Neighbourhood Spotlight: Vancouver’s West End
Vancouver is home to an eclectic mix of downtown neighbourhoods, from posh areas like Coal Harbour, the cobblestone alleyways and history rich Gastown, to the trendy streets of Yaletown. With a downtown core as walkable as Vancouver’s, it is no wonder so many people choose to call this urban jungle home. Locals know that living in the midst of a downtown Vancouver is rich in outdoor lifestyle activities, including beaches, the nearly 30 km worth of Seawall pathways in one of Canada’s mildest climates, is a true privilege.
While we often hear about the glitz of some of downtown’s more lustrous neighbourhoods, there are a few quaint spots with their own bustling communities right in the heart of our favorite city. One such downtown Vancouver neighbourhood is The West End. As the most densely populated, intensively active portion of the Lower Mainland, it shares the peninsula with the Downtown Central Business District.
Festivals all summer long
Considered one of the most residential and easy going neighbourhoods, The West End proves this with its plethora of diverse attractions, regular action packed summer festivals, access to 3 public beach areas, and of course the spectacular Stanley Park. The West End includes Davie Village- traditionally a hub for the city’s LGBTQ community, and Denman Street. Together both streets provide an abundance of local shopping and restaurants. The opposite end of The West End offers easy access to famous Robson street and high-end shopping like Versace on Alberni.
During hot summer days reprieve can be found at Second Beach’s, outdoor pool, or sit nestled in the shade in the park area. With festivals like PRIDE, the Honda Celebration of Light, Car Free Days and more, there is never a dull summer moment. Find yourself enjoying the neighbourhood favorites like Delany’s, The Marble Slab or The Cactus Club right on the beach at English Bay. The famous Stanley Park calls The West End home too- boasting 9 km of trails that loop around the entire park, the Vancouver Aquarium nested within the park and wildlife and fauna that call the vast greenspace home. Locals can be found running the 8.5km Stanley Park loop or cycling through on the trails for a relaxing way to spend an afternoon.
Local hot spots
During the cooler months, a hot bowl of Pho and incredible spring rolls at local favorite Café Phi is both comfort and a foodie’s delight. Shopping in The West End is also a treat, with homegrown chains like Ayoub’s– famous for their vast assortment of nuts and Middle Eastern fare. Find more local grocers tucked away on Cardero street, late night comfort cravings at True Confections dessert only restaurant or at Nero’s on Robson. New neighbourhood hot spots include Brekka, famous for their 24-hour cafes and European baking or make your way up Nelson street to find the Greenhorn café, where locals can be found enjoying gourmet goods in an unsuspecting location.
The Joe Fortes Library offers neighbourhood bookworms a branch of the Vancouver Public Library, located in the West End Community Centre, as well as The City of Vancouver public services, like fitness facilities, community programs and voting centre.
Finding a place to call home
The neighborhood offers the friendliness of a small community in a big city and rest assured, you will know your neighbors here. When it comes to finding the perfect place to call home, options range from heritage homes renovated into character apartments all the way to upscale modern high rises with all the amenities you could possibly need. Walk down those autumn streets bathed in crimson leaves or wait until spring to bask in the marvel of cherry blossoms and giant magnolias. The trick is to secure a home in this desirable neighborhood where rentals are snatched up almost as soon as they’re listed. Keep your eyes open and sign up for the Rent it Furnished new listings feed to find a West End rental.