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Love thy neighbourhood.

Beloved local businesses in Burnaby Heights.
By Justin Kerby2022-04-28

Neighbourhoods matter a lot. And not just for resale value, either. In their own way, they are alive. They live, breathe, grow and develop. And there’s a sense of each of these places, something that’s impossible to engineer; a certain feeling that comes from knowing the people in your community, and of feeling like you’re a part of it. It’s the exact opposite of when you tell your barista your name is Ursula and they write “Arsela” on your cup. True story. 

If you’ve never had your butcher offer you a free bag of bones for your dog, you’re missing out on that neighbourhood that everyone should be searching for. We’re here to help you find it. 


Reaching new heights. 

Love thy neighbourhood.

Well, maybe “new” is a stretch, but let’s talk about The Heights. With the arrival of the streetcar on Hastings Street in 1908, Burnaby Heights was born. That streetcar may now be gone, but the vibrant community that came to be is still as cool as the other side of the pillow.

Here are a few of our favourite businesses in Burnaby Heights, but be sure to take a stroll down Hastings and visit any of the 330 diverse shops in the area for yourself. You’re bound to find a local favourite that makes you feel right at home. 


La dolce vita. 

Love thy neighbourhood.

They say all roads lead to Rome, and that includes Hastings Street. Head to the entrance at Cioffi’s Meat Market, then look up. The first thing you’ll notice when you stand outside Cioffi’s (other than the delicious scent of their Cucina) is the girl swinging from a neon sign above your head. Her name is Helen, and you can always follow her to our favourite Italian deli and grocery store in North Burnaby. 

Head Butcher Angelo Ciulla has been at Cioffi’s for over two decades, cutting all kinds of meat and serving some of the best sandwiches in the city to boot. Come for the fresh mortadella and salami but stay for the meatball panino, called The Angelo for obvious reasons. Cioffi’s provides food to local businesses across the city, but you can come straight to the source seven days a week and get everything you need to stock your fridge and pantry. The shop is so authentically Italian you might have to resist the urge to pay in Lira. 

Pro tip: Stop in during the Christmas season and pick up some Portuguese chestnuts. Make it your new holiday tradition. 


Go buy the book. 

Love thy neighbourhood.

While atmospheric rivers and heat domes have entered the lexicon in Greater Vancouver, overall, the weather is still more often than not overcast with just enough rain to be mad you forget an umbrella. When the temperature drops and the rain starts to fall, a good book is your best friend. 

Let the team at Companion Books be your guide. Owner Simona Powell’s team of book-loving associates is always keen to help you find what you’re looking for (even if you don’t know where to begin). Tolkien said “Not all those who wander are lost”, and if you want to wander that’s no problem. But when you’re lost, the staff is there to help. 

New, used or rare, buy, sell or trade. Choose your own adventure at Companion. And in case you’re thinking their selection might be smaller than the big guys, don’t worry. You can order any book from Companion that you can get at the chain book stores. Just call, email or ask.


Food for thought. 

Love thy neighbourhood.

If you’ve ever driven down Hastings Street in The Heights and wondered, “What’s that big lineup for?” The answer is Anton’s Pasta Bar. 

In 1983, with three sauces, a four-burner electric stove, and nine tables, Anton’s opened its doors - and there’s been a line out front ever since. Choose from red, white, seafood or clear sauce, select your favourite noodle and enjoy. You won’t go wrong with the Gnocchi Cardinale. Start with traditional focaccia, finish with a slice of Tiramisu, and you’ll understand why you waited in a 20-person lineup to get inside. 

The food is delicious, and the line can really be attributed to two things in our book: fresh pasta made daily, and portions sizes that will leave no one hungry. A to-go box is essential at Anton’s.   


The old and the beautiful. 

Love thy neighbourhood.

When you need that blast from the past, it’s time to take a trip to Moi Vintage. This tiny shop is a hidden gem in the neighbourhood, especially if you love antiques, art, vintage jewelry, or mid-century vibes. 

You can buy or sell here, so if you’ve got some items you’re looking to trade in, it can make for a fun afternoon. If Singer sewing machines, Underwood typewriters and vintage jewelry of all shapes and sizes get your shopping juices flowing, this is the place for you. 


Blow your own trumpet.  Love thy neighbourhood.

Whether you’re playing music yourself or are just an avid listener, Burnaby Heights has shops that you will love visiting. For the musician, Massullo Music specializes in instrument repairs, rentals, and sales. They’ve been in business since 2001, ready to help with everything from cork grease and guitar strings to new instrument purchases. 

If you’re a lover of music, Hooked on Phono is the independent record shop that every neighbourhood wishes it had. The shop sells new and used LPs and CDs and regularly posts new additions to the store on its Instagram page.

Love thy neighbourhood.

Love thy neighbourhood.


Teach an old dog new tricks. Love thy neighbourhood.

Time to let the dogs out. Pet owners know the importance of having a local pet store in their neighbourhood, and Big Dog Little Dog Bakery is just that. They provide high quality choices for your pets, especially in the food department. Their bakery is always turning out new tasty treats for your dog or cat, from birthday treats to everyday trainers. 

The staff is incredibly friendly and welcomes your best friend into the store with you, just in case you want to get an opinion from the real consumer of their products. Sometimes around Halloween they’ll give Fido an extra treat if you bring him into the store in costume, so get your dog’s Batman suit ready. 

Love thy neighbourhood.

A promise for Batman.

It’s hard to put a finger on what makes a neighbourhood a great neighbourhood. There’s a spirit to these places, a meshing of the lives and loves and laughter and losses of all of those who took root there at one time or another. It’s places to eat that would never succeed anywhere else. It’s local grocers whose produce is only outweighed by their personalities. It’s the lives of the people who truly bring the bricks and mortar to life. And that’s worth buying into.

Love thy neighbourhood.

Justin Kerby
Justin Kerby is the founder of Something Great, a digital marketing agency that specializes in real estate branding and content creation. They help companies create social media strategies, newsletters, blog content plans, and advertising campaigns.
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