Nelson the Seagull, bakery and cafe in Gastown, Vancouver

The alley beside Nelson the Seagull smells of piss.

Perhaps a perfect example of Vancouver’s gentrification crisis are successful, trendy cafés along streets and alleys that are home to some of the city’s lowest-income people, many of whom make their living by selling recycled goods; Hell’s version of a sidewalk sale. I would have sat outside in the pleasant, cool breeze had it not been a risk that the stench of urine would blow my way.

This isn’t to say that Nelson the Seagull is in a bad location. It is a great location, along the Carrall Street bike route, raw and real, impossible to ignore the gaping hole in our society’s fabric. The café itself is in a large space with high ceilings, “double the size we were looking for,” says co-owner Jodi. There are a variety of small and large tables with school chairs, as well as an open kitchen. The space has a heritage vibe, reminiscent of McMenamins’ Kennedy School in Portland, Oregon.

The café offers meat or vegetarian sandwiches on their house-baked bread, ploughman’s lunch and poached eggs for breakfast with add-ons of roast beef, tomatoes and mushrooms.

Visit Nelson the Seagull in Vancouver’s Historic Gastown, Monday-Friday 8am-5pm Saturday&Sunday 9am-5pm.

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