Saturday, November 13, 2010

so you know -- downtown is here & is it is fabulous

i was cruising my Facebook home page yesterday and came across i can't believe my eyes. i live in downtown Chilliwack. i moved here for the affordable beautiful crystal doorknob and amazing trim home. it wasn't until i'd lived here a while that i realized how cool it is as a living experience -- entertainment and eats and shopping within walking distance (especially magical as winter approaches -- the next time it snows, park your car on Yale and walk into downtown -- it is a whole other experience) so you can imagine my surprise when i came across this

That doesn't surprise me much. (that Chilliwack is known for having the biggest new Super Walmart) It's sad, because of good people like you who have a brain and a conscience, but it doesn't surprise me considering how fast everyone was to stampede out of downtown. I was almost in tears when I was down there in September. Downtown is GONE. :*(

and in my response i live downtown and there are fab shops there still :) come back and visit

and another of downtown's friends says it was alive at bravo and mill st.

someone actually said this : I hope The Book Man is still there

and then another well informed insister said this

Michelle I walked all over that part of town midday on a Friday and there was hardly anything. I would love to visit and see some life returned to the old buildings. Thanks for letting me know it's still there. I just missed it. It was surreal, like after a war or something. They were demo'ing the Empress and for blocks around it seemed like there were SO many empty stores. Thankfully The Book Man was still there. I love that store!

they demo-d the empress for a reason -- to improve the downtown. i was starting to feel like one of those times when you wonder if you are in the wrong when someone so adamantly corrects your correct pronounciation with a mispronounciation. instead of adding another productive "is so" to the debate i thought i would take you on a walking tour mid-day on a Saturday (today) from my house so you could see how gone downtown is (NOT)


(and there were tons of places i didn't even have time to visit today, but who rock bigtime Lolly's Shopping Lounge, The Powder Room on Wellington (the place with the best facial in Chilliwack inside the back of the pretty Lolly's), The Grapevine Consignment, Teddy Bear Dreams, The Wellington Art Gallery, i did visit and purchase at Creekside, the Button Box & Objekts (which little c deemed like the coolest house) too but didn't photograph them -- that's how much shopping experience is available!)

the view outside my door (the Olympic torch route went by here in February)

2 blocks up the road The Town Butcher -- fab locally sourced free range meats and premade dinner party additions made on site (competitively priced with chains like M&M Meats but a way better shopping experience among crystal chandeliers and beautiful cheese plates)

Bravo (my middleschooler suggests you take your wife here if she's mad at you ;) I never fail to hear foodie friends rave about this place

remember when i took the boys to get last year's santa pic done? that was this place.

where i often meet my mom (who works in a downtown office) here in this four corners plaza for a quick coffee. also a great place to check out the parades

this is the bustling bookstore The Bookman every local (and in the know out of town) reader worth their salt visits. (they can order in any book for you and probably already have it in stock) my favorites are the $1-$3 racks featuring contemporary literature outside, my kids favor their favorite authors in the kids' section and $1-$2 archie comics and just today i spotted a box especially for teachers to stock up their classrooms with $1 children's hardcover picture books.

this blogger introduced me to lunch here. easily under $10. amazing egg salad sandwich (among a variety of others) and bakery treats. she and her friends meet regularly as lunch ladies. when the boys and i walked by at lunchtime today, there was not a table to be had.

This purveyor of girlie underthings and pretty accessories featuring local sellers recently opened to rave reviews.

lellow -- the children's store providing the biggest oohs and aahs of any presents i've witnessed opened at baby showers. i love their trumpette baby socks that look like mary janes.

this beautiful bakery is just as striking inside as out. i ate their family sized $2 naniamo bar and might not have to eat for two days ;)

The Wellington Emporium has everything a man cave could want -- amazing movie set props, pinball machines, collectibles of every type. The boys didn't want to leave.

we shopped, got some fresh air, ran into quite a few people we knew, and entered shopping contests (check out the local paper for the win a window contest -- the window that is up for grabs is to be revealed this next thursday in the salish plaza. )
our experience is not unique. it is available to you too. the next time someone says something disparaging about the downtown, don't take their word for it -- prove them wrong by visiting and seeing for yourself.


  1. Excellent post Michelle! Looks like you're sporting a pretty killer outfit too - way to go mama! Winston and I need to make a trip down there again soon - reminds me a lot of little shops etc. in Nelson, near where I'm from, but with less hippies and dogs - now who could complain about that?!

  2. I LOVE our downtown and can not wait to go visit with all the Christmas lights are up; it's my favorite time of the year.

    I was saddened to drive downtown though the other night and have Paramounts sign turned off. I will miss it greatly

  3. Our downtown is great. I can't wait for the Christmas parade!

  4. Anonymous4:37 PM

    Good blog, Michelle! The last time I was in Teddy Bear dreams, though, I had a lousy experience with a young addict demanding money...something that you see a lot of down town...but I do enjoy it...(don't forget Graham's Gifts and Payton and Buckle and Ginseng Jewellers!!) The Book Man ROCKS! Just wish they could revitalize down they do when the movie set comes to town...p.s. i like the way you write with no caps...e.e.cummings always comes to mind! m. pronk

  5. fantastic tour, Michelle! I live so close and still don't take advantage of it enough, either.
    (It's a bit of work hitting those great shops with the double stroller ;) )

  6. I too love our downtown. Thanks for the tour Michelle, cool blog post. Can't wait to be healed from my C-section, you know Isaac and I will be rocking the momma-baby stroller walk downtown as soon as Doc. gives me the go-ahead!

  7. Anonymous11:32 AM

    Our downtown has everything you need including a fantastic hardware store. You could easily spend an entire day down there, coffee, shopping, lunch, shopping, dinner and a martini. Most of the stores are owner operated and provide fantastic customer service with a smile. Shame on those people who will bypass downtown to shop at Walmart. And shame on the people who live on the southside of the highway and won't cross over to support local merchants. You have no idea the experience you are missing!! This is a secret that should not be kept. Spread the word and lets get downtown rocking!! Thanks for the blog :)

  8. I love Chilliwack's Downtown. There is always parking within walking distance of all of my favourite shops. I love that I can drive in a five block radius to rent a movie, do my banking, go out for a wicked martini at Preston's, grocery shop, buy a new pair of shoes, and a new chew toy for my dogs. Everything is right at my fingertips, everyone is so friendly and committed to our community, and the shops are so unique and extraordinary.

    I for one will never set foot in Walmart - what has big American business done but oppress their workers (union busting, unfair wages, huge class action suits for not paying women as much as men, amongst many, many other examples) and take money out of our community? I buy local - even if it costs a dollar more, that's a dollar that is staying in my community, supporting my community members, and supporting a sustainable, unique way of life.

    Yahoo for Chilliwack, and yahoo for your post!


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