Why I Love Mt Pleasant: On hidden gems, Gene Coffee and Budgies Burritos

Jennifer Chernecki


This is the third feature in our series written by residents who love their neighbourhoods (The West End and Yaletown preceded it). Want to pitch your own story about what makes yours awesome? We’d love to hear from you. Email contact@vancouverisawesome.com.

First off, let’s get on the same page here. I am rich enough to say I have made my home in Mount Pleasant for a decade. I am poor enough to say that I live cheque to cheque.


Sunday night at the Actors Chapel. Photo: Jennifer Chernecki

On Sundays I go to Scene Study class at the Actor’s Chapel Vancouver. The chapel is run by Scott Bromley who is an authentic LA coach both in experience and manner. Expect to be pushed and stretched and churned out, audition ready. Not only will you gain essential footage for your demo, there is a lot of exchange of resources and a lot of cute players. The majority of the class are working actors or dedicated beginners, so prepare to go all the way. And don’t forget the cardinal rule – keep your cell on silent unless you want a true film industry faux paux experience.


Thrifting. Photo: Jennifer Chernecki

On Mondays I run errands. Normally it goes against my clothes horse ways to reveal my thrift stores sources on such a public platform, but for the sake of this article I will share my secrets. For fashion on a dime, visit St. Vincent de Gaulle. It is a true treasure where you can score real vintage for dollars. I picked up a reversible gold lamé & leopard print lightly-quilted jacket for a few dollars. When I have a bit more time, I’ll visit the Rag Machine, to see what the hipsters have brought us.

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Levee the pup. at Emily Carr Photo: Jennifer Chernecki

On Tuesday I take a break from the Main Street scene and wander down to the New Emily Carr campus. The culture is starting to thrive down there and I’m sure it will become a regular coffee shop stop for me in the next year. I stop in at the Equinox and Monte Clark Galleries to contemplate expensive art and see old friends making it big. I bump into an Emily Carr printmaking professor and we talk shop for a bit. There is currently issues with the upcoming sky train plans and the land the 2 galleries sit on. I find it hard to believe that a solution can’t be found to conserve this perfectly symbiotic relationship between the galleries and the University.


Stan, the proprietor of RATH Art Supply. Photo: Jennifer Chernecki

On Wednesday I visit RATH Art Supply, a staple in our neighbourhood for artists and creatives alike. I am currently the featured artist in the RATH window and I have chosen to use the opportunity to do some live painting. I round out the last few hours of my work day, sitting in the window, finishing off long, drawn out oil painting endeavours and listening to the war stories and queries of the never-ending stream of patrons that pass through this cherished little shop – it’s utopic.

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On Thursday I leave the hood. My adventure pals and I walk to a small gallery under the Granville Bridge for a private opening. On other days I like to walk or bike to Commercial, or to Gastown, Vanier Park, Downtown or even up to Queen Elizabeth park. There is a reason it is called Main Street and that is because it was always planned to be the centre of the city. Being so close to all my favourite destinations makes it hard for me to consider living in any other neighbourhood.


Idace Studios. Photo: Jennifer Chernecki

On Friday I take in a Feature Friday at Idance Studios, where I have been a member for many years. Idance is a beginner-intermediate dance studio and many members and most of the teachers work in professional dance or acting. If you want to try it out, start with a Feature Friday – they are generally a little more party and a little longer than a typical daily class. This feature was called Salsa Fusion and was taught by a firecracker Cuban woman. Although I have training in Salsa, it was the first time I experienced Conga or Rumba. I found the breakdown and choreography challenging but repetitive enough to be fun and a great workout. The class had a fairly decent guy representation that night at about 25%.

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Gene Cafe. Photo: Jennifer Chernecki

On Saturday, I take in a hallowed Mount Pleasant tradition with Coffee at Gene, where I scribble in my notes for this article. At Gene you can see famous people or super cool hipsters, but I really love it for the Americanos and guarantee of bumping into a friend. I sit outside, people watch, gaze at murals and our treasured heritage buildings which make up the triangle hub of our neighborhood. I prep myself for another busy week of the same. Besides the constant financial pressure of living in the neighborhood, I love it all. I put in another shift at RATH and finish the evening with another local favorite: Budgies Burritos (for the sake of this article, of course). Life is sweet, challenging and interesting, and I am satisfied.


Jennifer Chernecki is an Artist and Website Consultant living in Mount Pleasant.