Photo: Ariana Gillrie
“The drive,” a.k.a. Commercial Drive, in East Van’s Grandview–Woodland neighbourhood, just might be the city’s most eclectic locale. Starting from Venables Street and heading up to where Commercial turns into Victoria Drive, you’ll find old-school Italian delis, punk-rock vegan eateries and niche new lounges—sometimes all on the same block. It’s an area that truly feels communal, without any see-and-be-seen scenesterism. Come here for bustling Car Free Day, the dense selection of vintage shops or a relaxed afternoon of the three Ps: patio hopping, people watching and picnicking in the park.
Real Estate: Big Changes Coming to Quirky Commercial
A controversial new community plan will bring much more density and taller buildings—including a 24-storey tower at Broadway and Commercial—to the Drive, a favourite area for young families who love its rich character, cultural diversity, deep-rooted community spirit, independent shops and comparatively reasonable prices. It also has a mix of housing, from condos to half duplexes to renovated heritage. But be prepared to duke it out in multiple-offer situations; one home at William and Victoria recently sold in four days for nearly a quarter-million over asking. “In the next 10 to 15 years we’ll see an incredible change,” says realtor and resident Lisa MacIntosh. “The saving grace is that the city has agreed to keep the heart of Commercial Drive as a low-rise commercial area. They want to keep that quirky character.”
Did you know?
The Drive got its start as a “skid road,” but that isn’t to say it was rundown or shabby. Rather, it was literally a road where horses would pull, or “skid,” logs to Vancouver’s first major business, Hastings Sawmill on Burrard Inlet, in the mid-1800s.
Median Age of Residents: 39
Average Monthly Rent: $874
Avg. Total Household Income: $57,864
Between Puccini's final work, a drama about the AIDS crisis in 1980s New York, and a refreshing take on Snow White, there's plenty to see on stage.