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Where to Shop Vancouver

Pyrrha’s Top Talismans


Imperfect by design? A Vancouver couple makes unique jewellery, their way

Danielle Wilmore and Wade Papin manage to juggle a happy home life (complete with a two-year-old daughter) and a thriving business. (Photo: KK Law)

Danielle Wilmore and Wade Papin manage to juggle a happy home life (complete with a two-year-old daughter) and a thriving business. (Photo: KK Law)

Most designers craft their jewellery to look absolutely perfect. Not Wade Papin and Danielle Wilmore, the unorthodox duo behind Pyrrha. They have been breaking the rules pretty much from the moment they met, became a couple and started their business, about 20 years ago.

For one thing, neither had a background in jewellery. “We’re totally self-taught,” Papin says. That didn’t stop them from quitting their day jobs and plunging in. “It made it a must to succeed, not having any other means of support. I sold off a lot of my record collection to fund Pyrrha in the early days,” he says. “The rest of it we funded on credit cards. I wouldn’t suggest that to anyone.” In those early years, he explains, “we were doing soldering in our bedroom—very unhealthy stuff.” Now Papin and Wilmore have a separate design studio here in Vancouver, as well as a flagship store in Los Angeles.

Handcrafted using reclaimed sterling silver or bronze, Pyrrha’s talisman rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings are based on 18th- and 19th-century wax seals. Each piece reflects the antique seals’ cracks and imperfections, and each carries a specific meaning. The Fidelity talisman, for example, shows a turtle dove on the tree of life, symbolizing interconnectedness and unity, while the Power and Protection talisman features a crown with a dragon head coming out of it.

(Photo: KK Law)

(Photo: KK Law)

Hollywood has taken note of these eye-catching creations. Pyrrha boasts an enviable roster of celebrity fans, including Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, Brad Pitt and Halle Berry. How do the stars stumble upon the brand? Papin explains with a laugh that their company is well situated, “between all the filming that goes on in Vancouver, and the fact that every third person who comes into our LA store is someone famous.” Pyrhha also recently launched a line of talismans in partnership with HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Papin and Wilmore are determined to resist the siren call of the US—or anywhere else, for that matter—and keep producing their jewellery here. “We love Vancouver, and we want to support it. We love to be part of an arts community that’s growing,” Papin says. “It’s always been our mandate, from the very beginning, to keep it local. There aren’t a lot of people doing that anymore.” Once again, breaking the rules. And once again, with great results.

Find Pyrrha jewellery at Barefoot Contessa and BeautyMark, or shop online at www.pyrrha.com

Hot Looks That Beat Summer Heat


Pool parties, festivals, BBQs—there are plenty of reasons to look good in summer, but no one wants to spend hours slathering on thick make-up that melts in the August heat. Instead, try this handful of products to look your sun-kissed best


The oil-free Skin Boost Serum from Skoah uses plant polypeptides to increase collagen production and fade hyperpigmentation, resulting in firmer, clearer, hydrated skin. Essie’s summer collection of nail polishes includes eye-catching shades such as florescent fuchsia berry (pictured) and supercharged blue violet.

Mineral-Fusion-Lip-TintSelf Tan Bronzing Mousse from St. Tropez


Sheer Moisture Lip Tints from Mineral Fusion use cocoa butter to nourish lips while adding a hint of colour. The Self Tan Bronzing Mousse from St. Tropez creates a streak-free, natural-looking golden hue that lasts up to five days—and doesn’t harm skin the way Mother Nature’s suntans do. Find the Skin Boost Serum at Skoah and the other products at London Drugs. Who knew summer beauty could be so effortless?

SeaWheeze: Sea, Sun, Sweat & Smiles


Runners enjoy the seawall during the SeaWheeze, Lululemon's half marathon. (Photo: Sheri Radford)

Runners enjoy the seawall during the SeaWheeze, Lululemon’s half marathon. (Photo: Sheri Radford)

One of the world’s prettiest half marathons, the SeaWheeze winds around spectacular downtown scenery such as the seawall and Stanley Park, encouraging runners to forget about setting a new personal best and instead snap plenty of photos. Along the route, over-the-top entertainers—including stilt walkers, TheatreSports improvisers and yogis on paddle boards—also encourage dawdling. Too bad all 10,015 spots in this year’s race sold out in under an hour. But there are still ways to get in on the weekend’s fun.

