This project has been a LONG time coming! I’ve been pastel hunting for “good walls” for so many years now, and though I always wanted to do a guide like this for Toronto but the colourful walls there were few and far between, and every time I’d get a substantial list together half the walls would be painted over with a darker colour or covered in graffiti tags (insert old lady eye roll.
When I moved to Vancouver this past spring I was amazed by the seemingly endless colour wall options all over the city (and beyond!) Despite having grown up here, and visiting annually for the past twelve years, I had never really noticed just how many #randomactsofpastel can be found in alleyways, down the side of warehouses, and decorating storefronts. It’s one of those fun things that you notice once, and then forever notice everywhere you go (you just wait!)
Before long I had a google doc going with intersections, addresses and company names pointing to rainbow stripes, mint green murals and faded pink facades. It quickly became clear this list was too good not to share, so armed with my camera and a very patient, sweet, wonderful boyfriend (thanks Jonnie), I set out to document as many of the colourful walls that I’ve spotted over the past few months as possible. Some of the photos in this list have already made it to the Instagram grid, either recently or through snaps I took on my past visits to Vancouver, but there’s also a lot of totally new shots (with outfits inspired by each different location, of course!)
The final result? A prismatic pastel rainbow tour of the city as seen through my favourite photo walls!
Casa Gelato (1033 Venables St) – East Van
This is THE pink wall in Vancouver. There’s a ton of space, different angles / options depending on where the sun is at in the sky and what kind of exposure you’re looking for, and best of all, it’s part of a very fun ice cream shop that I HIGHLY recommend working into your shoot plans! I took my pregnancy announcement photos here (and continue to shoot here with Summy) so it holds an extra special place in my heart, and obviously, gets top place on the list!
Pink Pearl Chinese Restaurant (1132 E Hastings St) – East Van
If you’re looking for something a bit lighter than Casa Gelato, Pink Pearl is just a few blocks away and I hear the Dim Sum is delicious!
Pink Palace (2222 Bellevue Ave) – West Van
An architectural wonder on the West Van waterfront, this building was based off of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki, and reminds me of wedding cake every time I drive past.
Honorable Mention //
Opus Hotel “It’s Love Baby Wall” (322 Davie St) – Yaletown
This tiny slice of pink wall is perfect, for, well, a baby! I heard a rumour this one is already gone but I haven’t been by in person to confirm yet.
Lorna Jane (295 Terminal Ave) – East Van
A bright magenta pink building with lots of wall space, but I haven’t shot anything there yet as it’s a bit bright for my feed!
Vancouver Taxi (790 Clark Drive) – East Van
Patchy orange with lots of greenery, and different shades from painting over graffiti (which I always sort of love) but not a ton of space to shoot larger scenes.
No. 5 Orange (205 Main St) – East Van
A darker burnt orange wall with a good amount of space to shoot! Perfect for autumn outfit photos with your pumpkin spice latte. And in case you google it – yes, yes this building houses a strip club.
Honorable Mention //
Hey Kokomo (2028 Vine St.) – Kits
This storefront is the perfect shade of peach but it’s mostly window (not much space for a full body shot!) Fingers crossed someday the paint the alleyway down the side the same colour.
Granville Island Kid’s Market + Bridges Restaurant
Note: Granville Island has a wealth of colourful walls in general! Personally I’ve spotted blues, greens, a small pink, but the possibilities are endless when wandering around that sweet tourist spot. Make sure you go on a weekday if you want to beat the market crowds!
Andina Brewing (1507 Powell St) – East Van
A darker shade of yellow panelling, this brewery doesn’t have a ton of open space to shoot but it works well for “top half only” shots (or full body if you don’t mind the non-yellow bit at the bottom). I’ve also heard they serve great Ceviche!
Vancouver International Sculpture Biennale (290 West 3rd Ave) – Near main Street
We happened across this perfect pastel yellow warehouse while shooting at Juke Print (you can see one from the other!) and it’s the ideal photo wall if yellow is what you’re looking for.
A-Tech Auto Service (328 Clark Drive) – East Van
Right in the same neighbourhood as the Andina dark yellow, Relaxus dark purple, and __ dark blue, I love the texture of this softer buttery shade of yellow. There’s also a very good RED just down the street at Callister Brewing (red is the anti-pastel, so it doesn’t get an official spot on the list.)
