Touch of Africa is situated in the International Village Mall, right in the Gastown neighborhood of downtown Vancouver. The shop was overflowing with brightly colored traditional and modern African outfits, packed full of hand carved masks and statues, and reminded me of walking through the markets in Durban, South Africa. When I walked into the shop, I was immediately greeted by a very friendly and talkative Senegalese man who I came to know as Omar, the owner. He is passionate and knowledgeable about the items he sells in his shop and the people back on the continent who provide them for him.
Omar sells a little bit of everything. He has brightly colored clothes—both modern and traditional. Jewelry that is hand beaded and jewelry that is made of copper. The back wall is lined with shelves filled with shea butter, black soap, and essential oils. There are statues, masks, and furniture that have been hand carved from ebony and mahogany. Anything you are looking for, there is a good chance that Omar either has it or can get it for you.
The prices for all of the items in his shop seem pretty reasonable, and he offered me a discount if I came back to buy something else. I left with a couple of masks made of ebony and paid about CAD$60—equivalent to roughly USD$45—for the pair.
The next time you’re in Vancouver and you’re looking for a little piece of the continent, make sure you check out Touch of Africa.