Its Jour de l’action de grâce; that preeminent holiday of the pumpkin season, when syrup-spewing lattes and ever-so-sweet potatoes warm the stomach. Canadian Thanksgiving is the annual celebration that, like the American equivalent, excuses grizzly bear-like portions of squashes, Brussels and turkey.
For some, it’s an ice hockey game of family relations or the neat alignment of television entertainment.
In an age when lattes didn’t come spiced, the storms of the Northwest Passage weren’t quite enough to sink the expeditions of Martin Frobisher or Samuel de Champlain; Anglo-Franc explorers and colonisers who journeyed to uncover new[found]land. A jubilant mood followed, with the celebration of “divine mystery”. Nonetheless, today’s food preservatives are equally as questionable.
So as Football league players punt and dribble, so do Canada’s fall-lovers in the face of gooey pumpkin pie. An Autumn staple that packs a punch in the bakeries of downtown Vancouver.
The Pie Hole
On 401 Industrial Avenue, aim for the hole – the pie hole. Crumbs signal the production of sweet crusts and sensational fillings, rising from the yeast of pie-encrusted enthusiasm. Embrace best sellers like Banana Cream and Fat Elvis, or get giddy on seasonal favourites. That’s where you’ll find pumpkin pie in the patch – splashed with spiced whisky and a whipped cream border.
On the back of travels and a substantial appetite, two sisters established this bakery that’s been using traditional methods and local produce since 2011. For all those credentials, however, the café ambience and street life are a little soggy.
The pie is right in Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood, Gastown. As a slice in the community, Acme’s pie making has come hand-in-hand with the remaking of the quarter’s historic theatre row. Hence dessert perfumes pump out of the bricks and mortar.
It’s a café that deserves to be called “hip”, if it wishes. The furnishings are soft and shades of beige speak art deco. With three types of pumpkin pie on the go, including whoopee, there’s plenty of shortcrust – not a shortage of love. To win hearts and minds, there’s a pie happy hour from 2 to 4 pm every weekday. Rinse with a coffee of Mexican origin, via a jet-black La Marzocco espresso machine.
Lime and Moon Pie Company
Neat slices of fall, with pumpkin interiors and perfect crusts. Not far from False Creek, it’s baking with a conscious. The flour and the sugar are organic, as well as the Canadian Maple syrup that lends some magic.
If they’re still in stock, pair mini pumpkin pies with some of the city’s most celebrated coffee. Perfect for those who want cabin-style comfort and honest food.
After all that, turn up the heat on Stanley Park activities like golf, biking, and trail walking. Yes, it doesn’t have custard on the side, but there are totem pools, wildlife and outstanding plant diversity. Indoors or out, Vancouver knows how to live.