5 Reasons Why, Even in the Rain, this Cactus will Soon be Flourishing

Last night we dropped by Cactus Club Coal Harbour to check it out on what more than passed for a spectacular Summer’s afternoon. Here’s what we found, inside looking out from that “giant dormer” mentioned further on … Essentially, at the the push of a button, the entire wall of windows slides aside to bring the outside in. They’ve dubbed it the “Sea to Sky Terrace,” and no wonder.  Sitting here you can take in the entire panorama that stretches from the Coal Harbour waterfront (yes, that is Jimmy Pattison’s luxury yacht Nova Spirit moored almost at your feet) right around to the North Shore Mountains, the Lions and more! Well, a picture really is worth a thousand words … (Updated: May 7th, 2013)

Cactus Club Coal Harbour Vancouver  Sea to Sky Terrace: It's a showstopper, TP photo

Cactus Club Coal Harbour Sea to Sky Terrace: It’s a showstopper, TP photo




An impressive way to complete the plaza - Tim Pawsey Photo

An impressive way to complete the plaza – Tim Pawsey Photo

The other day I found myself outside the new  Cactus Club Coal Harbour—across from Vancouver’s Convention Centre West. The newest cactus landmark will open today, March 20th, at 5 pm. To celebrate the opening and Cactus Club’s 25th  Anniversary, the Olympic Cauldron will be lit from 6pm – 10pm tonight.

Cactus-Club-Parasols-TP-photoCircumstances prevented me from being able to tour the inside of the newest Cactus Club as of yet but this seemed like a good time to get a closer look at the exterior, which I’d noticed during Vintner’s Brunch. (Heck, how can you not notice it?!)

Olympic Cauldron and Jack Poole Plaza

Olympic Cauldron and Jack Poole Plaza

I’ll confess to being a bit of a photo-modding geek. Seeing as it was raining proverbial cats and dogs, the light wasn’t exactly cooperative, so these external shots were on the receiving end of an indecent amount of tweaking. What intrigues me is that they now look more like artist’s renditions! Though they’re not …

I’m no longer surprised by what Cactus Club manages to achieve (including what they can put on the plate) but this latest edition exceeded my expectations. It seems to fit so well in the general scale of things—and makes a pretty good statement that after 25 years, Cactus Club is very much part of Vancouver’s dining landscape.


What struck me the most?

A sea of green, TP photo

A sea of green, TP photo

1. I like the way the building invites you into Jack Poole Plaza—which is fast becoming one of Downtown Vancouver’s most popular gathering places.

2. The Cactus Club green roof—which is accessible by both stairs and a glass sided elevator—complements the convention centre roof perfectly—and offers a great view of the cauldron sculpture.

It's impossible not to want to wander down, TP Photo

It’s impossible not to want to wander down, TP Photo

3. Once on top, it’s impossible not to want to wander down towards the water. When you arrive at the point, a look back rewards with a remarkable intersection of lines and forms.

A giant dormer opens up, TP photo

A giant dormer opens up, TP photo


4. A giant “dormer” makes up most of the West Side of the restaurant, a wall of glass with full height sliding panels that produce an expansive, airy opening two thirds across, with sweeping views of Coal Harbour, the park and Lions Gate Bridge—plus, when they get here, even sunsets…

Plus, west side views of Coal Harbour, TP photo

Plus, west side views of Coal Harbour, TP photo

5. It’s hard to find sunny daytime patios downtown. Not so here, because the Cactus Club  façade is set so far back it should get plenty of sun. Expect summertime line-ups for this prime patio real estate.

Looking back at downtown, TP photo

Looking back at downtown, TP photo


Prime patio real estate, TP photo

Prime patio real estate, TP photo


By | 2018-01-21T15:05:26+00:00 May 7th, 2013|Belly's Best Bites|3 Comments

About the Author:

Tim has been covering the food and wine revolution for about 20 kilos. Count 15 kg alone thanks to the blossoming cuisine and wine culture of British Columbia, Canada. Tim’s hallmark is seeking out and recommending value wines from BC and around the world that offer quality at every level. He also scopes out noteworthy restaurants that live up to their promises—and often over deliver. Readers depend on the Hired Belly for his “Belly’s Best” and “Belly’s Budget Best” picks to help them find the right wine for the occasion. He writes, tweets and shoots his own images for columns in the Vancouver Courier and North Shore News. He also contributes to WHERE Vancouver magazine, as well as to several other publications. They include Taste magazine, Tidings Magazine, and Montecristo. His columns are frequently picked up by major newspapers across Canada. Tim is a frequent judge for wine competitions, such as Vancouver Magazine International Wine Awards. He is a founding judge of The BC Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Wine. He is frequently invited to judge at The BC Wine Awards, and others. Tim has traveled to taste in many of the world’s leading wine regions, most recently in Burgundy, Argentina and Chile.


  1. Leeann March 17, 2013 at 10:39 am

    I am totally looking forward to trying this out; preferably with a glass of rosé!

  2. Tim Pawsey March 17, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Which one? 😉

  3. […] the reason for more interesting than usual selections (especially at ‘flagship’ locations like Cactus Coal Harbour or Bentall V) is due to the work of Sebastien Le Goff. Aside from being the group’s service […]

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