Robin talks about his Vancouver bucket list, where he takes visiting relatives, and the city’s hidden gem with the popular blog Inside Vancouver
Vancouver-based Robin Esrock is a renowned travel writer, author, speaker, and host of the OLN/CityTV/Travel Channel series, Word Travels. Former adventure columnist for the Globe & Mail, MSN, Vancouver Sun and others, Robin has MC’d the Explorer’s Club Annual Dinner in New York, written for publications including National Geographic Traveler, The Guardian and Chicago Tribune, and been profiled by everyone from theCBC to CNN. After traveling to over 100 countries, Robin turned his attention to Canada for his first major book, The Great Canadian Bucket List. Spanning all 10 provinces and 3 territories, Robin has created the definite guide to 115 experiences one must do, and can only do, in Canada before you die.
Name: Robin Esrock
How do you describe yourself?:
Roguish multimedia gonzo journalist with a knack for telling good stories, getting stuff done, and ending up in places I probably shouldn’t.
Where are your from, why did you move here, how long have you been a Vancouverite?:
I was born and raised in South Africa, and moved to Vancouver in 1999, primarily because it is the opposite of all things Johannesburg.
Why did you write the “Great Canadian Bucket List”?:
Canadians don’t appreciate what they’re sitting on. Right here, in our own backyard, we’ve got the most incredible experiences you can’t do anywhere else in the world, period. I wrote about some of them for a Canada Day column in the Globe & Mail. A publisher approached me about turning it into a book. I couldn’t believe nobody had done it before! I insisted that I actually do these things first, so spent 18 months traveling around the country to tick off the national bucket list.
What are your “bucket list” items for Vancouver?:
Remember, these have to be things you can’t do anywhere else. So while I loveGranville Island, you can find a gourmet food market in just about every major city in the world. What you can’t find is Wreck Beach. Or the Seawall. Or the Grouse Grind.
You have family from South Africa and Brazil. Where do you take your rellies when they come to visit?:
Take anyone for a walk or bike ride around Stanley Park on a sunny day and they quickly stop asking why you moved to Vancouver. I love leading a walk in the Endowment Lands or Lighthouse Park, or taking a stroll on Spanish Banks. It’s important to show visitors, no matter where they come from, places and sites they’ve never seen before.
Hidden gem or secret haunt in Vancouver:
My favourite restaurant, Jambo Grill, on Kingsway. Spicy East African-Indian fusion. The jungle ribs, homemade peri-peri sauce and spiced nylon mogo are mind-blowing.
Favourite festival or annual event:
I’m a big fan of the Car Free Days. It’s wonderful to see how quickly the event has grown, and how the neighbourhoods differ, but still have something “Vancouver” about them. The city is crying out for more free, accessible community events.