Once Upon a Time in Metro Vancouver

We know you love fairy tales and folklore just as much as we do, which is why we’ve rounded up some of the most whimsical and imaginative experiences and attractions in downtown Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby and New Westminster. Plan your route using the map below – it’s extremely easy to travel between the four cities, no magic carpet required!

Vancouver

Visit a whimsical tea shop fit for any prince or princess

Neverland Tea Salon is a fairy tale come to life with Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland accents contributing to a whimsical décor that invites long afternoons of lingering. Order High Tea or the more modest Demi Tea (vegans and vegetarians will find scrumptious finger sandwiches and pastries made just for them) and settle in for a delightful tea party – the Mad Hatter would be proud.

Spend a day in a real-life enchanted forest (locally known as Stanley Park)

This lush, 400-hectare (988-acre) oasis is truly magical. Set in the centre of downtown Vancouver, the sprawling rainforest is packed with family-friendly activities, including several sandy beaches; an 8.8-kilometre (5.4-mile) stretch of seawall perfect for strolling, biking and snapping selfies; a majestic totem pole “forest”; the dreamy Rose Garden; tranquil Lost Lagoon; and much more. You can even take a private horse-drawn carriage ride in a Cinderella Pumpkin Coach.

Aye! Explore the high seas with a band of motley pirates

Ahoy mates! Swashbucklers of all ages are welcome to board Pirate Adventures’ 50-foot ship for an exciting outing on the high seas (i.e. placid False Creek). Don pirate gear and “tattoos” before setting sail to search for sunken treasure, solve puzzling clues on a mysterious map and maybe even walk the plank. Beware of evil Pirate Pete – you may need to man the cannons!

What's a witch without a broom? Find your very own Granville Island Broom Co

Did you know brooms are a symbol of good luck? They sweep away bad fortune and protect against evil. Select your very own good luck charm at Granville Island Broom Co., a family business that sells beautifully handcrafted brooms that even Cinderella would covet. At this charming shop, you can watch broom-making in action and browse sweepers of all types, sizes and purposes (marriage or baby broom, anyone?).

Reflect on fairy tale roses with Ladurée's Rose Macaron

Roses pop up in many fairy and folk tales: Briar Rose in Sleeping Beauty; the rose in Beauty and the Beast; and the Magic Rose in Once Upon a Time, among countless others. The most iconic of flowers, roses symbolize love, innocence and passion – and they lend a delicate floral flavour to dessert, too. Nowhere does a rose taste sweeter than in iconic patisserie Ladurée’s Rose Petal macaron, which you can savour at the shop’s two downtown Vancouver locations. Of course, you can always sprinkle fairy dust and magically recreate the sweet at home. 

Ladurée’s Rose Petal macaron (makes 50 macarons):
Ingredients

Rose Cream:
• 1 cup castor sugar
• 3.5 tbsp water
• 3 large egg yolks
• 9 oz. unsalted butter, softened
• 1 tbsp rose syrup
• 2 tsp rosewater

Basic macaron shells (see recipe in Ladurée’s cookbook, or find recipe online)

Method
• Make basic macaron shells, adding pink food colouring. Set aside.
• Place sugar and water in a saucepan; stir until sugar dissolves, then bring to a boil. Cook until syrup temperature is 250˚F.
• Fit a stand mixer with a whisk attachment and beat egg yolks. With mixer running at medium speed, slowly pour the boiling syrup down the inside of the bowl into the yolks. Increase speed and beat vigorously until temperature of preparation is 104˚F.
• Gradually add butter. Continue beating until mixture cools and is smooth and creamy. Add rose syrup and rosewater.
• Spoon rose cream into a piping bag fitted with a plain tip. Pipe a small mound of filling onto the flat side of half the macaron shells; cover with remaining shells.
• Refrigerate macarons for a minimum of 12 hours, then serve – perhaps at a Once Upon a Time viewing party?

Vancouver OUAT Map


Richmond

Scoop up Storybrooke swag as a souvenir of your real-life Once Upon a Timeadventure

Tourism Richmond’s Visitor Centre in Steveston is the perfect place to start your Storybrooke adventure. Pick up a self-guided walking map for $2.50 and shop from a selection of licensed merchandise such as Welcome to Storybrooke hoodies and t-shirts, mugs, magnets, playing cards and buttons. The helpful staff can also provide insider tips on Storybrooke and Richmond’s must-see attractions.

