It’s a beloved festive tradition for many locals and visitors, but the next time you’re basking in the glittering glow of Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, give yourself an extra hour before you head home.
That’s because the park’s huge Trading Post Gift Store is the perfect spot for some quality browsing. And if you look carefully, you’ll find plenty of unique pressie ideas for almost everyone on your Christmas gift list.
On our recent visit, we delved into every nook and cranny of the store––and found a huge focus on B.C., Indigenous and Canadian makers and producers. Check out our top 10 holiday gift recommendations below, then explore the Trading Post on your next Capilano visit.
1. Tree Ornaments
There’s an excellent array of B.C.-themed Christmas ornaments here, from shiny souvenir baubles to bear figurines scarfing down wriggling fish. But we especially love the colourful wooden creations from a company called Native Northwest, each one depicting a different local animal with an Indigenous art approach. A great stocking stuffer, we found wolves, salmon and whales plus a lovely purple-hued owl created by Coast Salish artist Simone Diamond.
There’s a full treasure chest of local jewellery artisans showcased here––and every taste is catered to. We spotted sparkling Indigenous broaches, dramatic chunky pendants and even some cool raindrop-shaped earrings crafted by a local precipitation-loving silversmith. But our favourites are the colourful, handmade wooden earrings upcycled from old skateboard pieces by brilliant North Vancouver artist Adea Chung.
It’s easy to find great tomes for everyone on your gift list here. From locally focused titles such as Flora of the West Coast and The Deerholme Foraging Book to the store’s bestselling First Nations 101––an amazing book that everyone should read. But if you’re shopping for someone with an interest in local history and, in particular, Capilano’s fascinating backstory, The Laughing Bridge is a page-turner brimming with historic images and evocative interviews.
4. Gourmet Treats
It’s surprisingly easy to create an amazing hamper for that ravenous gourmand on your gift list here. You’ll find everything from small-batch Canadian mustards to Bowen Island-made salts and herbs. But we particularly love the enticing Langley-made jams from The Preservatory. Decadent flavours include Blueberry & Bourbon, Pear & Pinot Noir and Pink Grapefruit & Champagne—and each would also make a perfect stocking stuffer.
There’s a furry phalanx of lovely soft toys at the Trading Post. And while we were charmed by a cuddly bear you can warm up and hug, we fell for the brilliant Folkmanis hand and fingers puppets. The company makes hundreds of different animals but Capilano focuses on those residing in B.C. Our favourites include a little hummingbird and a fruit bat with amazing leather-look wings plus a lovely snowy owl with spots, beady eyes and a head that rotates 360°!
6. Canadiana Gear
There’s a great selection of high-quality clothing and accessories here that nostalgic Canadians will absolutely love. Designed by Ontario-based Red Canoe, we were especially enamoured of the vintage CBC logo T-shirts and the shoulder bags with classic RCAF insignia. While the ball caps––including one with a yesteryear deHavilland Canada logo––are excellent side gifts for any proud Canadians of a certain age on your gift list this year.
7. Herschel Gear
Capilano has also partnered with another Canadian brand that’s a little closer to home. Vancouver-based Herschel Supply Co. has been a must-have label for hipsters for several years. The Trading Post has a full wall of carefully curated options to peruse, from backpacks to tote bags and from pouches to wallets (vegan leather versions included). It’s not the only hip Vancouver brand here; we also spotted caps and T-shirts from local favourite Tentree.
A great way to slow down and chill out with the family over the holidays is to tackle a jigsaw puzzle together. And the Trading Post has some great Indigenous art-themed options on a side table piled-high with colourful boxes. Produced by a Richmond-based company, these beautiful, kaleidoscopically-hued puzzles showcase artworks commissioned from a wide array of talented artists––and each is paid a commission for every jigsaw sold.
It’s hard to beat the fresh, restorative aroma of a Pacific Northwest forest. But since wrapping-up an entire woodland is a little challenging, why not give the gift of a deluxe scented candle from North Vancouver’s Laykhaus? The company––famous for its eco-friendly products––has crafted a special candle for Capilano that smells exactly like taking a tranquil stroll among the park’s towering fir trees.
10. Festive Onesie
The Trading Post has a good selection of branded raingear as well as toques and gloves. But for that person on your pressie list who loves staying home on the couch watching Christmas movies at this time of year, consider a cozy, retro-style onesie from Quebec-based Little Blue House. And when we say retro-style, we mean it: this brightly-patterned, all-cotton garment even comes with a button-fastened bottom flap!
If you go: Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park runs daily until January 21, 2024 (except Christmas Day). If you are a B.C. resident, your ticket also includes an annual pass, valid for the next 12 months. For more information and to book your Canyon Lights tickets, click on the advert above or visit the official website (2023 links disabled).