Colour-coded by neighbourhood, the concept is to grab the deck, give it a shuffle, and draw out a random location when you’re ready to hit the town. I looked through and made some observations. Neighbourhoods include: Kitsilano, Downtown, South Main/Cambie Village, South Granville/Granville Island, and Commercial Drive.
The deck is great for discovering new places to have breakfast, lunch or dinner around Vancouver and it also offers discounts. For example, if you shuffle and cut the deck finding Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe you can stop on in and get a free root-beer float with your purchase.
The cards are waterproof (handy for Vancouver weather), the website says the reviews are all honest and that no outlet could pay to be a part of the deck, every card has an exclusive discount or incentive and the decks are available in English, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese.
The selection for downtown makes up almost half the deck with fewer options available for South Main and Commercial Drive. However, they did manage to include some of my personal favourites. I admit that at first I thought the cards were one-sided and thought that the selection was pretty scarce. However in a moment of true genius I flipped over the cards to reveal even more listings.
One thing that threw me off was the “Canadianisms” card which is obviously aimed at visitors. It explains some key terms such as “Canuck”, and “The Grind”. There’s nothing terrible about that, it was just slightly odd but I suppose useful for those who really wanted to know what a “Cougar” is.
The downfall is that updates aren’t too easy to do on the printed cards but Travellers Deck does have an updates section of their website. If they had a iPhone version it would be good, sort of like the shake n’ shuffle Urbanspoon application.
I think they have some nice dining selections and even though some of the suggested retail spots are a little too rich for my blood, it does showcase local stores. The discount on the card also helps ease that a bit, for example you can get 10% off at John Fluevog, 10% off at Zebra Club, 15% off at Gravity Pope.
This old-school method does have its charm though and would be great for people who do not live in Vancouver or those who want to explore other neighbourhoods. Also, not everyone has a smart-phone and being available at major retail outlets gives tourists optimal access to the deck.
I’ll be giving away one of my review decks and keeping the other around for when the in-laws visit and we’re looking for a great place to eat, outside of the downtown core perhaps. Travellers Deck has also offered up a gift certificate for Charm Modern Thai, which is listed in the downtown section of the cards. You can read a review of the restaurant on the Chow Times blog.
To enter to win a Travellers Deck for Vancouver and a $75 Charm Modern Thai gift certificate leave a comment on this post listing your favourite place to eat or shop in the city.
You can also re-tweet http://bit.ly/ax5hPn & @Miss604 if you can fit your favourite within a 140 character update.
Update February 8th 2010: The winner drawn is Laura, congratulations!
Fine print: Contest will run until February 8th, 2010.
Disclosure: cmp.ly/2 I received two decks and will be keeping one of them.