Women have been making their mark on Vancouver, WA for decades, and their influence shows no signs of slowing down. With more than 60 percent of downtown storefronts now owned by women, the city has become a hub for female entrepreneurship and leadership. Explore the inspiring stories of women and their ongoing contributions to shaping the city's future.
PUBLIC ART & EXHIBITS
Vancouver boasts many public art pieces honoring the women who shaped its history. One of the most prominent is the "Pioneer Mother" statue at Esther Short Park, symbolizing women's strength, perseverance, and courage. Settling near Fort Vancouver in 1847, Esther and her family faced conflict with British officials overseeing the land. Upon repeated attempts to remove the family from the area, Esther (while her husband was facing charges in court) knocked over a French-Canadian Lieutenant with a swift slap to the face. She stood her ground, won her challenge, and the land remains an important part of the Vancouver community.
Find Ilchee, commonly known as "Moon Girl," overlooking the Waterfront Renaissance Trail. The daughter of a powerful Chinook Tribe Chief when Lewis and Clark first visited Vancouver in the early 1800s kneels in the plaza. The statue is meant to honor the Chinook people, who lived on the land from the mouth of the Columbia inland for thousands of years. Some other public spaces that celebrate the heritage, diversity, and resilience of the area's indigenous people include the Vancouver Land Bridge and Cathlapotle Plankhouse.
Located along the Waterfront, the 10-foot-tall "Wendy Rose" sculpture celebrates the legacy of women who entered factories and the labor market during World War II. The sculpture portrays Wendy stepping from the home into the industrial world and into the future, surrounded by local symbols of the era. Wendy stands in the James and Joyce Harder Memorial Plaza, paying tribute to the men and women who worked at the Vancouver Kaiser shipyards during WWII. Find a walking tour with even more public art here!
Clark County Historical Society
For those interested in exploring Vancouver's rich history, the Clark County Historical Museum is currently hosting an exhibit called "(Her)Story," which highlights the important contributions of women in the city's past. This exhibit walks visitors through the steps taken by Southwest Washington’s women leaders, founders, and visionaries. The museum is a must-visit for anyone looking to learn more about the city's unique heritage and the role that women have played in shaping it.
SUPPORTING WOMEN-LED VENTURES
Many downtown businesses in Vancouver are women-owned, providing a strong and vibrant economic backbone for the city. Below are just a handful of the notable female-owned businesses in the area.
Fresh styles are waiting to be found at these independent, female-owned shops that are sure to add some pizazz to your wardrobe. Doppelgänger’s corner spot on the edge of Esther Short Park is ideal to include in your day of shopping, with affordable Pacific Northwest attire and contemporary jewelry. Wild Fern carries high-end brands for both men and women in its airy modern space, and Most Everything brings vintage styles from every era back to life. Just down the street, The Difference has similar goals with personal stylists on hand to make you look and feel your best. While a couple of miles east of downtown, Willows has all the “in” fashions, home décor, and gifts sure to thrill.
Food & Drink
Check out these unique spots that bring character to the city center. Complete with fireside couches and dimly lit bar seating, Niche Wine Bar offers more than 160 wines by the bottle and dozens by the glass—from all around the world. Although co-founded with her husband, the friendly female face of Kafiex Roasters’ two coffee shops emphasizes diverse coffee brewing methods, while proudly supporting certified organic and fair-trade coffee, and empowering women farmers around the world. Named after the owner’s son, Mav’s Taphouse creates a family-friendly atmosphere complete with an arcade and open-air patio. They take bar food up a notch with 26 taps to pair, showing that craft beer doesn’t have to be so serious. In uptown, inspired by her mom, Bonnie Brasure’s Bleu Door Bakery is passionate about bringing you the best and freshest pastries and bread they can produce, each day baking small batches from scratch.
Health & Wellness
Looking for a day of relaxation and wellness? Head to the Vancouver Wellness Studio located in the new waterfront AC Hotel by Marriott. With a dynamic team of holistic health professionals who work together to provide quality, cohesive, care for the mind, body, and spirit. Or find Entheos Health, co-owned by the Davidson’s, a husband-and-wife team offering deep tissue and relaxation massage therapy services. Discover Elevenaerial Vancouver and experience the excitement of aerial yoga as you swing on low-flying aerial silk (reminiscent of Cirque de Soleil) in a beginner-level class that's enjoyable for people of all ages. Owner Amy will be your guide as you explore elevated movements and the sensation of flight. Kilnfolk Studio & Gallery downtown offers pottery wheel classes, pottery painting, and parties for all ages, making it the perfect destination for anyone seeking a bit of art therapy.
From iconic public art pieces that honor women’s legacy to thriving female-owned businesses, Vancouver offers a rich and inspiring experience. So, whether you're a local or a visitor, take some time to explore and immerse yourself in the cultural scene of a city that honors and celebrates the contributions of women.
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