Neighbourhood Spotlight: Kitsilano, Vancouver
Named after the Squamish chief August Jack Khatsahlano, Kitsilano (affectionately known as “Kits”) was home to the Squamish people. This original section of forest and swampland was developed into a picturesque suburb as an alternative to living the downtown West End lifestyle and the rows of single-family houses continue to dominate Kitsilano’s scenery and spirit. Most people know Kitsilano as the refuge of American counterculture runaways of the 1960s, but hippies made room for yuppies, and today Kits still retains its individuality, charm, and progressive mentality.
Other than the grad student chilling in every basement suite, apartments, condos, and craftsman-style dwellings are full of young families giving this neighbourhood the nod of being excellent for nurturing growing families wishing to settle down and graduate from their earlier starter homes. It’s not hard to understand Kitsilano’s allure given its many assets.
Kitsilano is the epitome of “close enough but at a comfortable distance”. Centrally located between Fairview and Point Grey, north of Kerrisdale and south of English Bay, Kitsilano has convenient access to UBC and downtown Vancouver. A plethora of transit options (including 2, 4, 9, 14, 16, and the 99 B-line busses) ushers you to and from the city core and its eastern neighbourhoods. Safe, quiet, and family-oriented, Kitsilano families often speak of how, even through diverse residents, there are always mom and dad groups, play dates, and activities curated for the most discerning parent and child.
Most families’ top priority in choosing a residence is the school catchment and Kitsilano has some of the best public primary and secondary schools in the province, a testament to its concentration of high achievers and creative powerhouses as well as the dedicated parent involvement in these schools. (Kitsilano was the first home of Greenpeace and the Green Party of BC and Canada). Most families opt to provide a full regiment of extracurricular activities, which fits in well with the dedicated art and music studios, tutoring institutes, and sports facilities concentrated in the neighbourhood. Yet, the motto is work hard, play hard. Granville Island, the Museum of Vancouver, the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, Vanier Park’s annual Bard on the Beach, Kitsilano Community Centre and skating rink, Kitsilano Pool, and not to mention the gorgeous stretches of beaches will keep families of any age and size busy.
Shopping & Restaurants
The bulk of shopping and eating takes place on two main streets – West Broadway and West 4th Avenue. Kitsilano has some of the best independent retailers and neighbourhood gems. Children’s boutiques like Pebble and Sparkle & Junebug are institutions, offering youngsters a boutique experience. A You’ve Got Mail-esque children’s bookstore – Kidsbooks – contains spectacular choices, with many titles not available in big retail chains like Chapters. Similarly, for the grownups, Kestrel Books, Tanglewood Books, and Pulpfiction Books, are treasure troves of local and world literature. Some of the best ethnic food in the city of Vancouver is located in Kitsilano. Standouts include Linh Café and Mr. Red Café for Vietnamese, Au Comptoir for French, and Las Margaritas for Mexican. Never have a dull bite or purchase courtesy of Kitsilano’s own Business Improvement Association, Shop West 4th.
A Little Something for the Adults
For some, the day doesn’t truly start until the children are asleep. Enjoy a little bit of free time within the neighbourhood with some unique activities. The kitsTREEmap is a free, self-guided tour of the neighbourhood on foot experiencing some of the best foliage in the Pacific Northwest. For a more sedentary approach, Fifth Avenue Cinemas is a 19+ venue playing mostly independent and festival films. Don’t forget to drop by Broadway Wine Shop to take a little something home.
These factors contextualize the very hot property market in Kitsilano in the recent years. Strong demand for rentals has landlords complaining about long lines to view property. Similarly, the intense demands of purchasing property have increased real estate values in Kitsilano up to almost twenty percent in one year. New developments are mostly low-to mid-rise condominiums, although families still lead the single-family house buying and renting race. These statistics only reinforce what Kitsilano best offers: security, flexibility, and opportunity.
Are you looking for a Kitsilano rental property? View our property listings which are updated daily, or contact us directly our tenant placement is 100% free. Rent It Furnished connects renters and managers of luxury properties in Vancouver. Please contact us to find out more.
Written by Sarah Wang