SD: Top Post-Secondary Schools in Vancouver

The diversity of post-secondary education is what keeps the kids coming back. From dentistry to law, bakers to basket weavers, doctors to digital imagery, the highly rated institutions below will be more than happy to welcome you and unburden your bank account of those pesky tuition fees.

University of British Columbia

Year after year, UBC is ranked one of Canada’s top universities with one of the most beautiful campuses where lush foliage coexists with historic buildings and modern architecture. UBC offers a wide range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees with tons of extra-curricular activities to keep everyone occupied. They also have great stadiums for music festivals and sports events.

Capilano University

Located about 20 minutes North of downtown Vancouver, Capilano is known for its Bachelor Degree programs in multiple fields such as business, education, and music. One of the first schools to bring in stress relieving dogs for students to chillaxe with.

Simon Fraser University


Spanning many disciplines in 8 faculties, SFU is a public research university that offers dual and double degrees and encourages international and domestic students to study at home and abroad. SFU has ranked for over 20 years as a leading provider of research intelligence and currently operates 3 campuses in Burnaby, Vancouver, and Surrey. They also have an award-winning pipe band.

Langara College

Langara provides University Studies, Career, and Continuing Studies to more than 20,000 students annually. The diversity of the programs and courses make Langara a favorite for students who want to focus on the arts, culture, humanities with some science and technology thrown in.


With 5 campuses in the greater Vancouver area – the main campus in Burnaby and the newest in the heart of downtown Vancouver – BCIT offers a range of full-time and part-time studies. This polytechnic academic institution even has aerospace and marine campuses and specializes in technology studies. Check out the ‘nap pods’ the library offers students for a brief respite from their studies.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Established in 1981 by the BC government, Kwantlen consists of four campuses in Surrey, Richmond, Langley and way out in Cloverdale. They offer bachelor’s and associate degrees and other paper for over 200 programs including journalism, interior design, psychology and a well respected Fashion Design program.

Emily Carr University of Art and Design

Internationally considered on the top art and design universities, ECUAD is growing and will soon move to Great Northern Way from their cool location on Granville Island which is in the middle of artist and yoga studios. With an average of 2,000 students per semester, ECUAD is more than art and digital studies, having formed partnerships with TED Talks, TRIUMF, and David Suzuki Foundation.

Vancouver Community College

Established in 1965 and known as VCC, this college has 3 locations, 1000+ teaching staff and offers over 140 career-oriented certificates and diploma programs. They take University Transfer and specializes in health, hospitality, and business courses.

While we know everyone thinks their school is the best at what it offers, this list may give you pause because what if what you are looking forward isn’t all about education? Post-graduation job placement and recruitment can be a powerful factor in the institution you chose to spend your best years at.

This piece on post-secondary schools in Vancouver by Helen Siwak was original published in

SD: The Best Hot Dogs in Vancouver

We all grew up on hot dogs, graduated to burgers, then hit steak hard but in our hearts we still love the simplicity and ease of a hot dog. Whether made with beef, pork, bison or boar, you must admit that it is really all about the toppings! Some people are ketchup and mustard fans and others are craving the elegant edge that lobster and caviar toppings will give them. Where ever you sit on the hot dog toppings debate, chances are you will find your perfect dog on this list of the 7 best places in Vancouver.

The Black Lodge in a cabin in East Vancouver

best hot dogs in vancouver

The Black Lodge is a Twin Peaks themed vegetarian restaurant that offers up a big dose of weirdness (check out their IG) and then get down to the business of feeding satisfying your gut. Start by ordering a chili cheese vegan hot dog smothered with all toppings with a side of chili cheese fries. There is nothing glamorous in this joint and beware the taxidermy giving you the eye as you scarf down this heart attack waiting to happen.


Big Dogs Street Hots – Food Truck

best hot dogs in vancouver

Serving up organic hot dogs made with exotic meats – can you say ‘bison and boar smokie’ – tasty uniqueness is how this mobile cart keeps the dog lovers coming back.  Plus all hot dogs are nitrate free, low in calories due to lean meats, and offer gluten free buns!


