June 1, 2011
From the foot of Granville Bridge to West 15th, retail junkies haunt Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, and Chapters, balancing lattes all the while (there’s one Starbucks for every five blocks). But step just a block off that credit-card highway and you’ll discover a less showy tree-lined neighbourhood of 30,000. Most residents (94 percent) live in apartments; families are sweet and small, often composed of a 30-something and a dog. It’s true that household incomes are higher than average (about $5,000 higher), but the shopaholics who dominate the neighbourhood’s brand are actually visiting from all quarters of the city. It’s a little retail theme park, really; and, like all theme parks, it’s surrounded by humble, quiet locals.
MEET THE NEIGHBOURS
Adam Kay | Lawyer/Life Coach
With money no object, this 36-year-old Toronto native had only two requirements for his new condo: his home-office had to bring tranquility to his day, and a local theatre had to occasionally stage something fresh.
The Search Kay scouted over 75 properties in Kits, Point Grey, and Commercial Drive. (He didn’t want the downtown buzz of Yaletown or Coal Harbour.) Fairview was the logical choice: quiet and cultured, but only a short commute from downtown clients. He also wanted to buy in a neighbourhood with a low risk of price deflation. “The housing bubble doesn’t impact higher income areas,” he says. “We either buy our homes in cash or have job stability that allows us to make mortgage payments.”
The Home In a 1980s tower, Kay found a newly restored condo with wrap-around views and original wood-burning fireplace. In addition to two bedrooms, this 1,250-square-foot home is kitted out with an industrial-size kitchen. A private elevator sealed the deal.
The Neighbourhood Granville Island Market is a favourite (for fresh produce, bought among weekend crowds), as is nearby Kitsilano (for its burgeoning culinary scene). Dinners at home are often takeout meals from Rangoli. And at the nearby Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, Kay has season tickets.—As told to Ayden Fabien Férdeline