The founder of Native Shoes walks us through his hometown of Vancouver

Scott Hawthorn, founder of Native Shoes – Roomorama blog

City guide: Vancouver

Scott is a creative entrepreneur who enjoys food, wine and cultural activities. He is currently working on a couple of projects: Native Shoes, Salt Tasting Room, Picker Shack Orchard and the Design Build Research Institute, which is a non-profit architectural design-built school. Recently, we caught up with him to find out more about his hometown, Vancouver.

What kind of traveler are you?

My adventures are usually focused around food, wine, arts and culture. I like to have unique experiences in smaller hotels and restaurants.

What are your must-dos when you travel?

Pack light, wander around and observe my surroundings. Also, be open to people and things that present themselves.

What is your favourite destination to date, and why?

I recently went to Naoshima and Kyoto in Japan. Naoshima is a old remote fishing island that has been transformed into an island of many amazing art experiences. Kyoto is the old capital of Japan where many small artisanal experiences can be found. On one of the nights that we were there, we went to 5 small bars where each bar had no more than 10 seats in it!

What is next on your bucket list of places to visit? Why?

I’d love to go to Formentera, Spain and hang out there for the Summer because it's Europe!

What are your 5 travel essentials?

  • Credit card
  • Carry on bag
  • A ticket to a place I haven’t been to before
  • My lucky penny
  • Someone to share the experience with.

What kinds of souvenirs do you bring back with you from your travels?

Usually some unique clothing, design or art piece. I brought back some incense, beams clothes, and bell made by a very cool artisan from my trip to Japan.

You are a Vancouver native. What do you love and/or hate about the city?

I love its beautiful location and its proximity to nature. I wish people would financially support the arts here more.

Most cities have a certain way they are set up. For example, Manhattan is a grid and London is made of concentric zones. What about Vancouver?

Vancouver is focused around the ocean and mountains. From anywhere in the city you can see the mountains and get your bearings.

If you had a friend come to visit Vancouver for 3 days, what would be a recommended itinerary?

Have dinner with me! For places to eat, I would recommend eating at the Salt Tasting Room, L’abattoir, or Chambar. There are so many great places in Vancouver but those are just some of my favorites. Also, walk the seawall! Yes all 15 kilometers of it!

Salt Tasting RoomPictured above: Salt Tasting Room (credit: Tomo)

What are your favourite neighbourhoods in Vancouver, and why do you love them?

Gastown (the place I live at), for its historic charm, shops and restaurants. I also like Kits for its beaches and Granville island for the farmers market.

In each of your favourite neighbourhoods, what/where do you recommend to...


L'abattoir Guilt and Co. Pictured above: L'abattoir (credit: Dine Out Vancouver), Guilt and Co. (credit: Scout Magazine)


  • Eat at Tractor, which sells healthy food, or Maenam, which sells Thai cuisine. Or you can also try out Nook.
  • Party - not so much in this area.
  • Hang out and walk around Kits Beach.
  • Shop on the West 4th street.

alt Pictured above: Tractor (credit: Vancity Buzz)

Granville Island

  • Eat at Edible Canada, which sells Canadian cuisine, or head over to Sandbar instead.
  • Drink at Sandbar.
  • Party - not at this area.
  • Hang out on the deck outside the public market and watch the boats float by.
  • Do walk along the public markets.
  • Shop at the artisan stores.

Sandbar Pictured above: Sandbar (credit: Dine Out Vancouver)

What are some typical foods and dishes from Vancouver that are a must try, and where do you go for them?

You are also in the lifestyle business so you probably will know this well - what are some of your favourite Vancouver watering holes/bars?

Chambar, L' Abattoir, Keefer Bar, which is the hidden gem of Chinatown and Hawksworth.

Hawksworth Pictured above: Hawksworth (credit: Mijune)

What are some of the non-touristy activities visitors can partake in?

  • Hike the grouse grind or Quary Rock trails on the North Shore and drive from downtown Vancouver.
  • Get tickets and go to a Vancouver Canucks (ice hockey) or Vancouver Whitecaps (soccer) game in the downtown stadium!
  • Take a Yoga class.
  • Go to Wreck Beach (nudist beach).

Is there a best time to go to Vancouver and why?

I love the Summer but the Winter is great for skiing at the local mountains too! There are lots of great festivals during the Summer time!

Tell us something about Vancouver we are unlikely to know.

Stanley Park is the biggest urban park in North America.

Stylish vacation apartments in Vancouver

This one bedroom apartment in Vancouver offers stunning views over the city with its large windows.

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Going to Vancouver? Check out more places to stay in Vancouver on Roomorama.