The last time I visited the River Market in New Westminster was in 1993, I think. It was unchanged, back then, from my first visits in the late 80s with my parents. All tubular green metal handrails, concrete and exposed metal beams – the Expo 86 look. Which is no surprise really, as it had been built as the original terminus for the Skytrain, in preparation for Expo. It was plagued with a random, and fleeting, selection of tenants, which left the whole place feeling like a third-rate mall.
Fast-forward to 2010, and Westminster Quay is now the River Market, and much cooler.
We picked an overcast Sunday to make the journey by Skytrain, as a train journey is one of the coolest things ever in the whole world for Elliot. The whole New Westminster Skytrain station has been built up, with loads of little shops and cafes, it reminded me more of a UK train station – no bad thing at all. A short walk over a bridge and you’re there.
It’s not as big as Lonsdale Quay, the River Market’s North Vancouver cousin. The ‘Hungry Floor’ collects all the restaurants in one place, including Re-Up BBQ’s only permanent location, Wally’s Burgers and Crepe des amis. I picked up a little person crepe special of a ham and cheese crepe and hot chocolate, it was perfect for Elliot. My husband had pulled pork from Re-Up and I wish I had too, my burger from Wally’s was not great. It’s worth noting that you can get Re-Up BBQ packaged to take home and reheat here, as well as their incredible bacon and sauces. There’s also the Paddlewheel Pub or Wild Rice if you’re looking for table service.
I didn’t get a chance to check out Donald’s Market or the Great Wall Tea Co. And of course it started raining as soon as we finished eating and wanted to head out to explore the boardwalk along the Fraser River.
The upstairs tenants are what make me wish we lived closer. The Network Hub, offering hotdesking temporary office space, has a location up there, as well as the Vancouver Circus School. There’s a neat looking space for music lessons called Music Box too.
We’ll definitely come back and explore further another time, if for no other reason than I need to try the super busy Tre Galli Gelato Caffe.