Big things in a large place

I learned many things on my recent three week trip to my boyfriend's homeland of Canada, including the fact that stuff is much bigger over there. The country itself is enormous. If Britain were a pea, Canada would probably not just be a brussel sprout but a whole green cabbage. It seems that because there is so much room in Canada, people have no qualms about spreading out. Roads are multi-laned, pavements are expansive, cars are in fact called vehicles because they are usually a pick-up truck or some kind of SUV and calling them a car would be insulting.

One of my boyfriend's friends does drag performances with beautiful paper cut out landscapes and puppets, and he also makes his own costumes. When he mentioned a haberdashery emporium in central Vancouver called Dressew I was eager to pay it a visit. Halloween fever was high and the upper floor of the shop was dedicated to costumes. With signs advertising buttons, buckles and zippers, the lower floor beckoned, and I descended in anticipation.

(NB sorry some of these pictures are blurry. I'm still getting to grips with using an SLR on manual)

I was not disappointed. The button department alone was bigger than any fabric shop I've ever seen in the UK.

I was torn between an urge to dash round the shop tearing lids off button tubes and generally breathing in the aroma of such an amazing selection of trimmings and tools, and the desire to take pictures so that I could share this colossal sewing cavern. Here you can see the outline of my boyfriend Joel, trying to find haberdashery interesting while I take sexy button close up shots.

Here is the overwhelmingly well stocked zip department.

The sign does not lie. There is thread, thread and more thread.

I spent a lot of time in the coloured elastic section. I didn't buy any - I wouldn't really know what to do with coloured elastic - but the shelves were organised chromatically and it was a very pleasant rainbow imbued environment to hang around in.

I had to restrain myself in Dressew due to considerations of suitcase space, but I came away with some packets of themed buttons, including "Cowboy's Paradise" which includes buttons in the shape of a cactus, a cowboy hat, boots and a lizard.

Haberdashery is not the only things to go large in Canada. We visited this immense ice cream parlour that sold 218 different flavours, including curry. 

Canada is also blessed with a chain of supersized second hand shops called Value Village. Here you can see the shirt section of the Value Village on Vancouver Island, and if you look closely you might be able to make out of the back of the shop in the extreme distance.

There is so much stuff in Value Village that they have managed to collect enough cast off trophies to warrant  an entire, dedicated trophy section. Presumably you can decorate your shelves with these and feel like the big guy when neighbours call in for a (I expect very large) cup of tea.

We found a little tiny piece of London at the back of Value Village. I thought this very cool; the humongous metropolis that I call my home miniaturized, represented in Lilliputian stitches and tucked away in the yawning chasm of a single shop in Canada. Who's laughing now London, eh?

Again, I exercised prodigious restraint in Value Village and came away with just one piece of clothing; this house coat with a woven picture of a lighthouse repeated in blocks. I'm wearing it here on the ferry on the way back to the mainland, holding a tiny Canadian human (not mine!) and trying to stop him from making an immense noise!

Canada, all I can say is, you are a whopper.


  1. I'm moving to Canada!

  2. WOW! WOW! WOW! I live in an even tinier country than Britain, and, as you can imagine, fabric and haberdashery shops are consequently even tinier than in Britain. This vast Canadian expanse of haberdashery is simply unimaginable to me :)

    Stephanie from Austria

  3. It is pretty unbelievable. I felt I was in the sewing version of Disney Land. I do also think size isn't everything - one down side is that the variety is overwhelming and a quick trip to grab one particular button is probably impossible! Rosie xx


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