Photo: Ariana Gillrie
Nowhere else in the city has a sense of place quite like Chinatown. It’s where you find a slick new art gallery inside a 128-year-old heritage building, a trendy cocktail bar next to an old-school open-air grocery, and the preternatural calm of a classical Chinese garden between high-rises. It’s an area with some of Vancouver’s richest historical character, with a renewed popularity and some great new places to visit.
Real Estate: A Historic Neighbourhood in Transition
Like Strathcona, Chinatown is an area in transition—and its rich cultural character, along with its relatively affordable new condos, has transformed the neighbourhood into a hot spot for young buyers. The development push has also been controversial, with many expressing concern that long-time residents and business owners are getting pushed out—and when the viaducts go, the area will face an even bigger shift. “It reminds me of New York’s Meatpacking District. It’s these old funky shops and in between them are new bars and restaurants,” says realtor Rick Stonehouse. “All of a sudden it’s become this vibrant, young, hip place to be.”
The controversy over a proposed Keefer Street development begs a big question: can we preserve our heritage and keep our neighbourhoods alive?