And I'm not talking about the run-of-the-mill slop they peddle at supermarkets and 24-hr doughnut shops. We're talking about the local stuff that is uniquely Vancouver. This is the real deal. The classic Vancouver cinnamon bun eschews raisins and nuts, which would only interfere with their pure doughy goodness.
Conveniently, the best spots for bun foraging are in the same neighbourhood: the UBC/Point Grey area. The University keeps its students pumped with cheap carbs and starch with its own unique bun. These are cranked out in the main cafeteria in the student union building (SUB), one dozen to a pan, and circulated around food service depots around campus. Go directly to the source for the fresh hit in the morning, before they're packaged in saran wrap and become damp. The UBC bun is cakey, with a treacle-y coating of brown sugar and molasses. Baked 3-by-4 in the pan, many connoisseurs swear by the two buns in the middle that stay unadulterated by the cooking. No one should neglect the buttery crust of edge and corner buns, however.
In defiance of the UBC bun's dominance, the campus bakery "Blue Chip Cookies" produces its own in small batches. Their bun is distinctly more bread-like and lacks the UBC bun's syrupy coating, providing a nice contrast. These disappear quickly and don't get produced in mass quantities like the UBC bun. The bakery is also located in the SUB.
A short hop east of campus takes you to Alma and Broadway, where "Grounds for Coffee" peddles its own cinnamon bun to bus commuters. Their bun has an oven-fresh homemade moistness to it, distinguishing it from its UBC counterparts. The buttery exterior almost approaches a flaky pastry. It is so delicate, that the bun rapidly implodes when you attack it with knife and fork -- which is almost essential, given its gooey-ness. Ask the cashier about the Tragedy of the Tip-o-Saurus.