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Why I Love the West End: 3 Residents Share Their Stories

The vibrant community atmosphere and connection to nature make the West End a sought-after home for Vancouver natives and newcomers alike.

March 19, 2019

By H.G. Simon

Just beyond the high rises of the downtown core rests a cozy neighbourhood of friendly faces and quiet walking paths just waiting to be explored.

Despite its many residents, countless enticing options for food and drink and breathtaking views of both water and forests, Vancouver’s West End retains a certain hidden gem quality that attracts people from far and wide.

“The West End is great because you’re still really central, but kind of in this quiet pocket of the city off to the side,” said Julia Hanbury, a public relations associate who’s lived in the area for just over a year. “There’s also such a vibrant community here. My mom lived in the West End in the ‘70s and would always talk about how much she loved it. I actually ended up moving into the building across the street from the one she lived in.”

Sunset views in Vancouver’s West End.
Photo: Courtesy of Jayde Atchison

It’s this ‘oasis in the city’ quality that’s marked the West End as one of Vancouver’s most livable areas— a place where your home is mere footsteps from Stanley Park’s towering treeline, luxury shopping on Alberni, Robson’s expansive options for Asian cuisine and even signature Vancouver restaurants like Joe Fortes.

Madison Taylor, an editor who relocated to the West End from Saskatoon, spoke to the ways in which the area’s communal spirit helped her feel at home during those initial months after leaving the Prairies behind.

“When I first moved to Vancouver, I was freelancing, so I spent a lot of time at home,” she said. “I wanted to get out of the apartment but didn’t have a lot of money, so I’d walk to English Bay and sit for hours listening to music or writing while watching the boats drift past.”

For student Jayde Atchison, it’s the safety and well-being she feels anytime she walks out the door—whether it’s for lunch with friends on Davie, a solo morning run along the Sea Wall or a night out on the town—that makes the West End feel like home.

Lost Lagoon is one of many beautiful spaces within walking distance of West End homes.
Photo: Courtesy of Jayde Atchison

“I love being able to walk anywhere in the downtown area, and if I am unable to walk there are so many transit options,” Atchison said. “In the year-and-a-half that I have lived here, I haven’t had to cab home from a night out. I feel safe walking alone at night, so my social life has become much more lively.”

This small-town vibe wrapped in a big-city aesthetic, which drove Atchison and others like her to choose the West End as their home, speaks to the core ideals of Davie & Nicola. This new property from Vivagrand Developments, being constructed at the heart of the West End, brings with it the ability to own property at the centre of an area as rich in culture and livability as it is in history.

“Downtown Vancouver is a very special place, not only in British Columbia, but on a world stage,” explains Matt Stone, Sales Manager for Rennie, a partner of Vivagrand. “The West End really encompasses all that truly makes Vancouver special, the natural beauty of the water, to the magnificent mountains—it’s jaw droppingly beautiful.”

Davie & Nicola boasts a collection of one-, two- and three-bedroom condos, as well as townhomes, all designed with the luxury of the West End in mind. Everything about this community, from the cozy landscaped courtyard to the imported Italian cabinetry and high-end appliances, evokes an old-world charm that meshes perfectly with the Victorian mansions, Tudor-style and mid-century modern apartments that characterize this historic area. Vivagrand is also working on a presentation centre offering a buyers rare private experience and opportunity to become a part of this coveted neighbourhood.  

“Vancouver’s downtown is able to deliver an urban centre that blends financial, retail and a strong residential community; all co-existing together and contributing to an amazing lifestyle,” Stone adds.

It’s all these attributes—the friendly strangers, walkable streets, inviting restaurants and awe-inspiring views—folded together into a single welcoming package that make the West End more than simply a neighbourhood: they make it a home worth celebrating.

“There’s just a really harmonious feel to the community. In the summer especially, people are playing music in the street and hanging out at the beach. It makes you remember to just pause and look around,” said Hanbury.

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