The Naam in Kitsilano

best hot dogs in vancouver

Not the most sophisticated of hot dogs but unique. You will find that building this baby is half the charm. The platter arrives with a steamed veggie dog in a grilled roti with melted cheese, a side of shredded carrots, beets and sprouts and a little scootch of mayonnaise. Pile it all in, roll and eat like a big wrap. Squishy deliciousness and low sodium to boot.


What’s Up Hot Dog in East Hastings-Sunrise

hot dogs, vancouver

If you are looking for a casual place to catch a game (they are all about baseball), to grab a brew or two, and indulge in some hot dog love, What’s Up is where you need to be heading.  The dogs come in traditional red plastic baskets with checkerboard wax paper. Try the Wrigley with fresh tomatoes, spicy mustard and lots of fries on the side.


Dougie Dog – Food Truck

best hot dogs in vancouver

Founder Dougie (yes, he goes by one name) introduced the world to the most expensive hot dog in the world a few years ago. The Dragon Dog is made by combining Kobe beef, lobster, Cognac, truffle oil and secret spices. That may make it expensive and damn fine tasting dog but not so visually appealing! Check out these bad boys but make sure you check your food truck app for availability.


The Dog House at UBC

best hot dogs in vancouver

This dog house is on wheels and rolling around the UBC Campus. Hot dogs run the gamut from vegan to super beefy and the toppings are west coast inspired with shredded veg, spicy peppers, cheese and squirty sauces to make them extra luscious. Grab extra napkins.


Japadog with 7 locations in Vancouver & Suburbs

best hot dogs in vancouver

This hotdog phenomenon has taken the whole Lower Mainland by storm and has now expanded into the US. The Kurobuta Terimayo is the most popular hotdog and starts with a soft but chewy white bun, a kurobuta sausage, some terimayo sauce and poof suddenly you have a Japanese hotdog that people stand in line for daily. If one is not enough, Japadog has also created a ‘dessert dog’ of a bun with 3 scoops of ice cream inside. Talk about simple pleasures.


Hot dogs aren’t a dying breed in Vancouver but they are a little harder to find than other traditional comfort foods that are surging on menus citywide. Don’t despair, though, on the weekend, Granville Street is a hot spot for ‘street meat’ that will do the trick quite nicely after too much Petron shooters.


SD: Top Tanning Salons in Vancouver

No time for lying out on the beach, sweating on the balcony or tired of getting a half body tan from hanging out on your favourite patio? Almost all of our selections for top tanning salons have a mobile service that will spray you down right where you are or have a quick drop-in UV service with cool beats and all the aftercare you require.

Spa Utopia – Langley, North Vancouver, and Downtown


Known for their aloe-vera based St Tropez tanning products, the Spa Utopia is one of the most luxury locations for getting your tan on. A 15-minute treatment will set you back $62 but you won’t have to worry about premature aging and it can be made part of a spa day bundle.

Cocoa Tanning Studio in Yaletown


Cocoa uses UV tanning beds and stand-up booths for those who are not keen on spray tans. Using eco-friendly lamps, energy saving studio practices, and providing an mp3 player plug-in in the beds, keeps their sun-loving clients happy and coming back for the experience.

Kix Tanning in Kitsilano


Kix offers both UV tanning and spray tanning using DHA based products. DHA is derivative of sugar cane, so this is definitely the sweeter option of the two, but remember it takes 6-8 hours for the tan to appear. Definitely not a last minute spray tan option, so plan accordingly. A better option for special days when wearing white!

You Tan Studios in Yaletown

This organic spray tan is 100% vegan, all natural and gives you the coverage and depth of colour that you desire the first time. In their spray, the active ingredients include green tea, brown sugar and watermelon. Sounds like something to be enjoyed on the patio with a mojito and a plate of wings!

Babes About Beauty – mobile service

A mobile service that leaves you with a natural glowing skintone and uses a tanning solution that is vegan and cruelty free. These Babes are not just about Beauty but also fun. Schedule a spray tan get-together of 5 or more of your friends and receive a discount. Hmmm… sounds like a really good excuse to have your pale friends over for a spruce up and tasty treats.

