BBQ, a DVD player, papayas, and a trashy romance novel, but don’t want to drive around town to acquire them all? NO PROBLEM!
– The private label, President’s Choice, is so ridiculously cheap it’s like I’m back in the US.
– You can get in and out super fast owing to the fact that there are about 20 self-scanners. I’m scared of those things, though, so I never use them.
– They let you bag your own stuff. I’m picky with how I bag my crap, especially if I have to jump on a bus to get home (which is often).
– Shopping without spending $50+ requires horse blinders if you’re like me and randomly throw crap into your basket because it looks pretty.
– Speaking of the basket, what’s with the cloth handles on the handheld baskets? Not a real complaint, they just annoy me.
So yeah. RCSS is awesome. Add it to the list of things you must experience when you come to Canada.
I had to go downtown today to get my Sun Run number/shirt, so before that I decided to remedy my “I suck at life and can’t find how to get on Granville Island” failure of a walk last weekend by actually looking up appropriate directions to the island.
I know, I know, Granville Island isn’t a mall. But with the big open market insanity and the building with the bundle of stores in it, I decided to count it anyway.
– THE coolest glasses frames shop on the planet. It’s also called Eyeland, which is freaking hilarious and awesome. Check this noise:
– It’s like a farmer’s market on crack once the weather gets better.
– There’s a bead store. I don’t do bead work at all, but the colors make me smile.
– One of those “how in the hell do you get there?” areas of Vancouver. You know, the ones you can see but can’t fathom how anyone’s supposed to get there. There are a surprising number of those up here.
– Cars should not be allowed on the island.
– People are generally stupid and don’t know how to handle ogling exotic fruit and forward motion at the same time. Get out of the walking traffic first, fondle dragon fruit later.
I am also obscenely stressed out (as I have been for the past three weeks now), so don’t trust my judgment.
North Vancouver’s weird.
It’s a lot steeper than it looks in this pic.
ANYWAY, Lynn Valley Centre.
– It looks nice?
– Really, not much to say.
– The bus I had to take up here came every 45 minutes. Guess who’s phenomenal at just missing the bus?
– No cool stores here. There’s a Save On, but they’re everywhere in main Vancouver.
This one wasn’t worth the trip, in my opinion. I got to see a bit more of North Van, but it’s got a freaky vibe to it of which I’m not a fan.
Now for some Fallout 3.
Confession: I actually didn’t go to Kingsgate this afternoon. Spent the morning running and then went to Costco and The Real Canadian Superstore…but I passed by Kingsgate twice!
I go to this mall to buy groceries, really. Therefore it’s not really worth a special weekend visit (plus it’s not that far of a walk anyway). But I’m kinda running out of malls and figure I better get as many of the smaller ones in these installments as possible.
– Giant Buy Low Foods. A cheap grocery store that’s right on #8’s route which practically goes right by my house.
– Liquor store. I can’t drink, but this particular liquor store has a giant Guinness poster in its main window, which makes me nostalgic for that one time two summers ago when I actually had alcohol.
– Not crowded ever.
– Pretty small. You go there for shoes, alcohol, or groceries. Not much else.
– Closes (surprise!) at 6 on most nights, and due to the layout if you still want to utilize the Buy Low that is open much later, you have to climb up this weird hill to get to it. Not a big deal usually, but a huge pain when it’s raining/ it’s windy/ it’s dark/the hill decided to go into mudslide mode.
Yeah. Dinky mall is dinky.
Google Earth really doesn’t like it when I try to get walking directions to Richmond. No, all-mighty Google, I cannot walk across water, nor can I climb up and utilize the SkyTrain rail as a bridge.
This morning I went running, which is both surprising and hilarious, considering I don’t see myself as a runner AT ALL, but found it easier and more relaxing than walking. Weird.
After running I was all jazzed up and decided to go find a mall. 12 miles later (damn you, Google Earth!) I ended up in Richmond at the Lansdowne Centre.
– Sits in a cluster of malls (and a Real Canadian Superstore, which I WILL review at some point ‘cause it qualifies as a mall in and of itself), so if you get bored of it you can just walk to another one.
– There was a Best Buy! I’d never been to a Best Buy before. Had to resist buying a giant home stereo system.
– Very clean layout. I was impressed.
– Semi-clean Zeller’s. I was phenomenally impressed.
– Like the Richmond Centre, it’s right by the SkyTrain. Handy.
– Malls need to stay open later than 6 PM around here.
