Nancy Cottingham Powell

Nice By Nature


Nancy Cottingham Powell is the Executive Director at North Van Arts, a non-profit organization dedicated to maximizing the intrinsic value of arts of all mediums in North Vancouver.

Nancy’s background is steeped in the arts, training to be in front of the lights at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in California, then evolving into behind-the-scenes production during Vancouver’s Expo ‘86. Her love for the arts led her to work with a wide variety of festivals, events, and arts organizations including Made in BC, MusicFest Vancouver, CelticFest Vancouver, Pacific Baroque Orchestra, and founding the Sechelt Arts Festival, a multi-disciplinary community arts event on the Sunshine Coast.

Nancy’s passion has now led her to her role at North Van Arts where she is leading the charge of creating a Cultural Map of the North Shore.


1. Presentation House Theatre

“This intimate theatre has been around since the mid-1970’s and is an incubator for original work that tours nationally and internationally. The company brings in some pretty amazing local and touring shows as well. Definitely worth checking out if you are a theatre buff.”


2. Mythos Taverna

“If you want really good Greek food, good service, presented in a beautifully appointed Greek-style atmosphere, this is a great choice. My husband and I loved Pasparos (the original restaurant) and the new owner who changed the name to Mythos has done a great job of continuing the tradition of making you feel like you’ve been transported to Greece for a lovely evening of food and good company (with the occasional belly dancer thrown in).”


3. Shipyards Brewery District


craft beer

Lower Lonsdale has become an amazing hub of brewpubs. It’s super fun to choose a number and do a walking tour, getting flights at each place. My husband, son, and I are working our way through the District. Lots of variety, friendly staff, and you get your exercise while drinking!”


4. Cityscape Community Arts Space


Cityscape Community Artspace

“This community gallery has been around since 2001 and is a showcase for artists to do group, themed shows about topics that are important to them. They also have an art rental programme that houses amazing work for reasonable rental and sale prices. There’s a small shop as well that’s filled with unique local artists wears.”


5. 32 Books

“This is one of the last standing independent bookstores on the North Shore. Nestled in the Edgemont Village, I love heading there to browse their great selection of interesting titles, then head to one of the many unique coffee shops in the Village to start my read.”


6. Salmon House on the Hill

“Nestled on the side of the mountain in West Vancouver, I’ve been going to the Salmon House since I was in high school. Great lounge, a wonderful selection of West Coast seafood, and a stunning view of Metro Vancouver and beyond.”


7. Andrew’s on 8th

“This is one of the unique coffee shops in North Van. Housed in an old house, they have great coffee and tea and yummy homemade soups, sandwiches, and sweets. The atmosphere somehow feels ‘authentic North Van’ with lots of eclectic mismatched antique tables, chairs, sideboards, and fittings, with indoor and outdoor seating options.”


8. Polygon Gallery


Polygon Gallery“This awesome new facility right down on the waterfront by the Seabus terminal and Lonsdale Quay Market houses a media arts society that specializes in exhibiting digital visual work from renowned artists across the province, country and internationally. The shows are world-class and worth checking out, along with their amazing gallery shop and bookstore. The view from the second-floor gallery is to die for!”


9. North Shore Spirit Trail

“The Spirit Trail is a fantastic waterfront trail that ties together the North Shore. I think it starts around the Second Narrows Bridge and ends just before Park Royal, but hooks into other existing trails (like the West Van seawall walk) so you can almost do the whole North Shore. This is a great way to walk or ride a bike to soak in the harbour scene, with lots of amenity stops along the way to grab a bite or do some shopping.”


10. Consignment Shopping 

“Collette’s Frocks and Hunter & Hare are two great consignment stores in The Shipyards District – Lower Lonsdale. I love upcycling and these two consignment stores make it really easy! They have quality, often designer clothes, for really great prices. The clothes are in such great shape I have a hard time remembering they are pre-owned. I have found some really unique pieces that help add flair to my work and play!”


11. Seymour Art Gallery

“This is a great gallery tucked in the heart of Deep Cove. They present rotating contemporary exhibitions with some really interesting themes. They also have a great shop with a wide selection of local artists wears.”


Discover more about arts and culture experiences on Vancouver’s North Shore.




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