Organic Tan – mobile service

Having a signature line of all-natural skin care, airbrush tanning formulas and aftercare products named SunnaTan, keeps clients of Organic Tan ‘in the glow’. Using uber-trendy coconut oil in their products keeps skin soft and supple. No time for a spray tan? Order their signature self-tanning lotions and sprays online.

Tan On The Run – mobile service


With locations all across Canada and the claim to fame of having spray tanned over 400 cast members of X-Men Apocalypse, Tan on the Run has celebrity-level experience. This company will come, not only to your home, but to your office, hotel, film set or wherever. No UV, paraben-free, organic and without odor.

When contacting any of our tanning service selections, always remember to ask the right questions about their products, how to prep your skin and what to expect afterwards. Some of the self-tanning sprays get darker as days go on and you don’t want to ‘get your money’s worth’ and end up on ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’.

This article was originally published in StyleDemocracy.

SD: The Best Barbershops in Vancouver

For those who prefer a short cut and shave, the barbershop is preferable to the ‘salon’ being without harsh product smells and noisy blow-dryer action. The barbershops in Vancouver range from old school neighborhood locations with walk-ins only to hipster hang-outs with tough guys covered in tattoos from head to toe. Here are our 8 picks for a great haircut, facial maintenance, and the proper product to keep you dapper in between trims.

Here are our 8 picks for a great haircut, facial maintenance, and the proper product to keep you dapper in between trims:

18th Amendment Barber Shop in Gastown

18th Amendment Barber Shop is based on tradition and designed for the modern man. The shop specializes in hot towel shaves, beard and mustache trims, classic haircuts and fades. The ambiance feels authentic and the decor is heavily influenced by nostalgia, making it perfect to take a step back in time for a short time.

Regal Barbers in Downtown

Born from the ashes of the former well-established barbershop in downtown, these barbers have banded together and created a shop that others compare themselves to. Offering cuts, styling, straight razor shaves and eye-brow shaping, threading and a grooming club with members pricing.

JD’s Barbershop in Gastown & the Vancouver Club (members only)

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JD’s is the brainchild of Judah Down, a master barber, hairdresser and colourist of 15 years who switched gears in 2002 and opened his first barbershop in Gastown. This shop caters to men and women and offers specials that include $ off for students and scotch for grooms.

Image via @jdsbarbershop

Barber & Co in Gastown

A member of the Union of Barbers, in league with the Donnelly Group, Barber & Co is the sort of place you’ll come for a cut, trim or shave and then spend the afternoon hanging out. The atmosphere is traditional yet vibrant with 5 locations from Gastown to Main Street.

The Belmont Barbershop on East Broadway

Senior barber, Rich Hope, made his bones as a musician/songwriter and has been with the Belmont for 5 years now. The Belmont is old school, the room is roughed up, and a stuffed deer head keeps watch over the shenanigans that only hockey fanatics would understand and partake in.

FortKnight Barbers in Gastown

All the barbers at FortKnight are proud residents of Gastown and through old time customer service and advice, they strive to give you style. FortKnight is also a great place to unwind, catch up on the latest news and receive topnotch service.

Farzad’s Barber Shop in Yaletown

Blink and you may miss this tiny bastion of cutting and shaving. With 2 barbers – owner Farzad and Noriko from Tokyo – this Yaletown hole-in-the-wall often has a motorcycle and an obsession with perfection. Traditional to eclectic modern, they cut it all, with no attitude.

Man Cave Barber Shop in Yaletown & Metrotown

The Man Cave Barber Shop is supposed to be a place where every man can call his own but times are a-changing. The lady barbers have moved in and there is a regular female client who brings her dog every month. Carrying organic and cruelty-free products, great pricing and a walk-in policy, patrons can be in and out in 15 minutes. Man Cave offers convenience and quality that cannot be beat.

Whether you want a cut, trim and clean, mustache wax and curl, or the full deal with a straight razor and hot towel, picking the perfect barbershop in Vancouver is hard as they seem to be popping up all over. Take our advice and try these first.

This article was originally published in