Sunset yoga practice in Stanley Park after SeaWheeze half marathon. (Photo: Sheri Radford)

Sunset yoga practice in Stanley Park after SeaWheeze half marathon. (Photo: Sheri Radford)

All are welcome at the Sunset Festival in Stanley Park. First Eoin Finn leads a sunset yoga practice, perfect for stretching out tired muscles after the morning’s long run, then The Colourist and headliner Capital Cities fill the park with their pop sounds.

Limited edition athletic gear from Lululemon


Any event organized by Lululemon isn’t complete without apparel. The day before and the day of the race, a pop-up store featuring exclusive SeaWheeze clothing and accessories takes over the Vancouver Convention Centre. Lengthy line-ups don’t deter diehard shoppers, who scoop up the limited-edition tees, tanks, shorts, crops and more, none of which can be purchased in any other stores or online.

It’s a weekend of great workouts—whether for bodies or credit cards (or both) is up to you.

The SeaWheeze and Sunset Festival take place Aug. 23. The pop-up store is open Aug. 22 and 23.  Register for next year’s SeaWheeze in Jan. 2015. 

Outdoor Essentials


Whether your warm-weather destination is a beach, cabin or tent—or just the backyard—these handy items should improve your trip

Picnic basket and blanket from Poppytalk

Basket & Throw

Vancouver’s Jan Halvarson, who founded the popular design blog Poppytalk, teamed up with Target to create a line of “glamping” items such as a picnic basket and a camping throw with a useful carrier handle.


Playing cards by The Mountaineers Books

Playing Cards

Play your favourite card game and learn wilderness safety skills at the same time. The Don’t Get Lost Out There! Deck gives practical info on orienting a map, GPS usage, how to avoid getting lost, and more. At local bookstores.


Fabric checkerboard from Poppytalk, perfect for travel


Banish boredom with this adorable fabric checkerboard, which includes game pieces and a cute travel bag, from Poppytalk for Target. Lightweight, colourful and quiet, it’s the perfect game for kids and adults alike.


Dermalogica sun protection line can be found at Spruce Body Lab

Sun Protection

For fun in the sun without fear of sunburn, slather on Protection Sport from Dermalogica. Non-greasy and water-resistant for up to 40 minutes, it’s ideal for extreme sport enthusiasts. At Spruce Body Lab.


Find a striped HBC hammock at The Bay


Laze away the long hot days of summer in a hammock from The Bay. It comes in the eternally popular HBC multi-stripe pattern also found on swim trunks, beach towels, tote bags, deck chairs, Swiss Army Knives and more.


Zap Away bug repellant products from Escents Aromatherapy

Bug Spray

Repel pesky mosquitoes and other creepy crawlies with Zap Away spray from local company Escents. Made from lemongrass and lavender essential oils, the spray smells wonderfully fresh and is free from DEET and other harsh chemicals.

Tasty Tomes


An appetizing trio of books will whet your appetite for dining adventures. Find all three at local bookstores
StreetEats_VancouverCATStreetEats Vancouver by Mijune Pak, edited by Suresh Doss ($16.95): In this comprehensive new book, Mijune Pak (aka Follow Me Foodie) dishes up all the details on the city’s burgeoning street-food scene, including local favourites Japadog and Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck.


The Street Food Journal: An A–Z by Sophia Augusta ($16.95): Foodies can keep track of all the street eats they sample, from the ordinary (Italian ice cream, American hot dogs) to the unusual (starfish on sticks in China, “red red” stew in Ghana), in this beautifully illustrated notebook and sketchpad.

Foodspotting-Field-GuideThe Foodspotting Field Guide edited by April V. Walters ($15.95): This guided journal from Foodspotting—an online community of eager foodies who share where to find specific dishes in cities around the world—includes photographs and details on 75 must-try dishes.

