While Downtown Vancouver seems to get the most of the love, East Vancouver will always be my favourite part of town. Sure, Downtown has Science World, all the big name stores, and not one but two stadiums — but East Van is full of all sorts of hidden treasures of the smaller-scale variety. It’s a wonderful place to raise a family, with lots of parks, schools, community centres, locally owned shops and restaurants. But did you know it’s also home to many FAERIE FAMILIES?
The other day I chanced upon a mysterious tiny door at the bottom of a tree in my neighbourhood…a faerie door! It instantly sparked my curiosity. I packed up my water bottle, camera, and enlisted the help of my trusty canine pal, Chiri (dogs are handy for sensing anything out-of-the-ordinary that us humans might miss). And off we went by foot (and paw) to sniff out more signs and clues of our newly discovered whimsical neighbours. Who knows, if we were lucky, maybe we’d even catch a glimpse of some of these notoriously elusive fae folk themselves…
Faerie Door (not far from Fraser St. and East Broadway): We started at the site of the faerie door that inspired our mission. At first glance it looks like there may be someone home, but upon further inspection it appears to just be some plastic figurines of a human lady, a little girl, and the micro-est micro pig. (The pig was an instant giveaway. There’s no such thing as real micro pigs.) Did the faeries leave them there as decoys? My guess is the true occupants are on vacation, and don’t want anyone disturbing their dwelling while they’re gone. It’s like the faerie equivalent of leaving a lamp on and having the neighbor pick up your newspaper.
From there we headed East towards Gandview-Woodland, a rumoured faerie hot spot.
Left: Who put these boxes all the way high up on this tree stump on Napier Street? …Seems too illogical for human work. How could you even reach what’s inside? I suspect this could be where the local faeries stow away their treasure collections (likely twigs and shiny things).
Right: Hmm.. not sure. Those entrance holes seem like a tight squeeze for faeries. Then again, real-life material obstacles like measurements and physics don’t really apply to otherworldly entities.
Neighbourhood Book Exchange Box (Charles St. and Lakewood Dr.): Okay, this one isn’t a faerie house; it’s a neighbourhood library box, where you can borrow a book or leave one for someone else to read. But if I were a tiny magical creature this seems like a good place to hide on a rainy day and catch up on some reading. No luck here on this day, since it’s sunny out. The search continues…
Epic Tree (Somewhere close to Victoria Dr.): FINALLY A FAERIE! She must be a very important one too, since it appears that she’s being faithfully guarded by her noble gnome friend. (Though I get the sense she’s quite capable of sticking up for herself. It’s nice of her to humour him!) This tree was actually full of faeries, dragons, birds, butterflies, and all manner of fantastical beings. Though these creatures were very camera shy and must have hexed my lens because they mostly just showed up as bright silver blurs. I highly recommend seeking this tree out to explore it firsthand.
Front Yard Faerie Village (Southward meander from the “Epic Tree”): **That’s all the location clues I’m giving for this last one!** This is what I imagine faerie co-op housing would look like. There are teeny houses of all shapes and sizes sprinkled through this garden! Not to mention, lots of winged pixies crouching behind plants, lounging around with their familiars, and dreamily watching the passersbies. I’m not sure what the rent is like, but if I were small enough I’d consider moving in.
These are just a few of the faeries hiding around East Van. Do you recognize any of these spots? I’d show you more but they are a private bunch, so I don’t want to give away all of their secrets.
Why not plan your own faerie walk and see what and who you may stumble across? (HINT: Faeries are everywhere so you likely won’t need to wander far..but sometimes they are tricksters and will disguise themselves as squirrels and pigeons!) Even if you don’t spot any faeries at first, you’re sure to discover some equally interesting finds, if you keep your eyes out and your mind open…
Written by Miriam:
Miriam, one of our On Call Booking Agents, is originally from Toronto and has been living in Vancouver since 2010. She graduated from Trent University with a joint degree in Women’s Studies and Cultural Studies. Some of her favourite things include books (of the picture and non-picture variety), ghost stories, and making noises on her ukulele.