North Shore Taxi (264 Pemberton Ave) – North Van
If you’re looking for the perfect key-lime backdrop, look no further than this taxi HQ (right across from the pink and purple garages mentioned above!)
Warehouse at the Corner of Pacific and Hornby – Central Vancouver
This seemingly abandoned warehouse building near the Burrard Street Bridge is a great shade of green on all sides, and because it’s not currently in use there are few cars in the way.
Angel Building (68 East 1st Ave) – Main Street
Painted cement in the ideal shade of toothpaste green tucked on a very unexpected street just off main. This spot is super close to the light blue listed below!
Honorable Mention //
Queen’s Park (4600 Cambie) – Upper Main Street
Rumour has it there are cute mint spots in this park but I have yet to see them myself! Can anyone confirm?
Century Car Wash (33 E 2nd Ave) – Main Street
I’ve been eyeing this adorable tiled mint wall for awhile and will add a photo here when I’ve shot something there!
Meetrice Noode (4488 Main Street) – Main Street
A neon green wall on the side of a restaurant
Helen’s Grill (4102 Main Street) – Main Street
Patchy Kelly green down the side near the bus stop!
Despatch Centre (1481 Franklin St.) – East Van
This massive building is darker blue at the bottom, and lighter blue at the top, which means there are so many options for shooting there (and all the space to do so!)
Main + Industrial (228 Industrial Ave) – Main Street
For a lighter, aqua blue, look no further than the big blue building at the bottom of Main Street. There are also darker blue accents that can be worked into photos (see cute example from my pal Tina’s account here)
Capilano Custom Interiors (1311 Pemberton Ave) – North Van
Maybe one of my favourite unexpected photo spots ever! I came across this pastel set of garages on a run shortly after I moved to the North Shore and stopped in my tracks! Bonus – it’s almost directly across from Douce Diner, one of my favourite breakfast restaurants in the city.
Palette Coffee Roasters (323 Semlin Drive location) – East Van
Good coffee, and a great purple wall! Lots of different spots to shoot with varying shades of purple and interesting textures. I highly recommend following the building around the corner for my favourite section!
RELAXUS (1590 Powell Street) – East Van
A brighter, deeper purple option with tons of space to shoot and different wall textures down the sides.
Jukebox Print – Near Main Street
A fun rainbow striped wall with lots of space and different colour variations depending on where you stand. There’s even a little rainbow staircase!
City Centre Motor Hotel (2111 Main St) – Main street
This hotel/motel looks somewhat unremarkable from the front, but walk down the side of the building and you’ll find one of the most magical pastel works of art in the city.
Arbutus greenway (1606 W 5th Ave) – Kits / South Granville
The greenway is an amazing pathway to explore by bike or on foot, and it crosses through a handful of epic photo spots. There’s a honeybee mural nearby, but this abstract wall of shapes where the path meets Fir St. is my pick.
Dachi mountain mural (2297 E Hastings St) – East Van
One of my favourite restaurants in the city, and one of my favourite murals too! Go for the photos, stay for the wine and oysters.
Fun Alley (106 W 1st St) – Lower Lonsdale, North Vancouver
Doesn’t get much better than a colourful alleyway complete with continued painted pattern on the ground!
Elyse Dodge “Traverse” mural (812 East Cordova Street) – Strathcona
I am a big fan of Elyse’s work, and this massive mural is a total showstopper. She and I have teamed up for a framed print giveaway, coming soon to the feed!
Alley-Oop – Downtown Vancouver
Yellow, pink, purple AND orange? Oh my! This colourful alleyway has a basketball court vibe but lots of plainer bits for photos too (pink example from my feed here)
Honorable Mention //
Pink and blue “It’s Love Baby” mural @ Davie and Thurlow (beside Denny’s)
Hootsuite primary colour shapes mural (111 E 5th Ave)
A few general courtesy reminders:
-If the wall belongs to a business, try to support that business! Eat at the restaurant, buy a product they sell, or use their services at a later date.
-Try not to park illegally or get in anyone’s way! I am always conscious not to disrupt business if I’m using someone’s building for photos without paying.
-If you come across a location on this list (or otherwise) that has since become private property, please ask permission before entering!
What colourful walls did I miss? Let me know in the comments!