Commercial Drive


Nestled in the heart of East Vancouver, Commercial Drive boasts nearly 350 shops and restaurants along a 22-block strip, but we focussed on a few blocks in the centre of the action

Banners featuring the colours of the Italian flag line Commercial Drive. (Photo: Kristen Moran)

Banners that feature the colours of the Italian flag line Commercial Drive. (Photo: Kristen Moran)

The delightful scents rolling out of Escents draw you in to get a better whiff. The West Vancouver company has gained international status, especially after its stress relief line was featured on The Dr. Oz Show. Find a hidden treasure at Mintage. This large vintage shop boasts a wide variety of hand-selected pieces to suit even the most fashion-forward individuals. (more…)

What a Doll: Maplelea Girl


Maplelea dolls offer an educational playtime experience.

The Alexi doll hails from Toronto, Ontario, and helps kids learn about Canada

Can a toy teach kids about Canada’s culture, history and geography? This doll can. Each Maplelea Girl comes dressed in clothing appropriate to her region, such as the jeans and t-shirt for Alexi’s Toronto, Ontario (pictured); cozy turtleneck and hiking boots for Taryn’s Banff, Alberta; and vest and kamiik (traditional Inuit footwear) for Saila’s Nunavut. Accompanying each soft, huggable, 46-cm (18-in) Maplelea Girl is a journal overflowing with fascinating photos and tidbits about the doll’s hometown, with room for kids to add their own thoughts and doodles. Who says learning can’t be fun? Order online at www.maplelea.com.

Sweet Souvenirs From Starbucks


Take home a porcelain version of Vancouver's skyline. (Photo: KK Law)

Take home a porcelain version of Vancouver’s skyline. (Photo: KK Law)

Java junkies who are jonesing for both a cuppa joe and a Vancouver souvenir head straight to Starbucks. Hot and cold caffeinated drinks fill the menu, while the city mugs are sure to invoke recollections of a Vancouver vacation over morning coffee back at home.

Buzz-Worthy Jewellery


Birks new bee-inspired collection

Birks new bee-inspired collection

The busy bees at Birks have been hard at work. To celebrate its 135th anniversary, the Canadian jeweller created three new collections inspired by honey bees. Crafted from yellow gold, silver, gemstones and diamonds, the pieces pay homage to the hardworking creatures that pollinate one-third of all the food that humans consume. Birks also announced a partnership with Ontario’s Honey Bee Research Centre, as well as an urban beekeeping installation at its flagship boutique in Montreal. Definitely the bee’s knees.

City of Douglas Coupland


The local author, artist and visionary is taking over Vancouver, and there’s no sense fighting assimilation when it’s this much fun

Coupland contemplates items in his studio. He confesses to "straddling the line between collector and hoarder.

Coupland contemplates items in his studio. He confesses to “straddling the line between collector and hoarder”

Most folks know Douglas Coupland as an author. His first novel, 1991’s international bestseller Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, popularized the now-ubiquitous term “Generation X.” Since then he has published 13 more novels along with an eclectic assortment of non-fiction works, including City of Glass, a collection of essays about Vancouver; Souvenir of Canada, which covers experiences and objects unique to the True North Strong and Free, from Baffin Island to poutine to zed; and Terry, a pictorial biography of Terry Fox. (more…)

Fabulous Must-Have Beach Accessories


Sunglasses? Check. Towel? Check. How about everything else necessary for a long, lazy day at the beach? Don’t forget these warm-weather essentials

Keep your beach umbrella firmly planted with this innovative invention

Keep your beach umbrella firmly planted with this innovative invention

Beach umbrellas provide shade from the hot summer sun, but if gusts of wind make them go airborne, they can cause serious injuries. Fortunately, the ingenious Noblo Umbrella Buddy stops accidents before they happen. Simply fill it with sand, Velcro it to the umbrella and relax.  (more…)

Shop in Style with Posh Tours


Get the VIP treatment with Posh Shopping Tours

Get the VIP treatment with Posh Shopping Tours

Shop till you drop? Brandy Kawulka of Posh Shopping Tours has a better idea. Her excursions include VIP pampering, chauffeured transportation, swag bags and discounts, making it easy to keep shopping all day without dropping. Tour options run the gamut from vintage/consignment to Vancouver designers to red-carpet ready. Ladies, warm up your credit cards, because they’re about to get a workout.