Kitsilano by Wikimedia Commons
Without a doubt, Kitsilano is one of the most popular neighbourhood picks in Vancouver. “Kits,” as locals call it, has evolved from a mecca of countercultures to a dynamic neighbourhood inhabited by young professionals who enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the place. The area is full of hip cafes, bookstores, and opportunities to hang out with friends and family within reach of downtown. Welcome to our Kitsilano guide!
Kitsilano is bordered by English Bay to the north and stretches as far as to 16th Avenue to the south. Its eastern margin lies on Burrard Street, and Alma Street marks the border of the neighbourhood on the west. It boasts close proximity to two amazing beaches — Kitsilano Beach and Jericho Beach certainly contribute a great deal to Kitsilano’s unique atmosphere. While dwellers can enjoy being located away from the stress and noise of the downtown, they can still reach the city centre in almost no time. Two electoral districts overlap the Kitsilano area, Vancouver-Point Grey and Vancouver Fairview.
You can get to Kitsilano by public transportation through buses number 2, 4 and 9.
Squamish by Wikimedia Commons
At the beginning of the 20th century, Kitsilano (then called Greer’s beach) used to be a camping spot for a few vacationers during the summer, and Kitsilano Indian Reserve, named after a Squamish chief, was located east of the beach area. It was the introduction of the streetcar line in 1932, which had a “loop” at Arbutus & Cornwall, that made the area easily reachable from the city and sparked the future boost of the neighbourhood.
Since living costs in Kitsilano remained low after WWII, during the 1960s it became home to independent communities. Full of hippie students, artists, and activists, Kitsilano gained its amazing community spirit and hasn’t lost it ever since. Over time, the neighbourhood gentrified, as the local residents turned into young professionals and the desirable location continued to attract people employed downtown. These days, there are still remnants of Kitsilano’s counterculture past in numerous cafes and pubs that haven’t changed much since the ’60s, as well as in yoga centres and organic markets.
It is also interesting to know about one great historical mark linked to activism in Kitsilano: Greenpeace was founded here and had its first office opened on Cypress Street in 1975, and consequently, the very first offices of the Green Party of Canada were located here.
Multi-unit dwellings form the largest part of Kitsilano’s residential housing — both houses divided into suites and apartments. Most condos can be found in the north of the area, often offering spectacular views of the beaches. Houses are generally situated in the southern part of the neighbourhood. While homes in Kitsilano were perfectly affordable throughout the ’60s, it is by no means cheap these days. The average list price reaches as high as about $980,000. It is notable that most dwellers (about 60 per cent) choose to rent rather than buy a home.
The average gross rent in 2010 was $1,041 according to real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver statistics. However, in return for paying a bit extra, the inhabitants of Kitsilano get to enjoy a great standard of living, being close to parks, beaches, shopping areas, and downtown at the same time.
Parks and Beaches
Vanier Park by Kyle Pearce
The most famous park in the area, located along the waters of English Bay, the park offers wonderful views of downtown Vancouver, as well as ponds, walking paths, and lawns for picnics.
Tea Swamp Park
Located just a block east of Main Street on 15th Avenue, this small but lovely park includes a community garden full of blooming roses, a playground, and a view of the mountains.
Margaret Pigott Park
The only off-leash area for dogs in Kitsilano, right next to Vanier Park.
The most famous beach in Vancouver serving as the main spot for all the summer sports. The negative is that this picturesque stretch of sand facing the North Shore mountains sometimes gets rather over-packed with visitiors during the summer season.
Jericho beach by Wikimedia Commons
Surrounded by Jericho Park, Jericho Beach is an awesome pick for family outings. It is located in the north-western part of the neighbourhood.
An annual festival taking place in June, full of Greek cuisine and culture along Greek West Broadway in Greektown.
Vancouver Folk Music Festival by Wikimedia
Folk artists from all around the world gather every summer in Jericho Beach Park.
Outdoor Shakespeare festival held at Kitsilano Beach.
