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Commercial Drive, Vancouver

Commercial Drive is a roadway in the city of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada that goes through the neighbourhood of Grandview-Woodland. However, the neighbourhood is so dominated by the businesses, cultural facilities, and residents along Commercial Drive that the area is far better known as "The Drive" than by the civic boundaries. The district is one of Vancouver's Business Improvement Areas (BIA).

The district is served by many different bus routes, as well as both the SkyTrain's Expo Line and Millennium Line at Commercial–Broadway Station.

Commercial Drive is a mixed residential-commercial area with a high proportion of ethnic and vegetarian restaurants, businesses, and public housing. The area has low property prices compared to the westside of Vancouver, yet has good city services and is a local transit hub. It has been the destination for generations of immigrants to Vancouver and has significant Italian, Asian, Latin America, East Indian, and African communities. As of the Canada 2001 Census, English is a minority language in Grandview-Woodland, though still the most common.

Commercial Drive has a large number of local ethnic stores and community groups, Edwardian-style heritage buildings, European-style cafes, bars, and alternative shops and entertainment venues. As of late August 2007, there are 93 restaurants on Commercial Drive between Venables and Broadway, of which 19 are coffee bars.

It is home to an active street festival culture; notable annual events include the Vancouver Dyke March in August and the Parade of the Lost Souls in October. It also plays host to Vancouver's only queer spoken word and musician performance night, Unsweetened (and Outspoken). The Drive is a popular place for Vancouverites who want to experience a safe version of North American counter-culture.

History

The Drive was originally a skid road for dragging logs to the harbour. It was named "Park Drive" but renamed "Commercial Drive" in 1911, possibly to avoid confusion with other Park Drives in Vancouver. Commercial Drive ends in the south at 16th Avenue, the former end of Vancouver/start of City of South Vancouver, when it diverts to Victoria Drive. A limited light industrial Commercial Street carries on to 22nd Avenue, and around the Selkirk school there, until 54th Avenue as a residential street.

In 1891 the Drive became part of the Vancouver-New Westminster Interurban, a streetcar line. The streetcar line encouraged the growth of local businesses and residences, an influence that is still felt today. Two streetcar lines ran down Commercial—there was the Interurban line to Westminster along Kingsway, and the Interurban line via Burnaby Lake. There were also numerous city lines, which continue today as trolleybuses. The Interurban ceased operation in 1954.

During the pre-World War One period, a number of speculators—including McSpadden and Odlum (both of whom have nearby streets named for them) -- attempted to turn the Grandview neighbourhood, centered on the Drive, into a real estate area comparable to the West End and the newly opened Shaughnessy Heights. The global financial collapse around 1913 put an end to their hopes.

Commercial Drive was the centre of a prosperous suburb during the 1920s, but declined during the Great Depression and never significantly recovered until World War II. One result of this is a significant number of historical buildings and residences in the area. Commercial Drive was originally closer to the centre of town—town being located at Main and Hastings. Since then the focus of town has moved west. Commercial Drive included market gardens, sash and door factories, light industrial, rooming houses, dairies, orchards and open fields. In the urban sprawl of the 1950s the open areas were filled in.

After World War II many Italian immigrants settled in eastern Vancouver, and the northern part of Commercial Drive came to be known as "Little Italy". A sizable Portuguese community came to the area as well. During the 1960s, immigration from Asian countries began to dilute the European influence. A wave of Latino immigrants came in the 1980s as a result of the turmoil and civil wars in Central America. Many came from South America as well—the Mercosur Republics. Vietnamese nationals immigrated as well.

Throughout the 1980s, The Drive attracted a large counter-culture demographic, including political activists, lesbians, hippies, punks, and artists. Around the turn of the millennium, local outlets of multi-national companies became the target of anti-globalization protesters and civil disobedience campaigns. SkyTrain opened into the neighbourhood with Broadway Station in December 1985. Market forces and the ongoing squalor, drugs and crime of the nearby neighbourhood Downtown Eastside spilled over to the Drive with an increase of panhandling, drunkenness, heroin use and trafficking, litter and filth. Meanwhile, gentrification also came to the district with new condominium housing projects and new storefronts replacing old woodframe stores.

In 2002, many restaurant owners were upset with the infamous "dancing police"; bylaw enforcement officers who ticketed establishments hosting any dancing to live music. In late 2004, Commercial Drive gained national notoriety when the media complained that several cafes there were openly selling marijuana. As of 2005, there are still very few large retail or restaurant chains on Commercial Drive. The Da Kine, an Amsterdam style cafe, was raided by police and owner Carol Gwilt charged with trafficking. She was eventually sentenced to prison. The issue has publicised the city's lack of enforcement of Canadian drug laws, and demonstrated a commitment to its stated "Four Pillars" drug strategy.

In early summer 2005, Commercial Drive hosted its first car-free festival, in which 16 blocks were cleared of all vehicles and tens of thousands of people celebrated with walks, dancing, and food. The festival has since become an annual event, expanding to other parts of the city in 2008, and as of 2009, the Drive and Main St are to host car-free days every Sunday afternoon throughout July and August.