Explore Steveston aka Storybrooke, Maine

Wander the streets of Steveston and snap photos of the real-life Storybrooke Post Office (Steveston Post Office); order a latte at Storybrooke Coffee Co. (Steveston Coffee Co.); browse Purbeck Shoes (Pieces home décor and gift shop); and sample a piece of scrumptious, fresh-from-the-oven bread at Storybrooke Country Bread (Romania Country Bread).

Sip Storybrooke-inspired hot chocolates, martinis and other drinks at local cafes and restaurants

Be sure to check out everything else Steveston has to offer, including seasonal whale watching tours, waterfront trails perfect for bike riding, and the historic Britannia Shipyards.

Sample Snow White Fudge at The Candy Dish

Sweet treats stack the shelves at this nostalgic candy shop where kids of all ages can select an assortment of cherry blossoms, pink popcorn and three-pound lollipops. More than 15 flavours of fudge are made in-store, though fans of Once Upon a Time will want to try the “Snow White” flavour and other Once-themed goodies!

Steveston Map


Burnaby

Explore a quaint town frozen in time

Explore a fairy tale-like village at the 1930’s-era Burnaby Village Museum, which is fashioned after a days-of-yore tram stop community. Here, guests can chat with “townsfolk” outfitted in period costume, learn traditional welding techniques at the blacksmith’s shop and select a sweet treat at the General Store. Be sure to take a spin on the vintage carousel, where music from a 1925 Wurlitzer band organ plays a lively soundtrack. The village is also home to a sinfully sweet ice cream parlour that offers frequent ice cream-making workshops.

Capture awe-inspiring photos at Playground of the Gods

Towering atop Burnaby Mountain, overlooking the distant city, are a series of enchanting sculptures known as Kamui Mintara (“Playground of the Gods”). Crafted by Japanese sculptor Nuburi Toko and his son, Shusei, these dozen-plus pieces of art commemorate the relationship between Burnaby and its sister city, Kushiro, Japan. Plan your visit for sunset and you’ll be treated to an unforgettable show as the wooden carvings stand in stark relief against the fading sky. Consider it your very own “happily ever after”!

Sneak into a charming Secret Garden

In fairy tale lore, gardens represent idyllic spaces of beauty and innocence. Century Gardens, situated next to the Burnaby Art Gallery, perfectly captures the calming and captivating power of an Eden-like space with colourful flowers spilling onto tranquil walking trails and a whimsical rhododendron display. After admiring the blooms, wander over to Hart House Restaurant, located in a Tudor-style structure along Deer Lake Park – and settle into a scene straight off the pages of your favourite fairy tale.

Shrink down to munchkin size and ride a miniature railway

Burnaby Central Railway was created in 1929 by a group of miniature train enthusiasts keen to form a model engineering club. Since then, they have expanded their constantly growing track to a dedicated space in Confederation Park; the track now stretches more than two kilometres with tunnels, bridges, crossovers and spirals at every turn. Visitors can hop aboard the teensy trains for a 10-minute ride through the beautifully designed park; more than 70 switches ensure each ride is slightly different.

New West

Discover a park fit for a queen

Packed with activities that would delight even the most royal of visitors, Queen’s Park is cultivated with colourful horticulture and tree-lined paths that connect every amenity. Here, guests can engage in a rousing round of tennis or pickleball, lace up skates in the Queen’s Park Arena, visit the spray park and petting zoo at kid-centred Rainbow Playground and much more.

Take a self-guided tour of Historic Columbia Street

In 1898, a terrifying fire destroyed the downtown portion of this quaint city. Just two buildings survived, the Queens Hotel and the Met Hotel. These are just two of several historic buildings you’ll learn about on Tourism New Westminster’s self-guided tour. You’ll also pass impressive stone cathedrals, imposing courthouses old and new, and majestic City Hall (the Mayor’s house is nearby in the Queen’s Park neighbourhood).

Visit the world’s largest tin soldier along a quaint riverfront

New Westminster’s River Market is teeming with activity, all presided over by a Nutcracker-esque tin soldier – the biggest in the world. Visitors to the riverfront will find no shortage of family-friendly experiences, including weekly baking classes for toddlers led by Pamola Bakery; lessons in trampoline, trapeze and aerial silks at Vancouver Circus School; al fresco fun along the boardwalk, including Westminster Pier Park; and languid views of tug boats and sternwheelers cruising the river from The Paddlewheeler Pub.

Step back into royal history at The Anvil Centre

This newly constructed, multipurpose structure is home to the New Westminster Museum & Archives, which oversees more than 70,000 objects, photographs and archival records that cover 10,000 years of the city’s royal history. Meanwhile, the New Media Gallery is a magical experience that explores the close relationship between art and technology with exhibits that plug in, light up, respond, sense and even communicate with visitors.