This attractive program with countless attractions for your kids makes the annual Vancouver Children’s festival one of the most popular events of the season and a great opportunity to greet the summer in May.
For almost 80 years, Kitsilano Showboat has been offering free concerts to the public all summer long. The open-air amphiteathre was built in 1935 on the side of the Kitsilano pool along Cornwall Avenue, overseeing both the ocean and the mountains. Ever since, it has showcased local talents, entertaining residents three times a week with shows starting at 7:30 P.M.
Annual fireworks festival taking place at the end of July and beginning of August.
Kitsilano Secondary School by Wikimedia
Bayview Elementary School
2251 Collingwood Street
Henry Hudson Elementary School
1551 Cypress Street
Lord Tennyson Elementary School
1936 West 10th Avenue
General Gordon Elementary School
2896 West 6th Avenue
Kitsilano Secondary School
2550 West 10th Avenue
2294 West 10th Avenue
St. Augustine’s School
2145 West 8th Avenue
St. John’s International School
300 – 1885 West Broadway
St. John’s School
2155 West 10th Avenue
Shopping by Lululemon athletica
Kitsilano is home to two buzzing commercial strips full of shops, cafes, and restaurants. One stretches from Burrard to Balsam Street, alongside West 4th Avenue. The other one can be found along West Broadway between Larch and Blenheim Streets and is sometimes nicknamed West Kitsilano. On 4th Avenue, you will be pleasantly surprised by the diverse mix of urban home furnishing shops, independent book stores, and specialized food businesses. If you’re looking for outdoor equipment, wander east of Burrard Street to find an ever-growing community of outdoor sports stores.
Kits has so many restaurants and cafes that you are unlikely to try them all. The variety and the level of the services can easily compete with downtown businesses. There is something for everyone: casual dining, fine restaurants, and bistros offering food from all around the globe. Here is a list of a couple of recommended restaurants in the neighbourhood:
36899 West 4th Avenue
A cozy little place in Kits. Enjoy their excellent Italian food in ambient atmosphere of the place.
3347 West 4th Avenue
This small Japanese restaurant will stick out in your memory. The food is great and every single dish not only tastes but also looks beautiful.
East is East
3243 West Broadway
Enjoy the warm and friendly atmosphere of East is East and try their Silk Route Platter to experience the taste of Asia.
Café Zen on Yew
1631 Yew Street
Hit this place up for brunch after a stroll around Kits Beach. Their bennys are great and the offer is overall very wide.
Double DD Pizza
3510 West 4th Avenue
A family business with cheap and unbelievably tasty food, great for both take out and dine in.
Community, Arts and Cultural Centres
2690 Larch Street
One of Vancouver’s oldest community centres, Kitsilano Community Centre has been bringing the community together since 1951.
Other Notable Places
Macdonald Street Heritage Houses
Heritage Houses by Kama Guezalova
Residents in Macdonald Street and some adjoining streets still preserved their craftsman houses from the beginning of the 20th century, which makes them perfectly unique within Vancouver.
1100 Chestnut Street
Canada’s largest civic museum showcasing natural and cultural history, providing visitors with a chance to meet the highlights of Vancouver history, including immigrants’ stories, first nations information, and informations about the hippy movement.
1100 Chestnut Street
Space and science museum, observatory, and planetarium meet in this Kits space centre. Everybody will love visiting the laser-music spectacles and multi-media theatre within the building teaching about space.
1905 Ogden Avenue
Canada’s pemiere Pacific Coast museum enchants its visitors with interactive, hands-on displays, teaching about all kinds of boats and maritime interaction. The main attraction of the museum is certainly the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Schooner St. Roch.
Kits Pool by Wikimedia Commons
Kits pool is three times longer than the Olympic pool and holds the title of the biggest outdoor pool in the city. It’s also the only pool in Vancouver using heated sea water. Open from mid-May to September.
You can take a look at the more detailed statistics on age groups, families or households in the report by City of Vancouver.