Yaletown

Yaletown by Wikimedia Commons
Yaletown by Wikimedia Commons

Yaletown is probably the most dynamically growing residential neighbourhood in Canada over the last ten years; almost 40,000 people have decided to find their new home here. The area is renowned for being a bright example of one of the most successful urban regeneration projects, as it has undergone a massive transformation from a heavy industrial zone to an amiable place to live and has earned the nickname “Vancouver’s little Soho” due to its large number of gourmet restaurants, boutiques, and galleries.

Location

Yaletown is situated in southeastern part of the city core. Its borders stretch along Homer Street to the west, Beatty Street to the east, Smithe Street to the north, and Drake Street to the south. Yaletown is served by the public transit system of Vancouver (Translink), including buses, ferries, the SkyTrain (including the new Canada Line), and the West Coast Express as well as AirCare.

History

Yaletown was a light industrial zone full of factories, rail buildings, and warehouses for most of the 20th century. Until the late ’70s, the area was truly nothing but a gritty place of loading bays sometimes used as a cheap parking place for visitors of downtown.

The monorail at Expo 86 by Wikimedia Commons
The monorail at Expo 86
by Wikimedia Commons

However, throughout the ’80s, young urban professionals realized that the cheap old warehouses could as well be turned into spacious and comfortable lofts in close proximity to the city centre. The real boom came after the 1986 World’s Fair (Expo ’86), which took place in the nearby area. This impulse sparked the future development of the area, which suddenly saw the transformation of old factory buildings into offices, galleries, and new residential buildings.

The legacy of the industrial past in the Yaletown has been recently recognized City Council, as the old truck loading docks and their special overhanging canopies earned recognition as a unique architectural feature of the area.

Real Estate

The Yaletown real estate market consists largely of high-rise condominium buildings. Even though there are quite a few attached townhouses and apartments, condos have the upper hand here. Most of them are built in the modern glass and concrete style, offering their inhabitants various amenities such as gyms or private pools.

The area is also a mecca for all lovers of lofts, which can be found in beautifully renovated buildings scattered in the neighbourhood. The charm of living in old industrial complexes or warehouses attracts many hipsters in Vancouver. Most dwellers in Yaletown are young to middle aged urban professionals, often living single.

Overall, city planners who worked on the regeneration of Yaletown were careful enough to introduce rather strict guidelines for investors to prevent uncontrolled growth of the area. The city area plan demanded great care of public heritage as well as providing enough space for public amenities to be built in the neighbourhood. The results prove themselves, as the area serves as a perfect example of sensible modern urbanism these days.

Parks

Cooper Park

Marinaside Crescent

Cooper Park by Tom K
Cooper Park by Tom K

Enjoy an afternoon stroll along the winding paths offering expansive views on the city. The park is also loved by dog owners, as it’s one of the nicest off-leash areas in the city.

Helmcken Park

Pacific Boulevard, Helmcken St.

A tiny piece of lush green in the concrete jungle. Check out this lovely grassy strip to eat your lunch sandwich during the long working days spent in office.

Schools

Elsie Roy Elementary School

150 Drake St.

Shopping

Shopping in Yaletown by Richard Quan
Shopping in Yaletown by Richard Quan

Yaletown is a trendy shopping spot for Vancouverites. Most businesses are concentrated around Mainland and Hamilton (between Davie and Nelson), the two main shopping streets. Most businesses here are oriented towards high-quality, exclusive goods — whether it be food, clothing, or furniture. Visitors can find exclusive designer boutiques as well as unique home furnishing and design shops. The negative of the area is that some dwellers claim that Yaletown lacks certain types of stores for their everyday shopping, such as supermarkets or drugstores.

Eating Out

Tequila Kitchen

1043 Mainland Street

Searching for true Mexican tapas or a shot of genuine tequila? Check out this warm and colourful restaurant.

Yaletown Brewing Company

1111 Mainland Street

A dream place for all beer connoisseurs. This critically appraised and award-winning microbrewery offers a variety of its own delicious beer.

Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill

1133 Hamilton Street

The restaurant offers tasty Mediterranean dishes, always prepared from the freshest ingredients. In 2008, the grill was honoured with the Chef of the Year award from Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards.

Glowball Grill & Satay Bar

1079 Mainland Street

Glowball is a hip urban restaurant-bar with a large outdoor patio for sunny days. Check out this Yaletown hotspot to experience the vibrant feeling of the neighbourhood.

Blue Water Café and Raw Bar

1095 Hamilton Street

Blue Water Café is the jewel of Vancouver’s sea food restaurants. Although the prices are not the cheapest, every dollar spent on their amazing sushi or oysters is worth the cost.

Community, Arts and Cultural Centres

Roundhouse Community Centre

181 Roundhouse Mews

Engine 374 by Paul Downey
Engine 374 by Paul Downey

The community centre is probably the most important piece of Yaletown’s heritage. The building used to be a western terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway and still attracts children with the stationed train Engine 374, the first passenger train to enter Vancouver in 1887. These days, the community centre is used as an arts and learning meeting point of the community.

Other Notable Places

Vancouver Art Gallery

750 Hornby Street

Vancouver Art Gallery by Wikimedia Commons
Vancouver Art Gallery by Wikimedia Commons

The largest art gallery in western Canada possesses over 9,000 works by renowned world artists and proudly presents itself as one of the Vancouver’s main landmarks. It is home to significant collection of contemporary photography and most thorough collection of Emily Carr. On some Friday evenings, the Gallery turns itself into a vibrant, club-like artistic space and hosts an adult-only mixed media event called FUSE.

BC Place Stadium

Yaletown also hosts a multi-purpose stadium, which is home to the BC Lions football club and Vancouver Whitecaps, a soccer team. It holds the world record for being the largest stadium with a retractable roof.

Queen Elizabeth Theatre

One of the largest soft-seat venues in Canada, this modern theatre building is home to Vancouver Opera and Ballet British Columbia. All art lovers will be astonished by the great acoustics of the place opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1959.

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