Delicious Dundarave

Agency: Resonance Consultancy

Working with Resonance and the West Vancouver Business Development, I took the findings of a half-day discovery workshop and translated them into what Resonance calls a Destination Storyline – a document highlighting a place both as it is, and how it could be. These documents are part description, part imagination – and all kinds of fun to write. Below, an excerpt from Dundarave’s Destination Storyline. We completed the same process for West Vancouver's Ambleside community. To see more of either of these documents, please get in touch.

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To describe the Dundarave experience in 2020, you need to evoke all five senses. It’s a sight to see, to be sure; doubly blessed with the lapping blue waters of Burrard Inlet on one side and a commanding mountain backdrop on the other. It has the look and feel of a real village, despite its urban location; its Marine Drive main street is charming and picturesque, with hanging baskets and carefully landscaped medians.

But to simply describe its physical charms would be to miss out on what makes Dundarave 2020 somewhere special. To the touch, Dundarave is a warm, sunlit sidewalk table, an ocean mist, a smooth stone. Its sounds: falling rain, lapping waves. The buzz of a vibrant café culture. Familiar greetings; people know each other here, and if they don’t, they’ll say hello anyway.

Wander through the village early in the morning, and the competing aromas are an olfactory treat: baking bread, cooking chocolate, brewing coffee. 

And taste? Well, that’s where Dundarave really distinguishes itself. By 2020, delicious Dundarave has established itself as a bona fide gourmet destination — the gastronomic go-to for people throughout the North Shore and for in-the-know foodies from further afield. It’s well-versed in the finer things; the regional authority on farm-to-table, catch-of-the-day, single-origin and double-oaked. Tiny though it is, it offers an abundance of options: from farmer’s markets to food trucks, bistros to bars. The hardest part of spending time in Dundarave? Deciding where to go, and what to eat.

By 2020, the Dundarave stretch of Marine Drive is bursting with sidewalk bistros, gastropubs, cafes. This remarkable concentration of outdoor eateries makes the community the al fresco capital of British Columbia, because in Dundarave it is a well-known fact – and an unofficial village motto – that everything tastes better outdoors. Dundarave Village isn’t quite an Italian piazza, but on a warm summer night, it feels like one. Of course, not all nights here are warm. But the bon vivants of Dundarave won’t let a little rain or chill stop them. Thanks to that indomitable spirit — and to awnings, umbrellas, and heat lamps —Dundarave’s al fresco culture doesn’t stop when the sun does.

Since the arrival of the new local ferry service connecting Dundarave and Ambleside with Coal Harbour, the area has become a favourite for tourists, for family outings and first dates. On Saturdays, young families and could-be couples spill off the ferry in droves and beeline for chocolate or charcuterie. The loop between the SeaWalk and the village is well-trodden, and well-marked: for the old-school, there’s suitably charming signage and paper guides (available on the ferry and throughout the area); for the new-school, there’s an app. In fact, by 2020 this well-loved loop — SeaWalk to Sidewalk — is a Trip Advisor favourite.

Other Dundarave draws? Its festivals and events. By 2020, due to growing demand, the reimagined Taste of Dundarave lasts three days rather than three hours. The weekend farmers’ market attracts droves from up and down the shore and across the Inlet. Even if they don’t need farm-fresh anything, the market’s convivial atmosphere, and its impressive line-up of entertainers, is worth the trip alone. And the ferry service has turned Horseshoe Bay’s Dinner on the Dock into a three-village Culinary Crawl by sea. Ambleside, Dundarave, Horseshoe Bay: three meals, three docks (and an exponential increase in funds raised).

On a regular day, Dundarave is a place to grab a top-notch coffee before a stroll on the Sea Walk, or an ice cream after. Home to a number of specialty food shops, it’s the place to stop for picnic provisions before a trip up the mountain or down to the shore; the most discerning day trippers know where to pick up the best olives, the best chocolate, the best cheese. A bottle of red, and some local microbrew.

But more than a spot for grab-and-go, Dundarave is a place to linger, to gather —indoors or out. Above all, Dundarave is a community, and what the people here love most about food is its ability to bring people together. Whether at a table or on a picnic blanket, good food fosters community, and Dundarave has both in spades. Part of the magic of this village — and what draws people here, as much as the food — is that by the end of a day in Dundarave, even if you’re not from here, you’ll feel as though you are.

Want more? Get in touch at hello {at} chelseaherman {dot} com.