Name: Jennifer MacKay

Title: Owner and Curator

Organization/Business: The Block

Social: @theblockgastown


What do you do and how did you get here?

I am the owner of the retail store The Block and I try to sell people the nicest shoes and clothes that I can find. This store has been open since 1983. I was going to school at Langara College in the late 90’s and at the same time, I was working here for the woman who owned it. I began to manage the store when she went on maternity leave. Eventually, she wanted to get out of the business. She asked me if I would like to take over, I said yes and the rest is history.

What influences and inspires you?

Seeing people out on the street as well as patterns and colours. I love gardens and flowers. Different restaurants and music and other creative businesses other than fashion, inspire me. And my friends and family.

If you had 15 minutes only, in Gastown, how would you spend it?

I would get a coffee at Revolver. I would definitely head over to Six Acres and get a glass of wine and a bowl of their popcorn. And that would be my 15 minutes!

If you had a few hours in Gastown?

I would do the all the above again and pop into Meadow Gifts to buy something nice for my son. I would then go to see the girls at The Good Spirit.

What do you love about the neighbourhood?

I love the mix of people down here. I love that there are fancy people and not fancy people. I like that there are restaurants and stores that have been here for a long time. There are so many great people that work and live in this neighbourhood. It’s a fantastic community. I always either bike or walk through Gastown and it’s a joy to see the changes and how it keeps evolving while still staying true to what it really is.

What’s your most memorable moment or experience in Gastown?

I think it would be on our 10 year anniversary, back in 2009. That was when we opened up the big space here at the back of the store. On the evening of the anniversary, we had a big tarp covering up the space. My family were here with lots of friends present. We dropped the “curtain” and what appeared was this big, beautiful new room. It was a tough renovation and was challenging to complete but It was all worth it!

What’s your philosophy for a good life?

Slow and steady wins the race. Work hard and be a good person. I strongly believe in being kind to people and treating people equally and with respect and I do my best to surround myself and spend time with people that do the same. Surround yourself with family and friends. Enjoy yourself along with way.