The Umbrella Shop has been producing beautiful, durable umbrellas in its Vancouver factory since 1935. A third-generation family business, The Umbrella Shop still uses 1950s Singer sewing machines to assemble up to 80 rain brollies a day. Best of all, umbrellas priced $20 and up come with a “life-span guarantee” that includes free sewing repairs (frame fixes, including repairs to rivets, handles and shafts, are subject to a small $5 fee), theumbrellashop.com
MEC, founded by a group of West Coast mountaineers, is many locals’ go-to spot for rain-related gear. Whether the weather calls for light or heavy precipitation, MEC rainwear is designed to cover you in a range of slick situations. The Showers Pass Elite 2.1 jacket for women improves on version 2.0 with waterproof zippers. $275, mec.ca
Known for its wind-blocking, rain-busting jackets and coats, Lululemon even offers water-resistant totes to withstand the wet stuff. Roomy, with soft, polyester sides that expand when you’ve got more stuff to lug, the Carry Me Om bag boasts a plethora of pockets to keep your yoga gear cosy and dry during a drizzle. $128, lululemon.com
Native Shoes came about from a conversation between friends on (where else?) a snowboarding trip. Determined to create comfortable, waterproof footwear, the company makes its Jimmy boots from a lightweight, environmentally-friendly foam called EVA. These durable two-tone rain boots have become a local shoe-rack staple. $113, nativeshoes.com
While the co-founding sisters behind Trout Rainwear do a majority of their designing in Toronto, each storm-resistant jacket in this fashionable-yet-functional women’s collection is made right here in Vancouver. From the sporty Humboldt to the reversible Biwa to the trench-like Gila, even a torrential downpour doesn’t stand a chance against these gorgeous coats’ waterproof material, generous hoods and clever, extra-long sleeves that keep hands dry. $665 at Holt Renfrew, troutrainwear.com
Local designers make gear that’s perfectly suited to Vancouver’s wet weather
When it comes to downpours, Canada’s “Wet Coast” deserves every cliché lobbed its way. It’s not unusual for Vancouver to see more than 160 days and 1,150 millimetres of rain a year. The drizzle nearly doubles on the North Shore, where meteorologists often measure 2,500-plus millimetres of precipitation annually. In 2006, a record 25.5 centimetres of rain fell in Greater Vancouver in the first half of November, washing sediment into reservoirs and forcing some to turn off their tap water for fear of contamination. But Vancouver’s longest-recorded wet spell happened over half a century earlier, in 1953, when the skies opened up on January 7 and the downpour didn’t let up for 28 dreary days.
All this precipitation means that B.C. rainwear designers know what they’re doing when it comes to making stylish waterproof outerwear. Here are our picks for the best local rain gear – just in time for the rainy season (wait, when isn’t it the rainy season?).