This Valentine’s Day I am celebrating my seven year anniversary. No, this anniversary is not with a special person, rather with a place- and that place is Vancouver, British Columbia.
I fell in love with the city of Vancouver and the west coast in 2010 from watching the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. Apart from the amazing athletes and that final Men’s hockey game (what Canadian will ever forget that?), my breath was completely taken away by the beauty of the city and its surrounding environment. From the snow-capped mountains to the sparking ocean and the lush forests to the Glass City, I fell completely in over my head, out-of my-mind in love with the city’s urban yet wilderness-like vibe.
This was all complete infatuation. I never visited the city before let alone the west coast of Canada. I had fell in love with the city just from watching the Olympic coverage on TV and from the deep, soulful tourism commercials that were shown between events (way to go Destination BC- they worked). In 2010, I was living in Mississauga, Ontario and studying at the University of Toronto. I had lived in Mississauga my whole life and if you have ever been there, you know it’s alright. I, of course, was not going to settle for alright. I needed something better. I knew deep down in my heart that I needed a breath of fresh (ocean) air if I wanted to have a happy and healthy life.
Taking in the ocean air along the Sea Wall (2013)
And so the planning began. I was determined to move to Vancouver no matter what it took. I was a total nerd in undergrad and had the grades to prove it, so I figured that the best chance I had to move out west was to do it by going to grad school. I worked hard in my final years in undergrad to get good grades, applied to Simon Fraser University, and was accepted into my grad program. I will never forget the day that I got the call from my supervisor telling me I got in. I had never felt more happy or relived in my life.
I moved to the city on August 23rd, 2013. While it was sad leaving my family behind, I was excited for this new adventure. For me, Vancouver became new place to discover, to live, to meet people, and do amazing things, and honestly… it turned out to be everything I dreamed it would be. The perfect combination of the city’s physical setting, mild climate, laid-back feel, and progressive attitude has put me in a life-long love affair.
Lookin’ good VanCity!
In the past three years, I have explored most (if not all) the neighbourhoods in the greater Vancouver area and have learned to appreciate the beauty, culture and diversity we have in all corners of the city. Every neighbourhood is unique and there is always something new to discover. Whether you’re in the mood for low-key drinks on the Drive with friends, attending a group yoga sesh in Kits, or getting out and exploring the wilderness on The Island, there is something for everyone here.
False Creek views
So, to celebrate my love for this beautiful city this Valentine’s Day, I whipped up a batch of my sweet Sugar Cookies. I was originally going to make Sugar Cookies that looked like those hard “Conversation Heart” candies that we used to get as kids, but with updated phrases like “BAE” and “SQUAD GOALS”. Sidenote: I am really glad it didn’t since the pH is severely >7 (if you get what I mean :P). But after thinking about love and what it meant for me in this moment, I knew it had to be based on my Vancouver romance. So out went the updated phrases, and in went all of my favourite Vancouver neighbourhoods… and attractions in between. These cookies are sure to make any Vancouverite swoon <3
Besides looking so cute, these Sugar Cookies also taste delicious. My recipe has gotten so many compliments over the years as these cookies are perfectly sweet and always just melt in your mouth. The secret here is the combination of butter and vegetable shortening, which makes the cookies rich, flaky and fluffy all at the same time- and that’s exactly what everyone wants in a Sugar Cookie.
Of course, if you don’t want to make heart-shaped Vancouver cookies like I did, you can always cut out the cookies into different shapes and decorate them however you wish. I’ve made flowers and bunnies for Easter, pumpkins and ghosts for Halloween, and even champagne bottle- shaped cookies to celebrate housewarming parties. No matter what event or holiday you are celebrating, these cookies are always a hit!
See the full recipe here!