Our 10 best selling t-shirt designs, so far


Launched in November of 2018, our BC Is Awesome online t-shirt store (BCisAwesome.com) is meant to celebrate British Columbia and its weird and wonderful past, as well as things rooted in the present day. We now have over 60 different designs available.

Last month we shared our 5 worst t-shirts designs we’ve released. Below are our 10 best releases, based on the number of them we’ve sold.

10. The Only Seafoods


A take on the classic The Only Seafoods sign on East Hastings Street in Vancouver.

Erected in 1951, the sign practically is the Downtown Eastside when you think of the place in a fond, nostalgic light.

The restaurant itself met a sordid end in 2009 when it was reported that the management was involved in drug trafficking.

This design was art directed by Rory O’Sullivan with creative direction from Andrew Samuel of St Bernadine in Chinatown.

9. Expo Ernie


Expo Ernie was the friendly robot ambassador for EXPO 86. A technological feat about of his time, he was powered by remote control and would greet people with his signature voice.

After the fair wrapped up Ernie went into retirement but is occasionally wheeled out to special events. He’s owned by one of Canada’s richest people, Jimmy Pattison, who also keeps backup parts from non-operational Ernies.

HERE is a documentary we did trying to track down the “lost” Expo Ernie.

8. 1980s Dogwood


A classic 1980s dogwood design that viewers of the six o’clock news will have fond memories of.

It’s not endorsed by Tony Parsons or Pamela Martin, though we’re pretty sure both of them would rock this t-shirt.

7. Kingsgate Mall Official


Opened at the corner of Kingsway and Broadway in 1974, Kingsgate Mall is a beloved Mount Pleasant institution.

Home to around 30 stores including a Buy-Low Foods, a BC Liquor Store, Reitmans and some smaller, more eclectic retailers, everyone is welcome at this gathering place for the neighbourhood.

This t-shirt is presented in collaboration with Kingsgate Mall. One dollar from every t-shirt sold will be donated to their Tree of Giving initiative which helps make needy childrens’ wishes come true each Christmas.

6. Woodward’s Department Store


Launched in 1892 as a single store on Main and Georgia in Vancouver, the Woodward’s department store chain became a community staple. It operated for just over a century in western Canada.

In 1944 the iconic “W” was installed on the roof of their building on Cordova Street, serving as a beacon for shoppers looking for deals on $1.49 Day.

The company went bankrupt in 1993, leaving the fate of their iconic Vancouver building in limbo. Occupied by housing protesters in 2002 in what became knows as the “Woodward’s Squat”, the building was eventually bought by the City. Led by councillor Jim Green, they went on to redevelop it into a mixed-use development with social housing and market units, but not before demolishing most of the original structure in a brilliant public spectacle in 2006.

The spirit of the community that Woodward’s always fostered lives on in the new-ish “W” that is visible from most parts of the city, as well as the residential tenants, non-profits and businesses who now co-mingle, calling the site home.

5. Vancouver Special


One of the most maligned yet beloved pieces of architecture in our city, the Vancouver Special defines an era of construction as well as the makeup of a large portion of East Van to this day.

The Vancouver Heritage Foundation does an annual tour where you’re able to check out the insides of notable Specials.

4. East Van Cross


A take on Ken Lum’s Monument for East Vancouver sculpture, which is itself a take on the old school East Van cross.

Built on Clark Drive for the 2010 Olympics as a public art legacy project, the “cross” had been an East Van staple for decades. Rumoured to be graffiti used by one of Vancouver’s infamous “park” gangs (which you can read about in Aaron Chapman’s The Last Gang In Town), today it is simply a sign of neighbourhood pride.

This design was art directed by Rory O’Sullivan with creative direction from Andrew Samuel of St Bernadine in Chinatown.

3. EXPO 86


Like your favourite t-shirt from the 1980s, only this one doesn’t smell like your uncle.

EXPO 86 impacted our city forever, not only for the months-long event that many of us have memories of, but also the way it introduced us to the world and brought upon an era of change.

The EXPO lands were partly converted into what we now know as the heart of Yaletown. The Cambie Street bridge was built by a cunning mayor, Mike Harcourt, who agreed to support the fair on the condition that we get a new bridge, and the Canada Place convention centre was built because of EXPO as well.

Vancouver would begin another era of change after the 2010 Olympics, and this design hopes to bring you back more than two decades before them, when fanny packs made their first big waves.

2. A&B Sound


An institution for decades, A&B Sound had a huge presence in B.C. in the 90s. If you listened to music you no doubt bought cheap CDs from them, and there’s no way you could avoid the hype around their legendary Boxing Day sales.

Sometimes viewed as too big to fail, the company went bankrupt in 2008. Some blame it on the rise of digital downloads and streaming services, and the business not being able to adapt.

1. Luv-A-Fair


Luv-A-Fair nightclub was a Seymour Street institution from the 1970s until it closed down in the early 2000s.

Initially a gay disco, it transitioned into a new wave and punk haven in the 80s.

It was described by MuchMusic’s Kim Clark Champniss as “a giant warehouse at the intersection where the red light and gay districts met”.

The club closed down in 2003 to make way for a condo development.

This logo (which is one of a few used over the years) was designed by Steven R. Gilmore.

We release multiple new t-shirts every week. Have a look at all of them at bcisawesome.com.

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Bob is our founder and Editor-in-Chief. A family man and outdoors enthusiast in his 3rd decade of publishing, he steers the V.I.A. ship, hosts our 'BC Was Awesome' history TV show and co-hosts our weekly podcast. bobk@vancouverisawesome.com