From fashion to food: Find tons of treasures at Vancouver’s Punjabi Market

Sep 13 2021, 3:59 pm

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Itching for a multicultural adventure but not ready to hop on an airplane just yet — or maybe you only have an afternoon to spare?

Visiting Vancouver’s Punjabi Market gives you a taste of South Asia, with no passport required.

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North America’s first South Asian market was also the first place in the world, outside South Asia, to display Punjabi on street signs. Last year the market celebrated its 50th anniversary.

A few decades ago, it was home to more than 300 bustling shops. Although its popularity has waned over the years, as many people of South Asian heritage have moved elsewhere in Metro Vancouver, the Punjabi Market Regeneration Collective is working hard to rejuvenate the area.

If you’re ready to explore Vancouver’s Punjabi Market, then throw on your comfiest walking shoes and head to Main Street between 48th and 51st avenues.

Here are just a few of our favourite spots to visit.

Clothing & Fabrics

 

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Find a colourful array of clothing at Mona Cloth House (6642 Main Street). Tailoring services are available too.

 

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Riwaaz (6623 Main Street) mixes traditional and contemporary styles in new ways. You’ll be enchanted by the colour and sparkle of bangles, anklets and nose rings.

Nurmahaal Fashions & Fabrics (6533 Main Street) stocks ready-made suits, eye-catching saris, gorgeous loose fabrics and more.

Jewellery Stores

Hi-Class Jewellers (6570 Main Street) boasts a full in-house workbench, to bring handcrafted bespoke pieces to life.

Bharti Art Jewellers (6612 Main Street) draws upon the family’s skills and knowledge gained over many generations of jewellery-making in India.

Art & Home Decor

Open by appointment only, Yared Nigussu Art Lab (6450 Main Street) displays the bold, vivid brushstrokes of Ethiopian painter Yared Nigussu.

You can easily spend an hour wandering through Bombay Bazaar (6684 Main Street), enchanted by all the whimsical trinkets to decorate your home.

Groceries

 

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If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll want to check out Dank Mart (6418 Main Street) which sells rare snacks that you won’t find anywhere else in town — especially sugary cereals. Frosted Flakes with Crispy Cinnamon Basketballs, anyone?

Punjab Food Centre (6635 Main Street) stocks an assortment of South Asian foods such as spices and flours.

Restaurants

Craving chicken tikka cooked in a tandoor clay oven? How about lamb masala, prawn vindaloo or fish curry? You’ll find it all at Himalaya Restaurant (6587 Main Street).

All India Sweets (6560 Main Street) dishes up fine Indian cuisine from many different regions of the country.

 

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Roots Cafe (6502 Main Street) serves hot and cold caffeinated drinks along with decadent baked goods and a whole lot more to tempt your taste buds. If you’re a fan of butter chicken, then don’t miss the butter chicken poutine or the butter chicken pizza.

Outdoor Art

Earlier this year, colourful street banners were installed throughout Vancouver’s Punjabi Market as part of a partnership with the Indian Summer Festival. On display until 2023, the banners honour the area’s dual heritage. Some feature art by Debra Sparrow (θəliχʷəlʷət): birds with Salish elements and bright geometric designs reminiscent of Musqueam (Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm) blanket patterns. The rest show the work of illustrator Jag Nagra: peacocks alongside bold prints inspired by the traditional phulkari embroidery of the Punjab.

Murals in the Market showcases four vibrant new murals, by Diamond Point (6509 Main Street), Guntaj Deep Singh (6615 Main Street), Minahil Bukhari and Mustaali Raj (6526 Main Street), and Sandeep Johal (6587 Main Street). The new art is part of the Vancouver Mural Festival, which reimagines the concept of public art throughout the city.

Marigolds in the Market is a cheerful nod to the neighbourhood’s vibrant history. In this art installation, a large tree at Main Street and 51st Avenue is decorated with marigold garlands, which are traditionally used in South Asian celebrations such as weddings and religious festivals.

Walking Tour

Available until October 1, A Walking Tour of Punjabi Market is a self-guided audio tour that helps you explore the market’s past, present and future. Hear from the neighbourhood’s artists, shop owners and community members as you meander through the market, taking at least an hour to savour all of the wonderful sights, sounds, scents and tastes.

Sheri RadfordSheri Radford

+ Curated
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