Downtown

Downtown by PoYang
Downtown by PoYang

Downtown Vancouver is probably the most vibrant and lively neighbourhood in the city. Home to the Central Business District, huge shopping areas, and high-rise condominium apartments, Downtown offers everything you could crave concentrated over a relatively small part of the peninsula. This trendy and diverse area with about 60,000 residents is one of the most liveable city cores in Canada.

Location

Officially, Downtown Vancouver is bounded by the Burrard Inlet to the north, Stanley Park and the West End to the west, False Creek to the south, and the Downtown Eastside to the east. However, most people use the term “downtown” to refer to a much more extensive area in the city centre, including, for example, the West End, Yaletown, and Coal Harbour.

In Vancouver, literally all roads lead to Downtown. The inhabitants of the neighbourhood don’t need to worry about their mobility. The area is served by rapid transit subway stations, SkyTrain, and Canada Line or West Coast Express commuter rail system. The obstacles created by the fact that the area is situated on a peninsula are overcome by several bridges and ferry lines.

History

The Orpheum Theatre by Wikimedia Commons
The Orpheum Theatre by Wikimedia Commons

The early development of the downtown community is linked to the introduction of railway and streetcar service to the area. These steps sparked growth along Granville Street, with new buildings springing up almost every week. However, Downtown as we know it today started to be formed in the late 1960s and 1970s, as the skyscrapers became the typical feature of Vancouver’s skyline. The boom of trade and importance of the city as an international financial and business centre lured in more and more businesses wishing to have their offices in the centre of the city. Over the rest of the 20th century, Downtown established itself as the true centre of all activity in Vancouver, home to the city’s best clubs, galleries, restaurants, and stores.

Real Estate

The Downtown real estate market is reminiscent of the area itself, never asleep! The types of available homes span from luxury penthouses through medium-sized condos to lovely, street-front townhouses. However, clearly, high-rise apartments form the vast majority of the residential buildings, followed by a much smaller percentage of low-rise apartment buildings. When it comes to the age of the structures, Downtown is probably the most modern part of the city, with most buildings constructed over the past two decades.

Out of over 25,000 households, more than half remain singles, which makes the average Downtown household size significantly smaller than the Vancouver average. About 57 per cent of residents decided to rent an apartment instead of buying, and the average gross rent is at almost $1000.

Overall, living in Downtown is perfectly suited for active residents who enjoy keeping up with the pulse of the metropolis with all its benefits. Although the prices are naturally a bit higher, paying the extra price is certainly worth the luxury of life in this fascinating part of Vancouver.

Parks

Andy Livingstone Park

89 Expo Boulevard

Take refuge from the buzz of the city in this nice park that includes both a range of opportunities for active visitors and quiet spots for those looking for a moment of peace.

Coal Harbour Park

480 Broughton Street

Coal Harbour by Steve Voght
Coal Harbour by Steve Voght

Coal Harbour Park surrounds a local community centre and provides lovely space for relaxation with views of Downtown, the harbour, and the mountains.

Cooper’s Park

1020 Marinaside Crescent

Cooper’s Park includes the site of Sweeney Coperage and Sawmill converted into a playground and skate park. It also features colourful plantes and open, grassy fields perfect for enjoying the expansive views of the city.

CRAB Park at Portside

101 East Waterfront

The park features several interesting sculptures scattered around the park, including two Chinese lion statues. Tip for future sailors: CRAB Park is the best place to watch the Vancouver harbour.

Creekside Park

1455 Quebec Street

Creekside Park is a popular place for summer festivals and events. It also serves as a gateway to Science World.

David Lam Park

1300 Pacific Boulevard

Sculpture in David Lam Park by Taz
Sculpture in David Lam Park by Taz

David Lam Park offers a mix of opportunities for its visitors, whether looking for passive or active recreation. It also features beautiful sculptures set along the waterfront.

Devonian Harbour Park

1929 West Georgia Street

Devonian Harbour Park serves as a beautiful entrance to Stanley Park from Coal Harbour. It includes an off-leash area for dogs.

George Wainborn Park

450 Beach Crescent

Visitors to this lovely waterfront park can enjoy spectacular views of False Creek and the city as well as take a short nap at its huge grassy areas.

