David Labistour’s Favourite Places in Vancouver

The CEO of Mountain Equipment Co-op shares his insider tips on where to splurge, where to dine downtown and the best biking in Vancouver

Photo by Kamil Bialous

Originally from South Africa, David Labistour, CEO of Mountain Equipment Co-op, has called Vancouver’s North Shore home for the past 16 years. Below, the avid hiker and mountain biker shares a few of his favourite spots in the city.

Off the beaten track

“Grouse Grind is the go-to [trail] for many hikers, and for good reason. But the entire North Shore is full of great trails. One of my favourite areas is Lynn Headwaters Regional Park; it has some amazing hikes that aren’t as well-known.”

Great neighbourhood

“When I first came to Vancouver, I stumbled across Deep Cove and it looked like a movie set. It’s a small community and it’s absolutely gorgeous, nestled between the ocean and the mountains—it’s very good for recreation, like paddling and boating. It also has good hiking: the Quarry Rock Trail leads to a huge lookout point.”

Best biking

“The North Shore is a mountain-biker’s paradise. It has some of the most extensive and wonderfully maintained trails in the world—there’s a mountain that’s appended to Grouse called Fromme. That and Seymour Mountain are the two largest biking trail networks on the North Shore; I can ride onto Seymour Mountain from my house.”

Favourite craft brewery

“You fall over craft beer [everywhere] in Vancouver; it’s fantastic. There’s too much beer and too little time. My local is Bridge Brewing Company on the North Shore. I’m an IPA drinker and Bridge does a good one—it’s called Hopilano [after the Capilano area]. They do a great pale ale, as well.”

Caffeine fix

JJ Bean is my default coffee shop. I generally order a latte. The coffee is always fresh-roasted and it’s good quality. None of the stores look the same; they’re all individual. The one in Olympic Village has an industrial interior with a lot of steel.”

Downtown dining

Ask for Luigi [in Railtown] is one of my favourite Italian restaurants. It’s a little spot and there’s always a lineup to get in.”

Splurge spot

Blue Water Cafe has a [raw bar], with sushi and oysters, and a full kitchen. The service and the quality of the food is outstanding.”