– Pretty “meh” selection of stores overall, apart from the Best Buy and this Bed, Bath, & Beyond-esque store thingy that I never got around to walking through (see above con for reason).
So yeah. Not so disappointing, a refreshing change from the last few malls. I’d recommend it.
AAAAAAH WHAT IS THE POINT OF THIS MALL??
14.5 miles in the rain (half of that was me screwing around elsewhere, but THAT’S NOT THE POINT) for a crappy Zeller’s and no bathrooms?
– Hell if I know. A London Drugs?
– A crappy Zeller’s
– Have the designers of this mall ever heard the phrase “public restroom?” There was supposedly one in the crappy Zeller’s, but I couldn’t find it.
– There were no other stores of interest at this place. None.
– There was some sort of Idol-esque karaoke going on. It involved little kids. Singing. Badly. Shoot me now.
There was also a little girl (5 or so?) who was stuck in the escalator. The paramedics and fire department were getting there as I did and 45 minutes later they had pried one of the escalator steps completely out and had gotten her free. She wasn’t hurt; I think her pants just got freakishly wound into the mechanics of the escalator. At least the drilling covered up the obnoxious wailing of the karaoke kids for a bit.
It didn’t help that it was raining ridiculously hard on my walk there…blah.
So I went out walking this morning and I saw the strangest thing. I was about two block from my house when I noticed that things started to get really bright around me, bright enough so I could even see my shadow. I looked around and realized that the source of this brightness was coming from above me, somewhere up in the sky, somewhere between the dispersing clouds.
Then I realized what I was seeing.
THE FREAKING SUN.
It was quite a phenomenal sight.
Park Royal Centre! Probably the biggest mall I’ve been to up here (or, you know, anywhere).
- DUDE a Whole Foods. I bought Himalayan pink salt. And…uh…cookies.
- The mall is split into three separate buildings/areas: North, South, and the Village. This makes navigation easy.
- Quite organized for how freaking huge it is (280+ stores).
- A Staples!
- Quite far away. 8.5 mile walk, plus a 30 or so minute bus ride through Stanley Park.
- The three buildings are spaced across a busy highway-type road. Not a big deal, but on a rainy day (which is pretty much the standard up here), it would kind of suck.
- The Home Depot is scary as hell. There was a haunted shovel.
This is North Vancouver’s version of the Pacific Centre. Translation: boring.
– A Walmart. It’s got a McDonald’s in it. That blows my mind.
– A Claire’s.
– Open until…wait for it…9 PM ON SOME NIGHTS! This blasphemy is unheard of. North Van has a wild side.
– Way up in North Vancouver.
– The bathroom is disgusting. Like, Zellers disgusting.
– There really aren’t any cool stores in this entire mall.
Yeah. Really, the only thing it’s got going for it is the Walmart. It’s also deceptively large. Looking at the store directory online and then looking at the mall, you would never guess all those shops fit in the little bitty space. I guess if you’re hard pressed for a Walmart and for whatever reason can’t get to the one on Grandview Highway, take a trip to North Van and visit the bland land of Capilano Mall.
It also was snowing the whole time I was walking there and back, so it was an exceptionally cold day for me. But I have blanket and heater and techno at my disposal here, so it’s all better now.
I’m in Vancouver!
Because I’m a slacker and don’t feel much like walking to god knows where today (give me a break, I’ve been up since 3 and in a couple different states/provinces/time zones since then), I’m just going to give you all a rundown of the mall that’s about 8 blocks from my house: The Oakridge Centre.
– It’s close to my house!
– It has a Safeway
– It’s not huge, but it’s got enough variety to keep you interested for a few hours
– Right next to the Skytrain station on Cambie
– It has an Apple store. I’m counting this as a con because my close proximity to said Apple store causes me to want to purchase every i-machine in there
– You want to catch the bus at this stop? Good freaking luck. So. Crowded.
– For some reason, there are a crap ton of kids at this mall
Yeah. This was the first mall I went to here. It’s kind of like the Palouse Mall, actually.
I have only one word to describe my experience with the Pacific Centre: meh.
– Not a pain to get to. There are like twenty buses that pass it, plus the SkyTrain. Right downtown.
– Small enough to navigate without freaking out.
– They’re open ‘til 7 PM!
– Obscenely boring.
– Right downtown, so quite crowded.
– There just isn’t a lot of variety. Sure, there are quite a few stores packed in such a small area, but they’re pretty bland overall.
Like I said, meh. Nothing too outstanding or extraordinary. Next week’s Canadian Mall installment may or may not happen…we’ll have to see.