Harbour Green Park

1199 West Cordova Street

At the edge of Coal Harbour, this elegant park full of rolling lawns and appealing views is one of the best places to enjoy the fresh sea air in the city. The stylish art deco Mill Marine Bistro Restaurant provides refreshments for visitors.

Sun Yat Sen Gardens

578 Carral Street

Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden by JMV
Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden by JMV

Entering Sun Yat Sen Gardens, an extension of Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden, is like entering another world in the centre of Vancouver. The tranquil park includes a little pagoda, a pond full of waterlilies, and unique rock forms.

Eating Out

Miku Restaurant

1055 West Hastings Street

Miku Restaurant
Miku Restaurant

Miku Restaurant is a temple for all lovers of exquisite Japanese food. The staff here are always careful about the perfect presentation of their meals so that your eyes can experience the food even before you taste it.

Bella Gelateria Handcrafted Gelato

1001 West Cordova Street

Bella Gelateria gained worldwide recognition for its amazing handmade gelato, and it’s pretty certain that you can’t find any better gelato place in Vancouver. The taste is worth the fact that it’s a bit pricey.

Lupo

869 Hamilton Street

A great little old-school Italian restaurant with friendly staff and delicious food, try their boufello salad as the starter, then any pasta on the menu, end the night with tiramisu, and you will probably come back.

Hubbub Sandwiches

859 Hornby Street

Hubbub Sandwiches is a great addition to the downtown food scene. Their sandwiches are great, and the owners seem to manage without raising prices too high. The restaurant itself is very simple with stylish décor.

The Templeton

1087 Granville Street

Choose this trendy retro place for your brunch to make the best of the Templeton. The great vegetarian and non-vegetarian food is complemented by the nice and quick staff. Over the years, the Templeton has become an icon on Granville Street.

Gotham Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar

615 Seymour Street

People at Gotham Steakhouse know and love steaks. Visit this restaurant to taste one of the most skillfully prepared steaks in the city. It’s a great place for special occasions.

Shopping

Shopping by James Alby
Shopping by James Alby

In Vancouver, Robson Street is the ultimate downtown shopping area with more than 100 shops. Regardless of the weather, it’s always packed with people roaming around huge department stores with luxury brands or simple retail stores with bargain clothes. The Famous Pacific Centre Mall can be found within close proximity to Robson Street. This gigantic mall spans three city blocks and is home to the world’s most popular brands. Other big department stores in the area are The Bay and Holt Renfrew.

Community, Cultural, and Arts Centres

Roundhouse Community Centre

181 Roundhouse Mews

This modern arts and cultural centre comes from an award-winning transformation carried out on the old Canadian Pacific Railway building. The reconstructed site includes an original railway turntable that serves as the focal point of the new outdoor plaza.

Coal Harbour Community Centre

480 Broughton Street

The Coal Harbour Community Centre nicely fits the shoreline, as it overlooks Coal Harbour. The centre, which opened in 2000, features a children’s playground, a dance studio, and a gym.

Other Notable Places

Pioneer Place (Pigeon Park)

399 Carrall Street

Pioneer Place is a charming little plaza full of street art that serves as a popular meeting place in the Downtown Eastside area.

Victory Square

200 West Hastings Street

Victory Square Mark Yuen
Victory Square Mark Yuen

Victory Square is home to the First World War memorial, remembering the fallen from Vancouver. The little park surrounding the memorial is often used as a meeting place.

Canada Place

999 Canada Place Street

Built for Expo ’86, with its distinctive sails, Canada Place is a gathering place that brings the community together by organizing some of the most popular annual events, such as the Canada Day celebrations, the Burrard Inlet Fireworks Show, Remembrance Day, and Christmas at Canada.

Vancouver Playhouse

Corner of Hamilton and Dunsmuir

The Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company is one of the most prominent theatre companies in British Columbia. The company is well-known for the high standard of its works, and many premiers of new plays are often performed here.

Rogers Arena

800 Griffiths Way

Rogers Arena by Wikimedia Commons
Rogers Arena by Wikimedia Commons

Home to the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks.

BC Place Stadium

777 Pacific Boulevard

Home to the CFL’s BC Lions.

Stats

You can take a look at the more detailed statistics on age groups, families or households in the report by City of Vancouver.

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