Photo: Ariana Gillrie
The West End was named the city’s most livable neighbourhood in VanMag’s recent survey, and with good cause: despite its high density, its tree-lined streets, plentiful parks and popular beaches make it a destination all summer long. It’s home to the annual Pride Parade (the rainbow-painted crosswalks and fuchsia bus stops highlight that this is the city’s original gay neighbourhood), but it’s also an ideal home base for seniors and international students (the most westerly stretch of Robson Street features a robust selection of Japanese and Korean restaurants and groceries).
Real Estate: Beaches and Bidding Wars
With its older buildings, many co-ops and leaseholds, the West End has long been the place to find picturesque value—and those who didn’t mind mustier walk-ups and ’80s stucco mid-rises were rewarded with easy access to Stanley Park and English Bay, lively street life and tight-knit communities. But now prices are rising, and rapidly, as both local buyers and investors snap up almost anything that hits the market. Condos that were $350,000 just two years ago are selling for more than $550,000; a co-op one-bedroom with no view, parking or balcony recently sold for $140,000 over asking. “It’s ridiculous. There’s nothing to sell people, so when something comes on there’s a bidding war,” says realtor and long-time West End resident Rob Joyce. “It’s changing the makeup of the West End and who owns there.”
Did you know?
The Lions Gate Bridge was built with beer money. The Guinness family of Irish beer barons owned a ton of land on the North Shore back in the 1930s and wanted to turn a profit on it, but nobody could get there. So they built the bridge. The toll in 1938 was $1.25 per car (about $20 today).
Median Age of Residents: 47
Average Monthly Rent: $1,700
Avg. Total Household Income: $48,768
No messing around this week: those story slams, double features, and four-course dinners aren’t going to attend themselves.
The West End is changing rapidly, but Denman Street—at least when it comes to food—is as reliable a destination as always.