As school wraps up this month, plenty of us are pondering how to recognize the folks who helped our kids navigate this challenging year.
In fact, there’s probably never been a better year than this one to make sure your teachers know how much you appreciate them. And, with businesses throughout the Vancouver region getting back on their feet as we move through our restart plans, it’s also an ideal time to focus on some local options.
Here’s some ideas to help you celebrate the educators in your life with some gift ideas sourced from right here at home, in North Vancouver to Langley and points between. There’s lots of possibilities for pre-choosing a gift, but when in doubt, a gift card or gift certificate from these various businesses will prove a great gift.
FOR THE ARTIST
It’s no secret that teachers use their own cash to help add to their stock of supplies, especially when it comes to arts and crafts. If you’re in downtown Vancouver, Granville Island, Coquitlam, or Langley, head over to Opus Art. For folks in South Surrey and White Rock, check out The Gallery, an independent business offering art supplies (and top-notch framing services) for decades in this small corner of the Lower Mainland. In East Vancouver, head to DeSerres, which isn’t purely local: the company operates locations across Canada including the local one on Grandview. And over on Main Street, check out Urban Source Alternative Art Materials for unique options for creating art of all kinds.
FOR THE BOOK LOVER
Most teachers spend their entire careers carefully creating and building their classroom libraries. Help them out with a few brand new titles for their grade level – or a gift card so they can choose their own. In Vancouver and North Vancouver, head to Kidsbooks, one of the longest running independent bookstores in the region. They’re so well regarded, they’ve won the Specialty Bookseller of the Year award from the Canadian Booksellers Association three times. For folks in Burnaby, Tri-Cities and south of the Fraser, a great local option without the long drive into the city is Kinder Books, located inside the popular River Market on the New Westminster waterfront. Opened in 2011, their focus on diverse and inclusive children’s titles makes them an ideal destination for teachers.
FOR THE COFFEE DRINKER
Skip the mug (most teachers have already been gifted plenty of those) and go right for the contents: a gift of fresh and local coffee from some of the best Vancouver region roasters. In Langley, check out Luna Coffee. If you’re in North or West Vancouver, head to House of Funk Roasting Co on Esplanade (yes, they also have a House of Brewing, for the beer fan.) And in Vancouver, check out Pallet Coffee Roasters. These are only a few of the local roasters – check out siply for more options that may be just up the street from you.
FOR THE SWEET TOOTH
For several years, Metro Vancouver has recommended “gifts of experience” to cut down on waste at the holidays and for birthdays. Well, here’s an experience that’s sure to be enjoyed with nothing left behind – some local sweet treats. With one location in Abbotsford and another on Granville Island in Vancouver, ChocolaTas is a great option no matter which end of the region you live in. The local chocolatier is well known for unique and seasonal offerings so there’s always something new in store. For points in between, head to Chez Christophe – with one location in Burnaby and one in White Rock – for pastries, desserts, chocolates, and more.
FOR THE COLLECTOR
If your teacher happens to have a hobby of comics and collectibles, from Marvel to Star Wars and beyond, why not give them a treat from a local shop? In Langley, Toy Traders toytraders.ca is well known as a destination store for toys for all ages, from babies to adults, with one of the largest and most wide ranging collections of both new and used collectibles. Toy Traders also offers a unique trade feature, which allows customers to trade in gently used toys for store credit. If you’re in the western end of the Vancouver region, check out Big Pete’s Collectibles in North Vancouver, with a focus on comic books and collectibles of all kinds. Follow them on Facebook to keep up to date on current offerings.
FOR THE GAMER
Teachers will be the first to tell you: tabletop games aren’t just fun, they’re often educational and help kids learn new concepts in unique ways. For the teacher who loves learning through games, help them expand their collections with a gift from one of the region’s local game stores. Raincity Games has locations in Vancouver and in River Market in New Westminster. This community-minded independent gaming store offers a variety of games for both adults and kids, as well as some crafting and painting materials, miniatures, and much more. In Vancouver, Games on the Drive offers tabletop games, card games, and much more. Located in the heart of East Vancouver on Commercial Drive, the store offers online ordering. On the far side of the Fraser River, head to Central City Mall for Craving for a Game. A huge inventory of games is available here either in-store or online.
FOR THE MOVIE FAN
Everyone needs a good break and a chance to relax. With movie theatres set to re-open around the province this month, why not give your teachers a gift card to a local cinema that they can use over the summer (or any time at all). Though not strictly a local business, supporting local theatres in your area can help these businesses bounce back. Check out Landmark Cinemas, Cineplex Canada, and Hollywood 3 for mainstream movie offerings. For truly local and independent cinema, head to the Rio Theatre. This Vancouver favourite at Commercial and Broadway offers unique films and live events.
Whatever you choose this year, wish your teachers a happy and healthy summer break. Don’t forget to include a heartfelt thank you note. Though school may look a bit more normal come September, the challenges of this last year will have plenty of ripples in the coming years but our BC teachers will continue to help kids learn and grow.