The upper Drive at Broadway has turned into the city's busiest crossroad with the arrival of the second SkyTrain or Millennium Line. This transit system, combined with the B-Line Express bus on Broadway made for a spike in foot-traffic.

Today Commercial Drive is a multicultural and urban area.

Commercial Drive Listings

Vancouver Commercial Drive

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  • 3377 NANAIMO Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2298543

    Main Photo: 3377 NANAIMO Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2298543
    $2,188,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2298543
    Bedrooms:
    9
    Bathrooms:
    5
    Floor Area:
    4,446 sq. ft.
    Prime Vancouver East Location! Walking distance to Nanaimo Skytrain station. Huge flat 6868 s.f. lot with 45 foot frontage and a depth of 152.62 s.f. A great project for the exprienced builder to complete this partly finished 3 level home. Plans and drawings available upon request. MUST SELL ! Please call for details. More details
    Listed by RE/MAX Real Estate Services
  • 3080 CLARK Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2298506

    $2,688,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2298506
    Bedrooms:
    9
    Bathrooms:
    3
    Floor Area:
    2,700 sq. ft.
    GREAT Investment Opportunity in Cedar Cottage area of Vancouver. Move in and have 2 income helpers or Buy as an investment. Centrally located close to Skytrain, shopping, excellent transit, Trout Lake and on a quiet street. The Building has 3 self contained,3 bedroom and 1 bath units and 2 garages that are all fully rented. This building is turn key as it has been very well maintained, including a New Garage, New Roof with transferable warranty, and new exterior paint. Currently generating around $72,000 a year in gross annual revenue. This is a property you will want to see. More details
    Listed by RE/MAX Crest Realty
  • #304 1928 E 11TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "LakeView Court" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2298559

    Main Photo: #304 1928 E 11TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "LakeView Court" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2298559
    $898,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2298559
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    825 sq. ft.
    Welcome to Lakeview Court located in the sought after Commercial / Victoria Drive corridor. A rare opportunity to acquire a bright 2 Bdrm 2 Bath top floor suite with south facing views. Emboldened by a proactive Strata Council, Lakeview Court was fully RAINSCREENED in 2011 which included new doors, windows, balconies, and roof. With 825sf of living space including a vaulted ceiling in the living room; this home features an efficient kitchen with stainless steel appliances, in-suite laundry, gas fireplace and a large master bedroom with an ensuite bathroom. The home is a blank canvas to put your own personal stamp on this “good bones” beauty. The suite has 1 parking space, 1 locker, and a bike room. Close to Skytrain, Trout Lake, Shopping and “The Drive” the possibilities are endless for a wonderful lifestyle. More details
    Listed by Harcourts
  • 2356 GRANT Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale in "COMMERCIAL DRIVE" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2298219

    Main Photo: 2356 GRANT Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale in "COMMERCIAL DRIVE" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2298219
    $1,899,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2298219
    Bedrooms:
    6
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    2,561 sq. ft.
    Sitting on an extra wide lot, this beautifully renovated heritage home is spacious, stylish & functional in a fantastic community. Enter a bright & spacious main level complimented by wood floors & charming character details. The large living & formal dining rooms flow into the sexy designer kitchen with mud room & access to the stunning private deck & yard oasis. 1 bedroom & a stylish bath on the main. 2 big lovely bedrooms with skylights upstairs. Functional lower level offers flexibility as a tasteful 1 or 2 bedroom suite (rented previously for $1850) complete with its own laundry & fenced patio (easily keep a rec room for the family). Cool finished garage & private yard with mature greenery. Walk to great schools, parks, transit & all the shopping/eating in The Drive & Sunrise. WOW! OPEN HOUSE SUNDAY, AUGUST 19 2-4PM! More details
    Listed by RE/MAX Select Realty
  • 2054 E BROADWAY in Vancouver: Grandview VE House 1/2 Duplex for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2298178

    $1,538,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2298178
    Bedrooms:
    4
    Bathrooms:
    4
    Floor Area:
    1,510 sq. ft.
    Heritage style 1/2 duplex home located on the most convenient Granview area! Minutes away from the Commercial-Broadway Skytrain Station, Trout Lake Community Centre, parks, restaurants, supermarkets & MUCH MORE! This 2 storey home with a basement is in great condition! The main floor of this home features a living room, kitchen & dining room. On the third floor there is a master bedroom & 2 bedrooms. The basement unit includes a kitchen & bedroom. Don't miss this AMAZING opportunity to see this house! Book an appointment today for a showing! Hurry! School Catchments: Queen Victoria (Secord Annex), Laura Secord Elementary & Vancouver Technical Secondary. More details
    Listed by Maxcel Westcoast Realty Ltd.
  • 1741 E 15TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2298017

    Main Photo: 1741 E 15TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2298017
    $1,499,900
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2298017
    Bedrooms:
    3
    Bathrooms:
    4
    Floor Area:
    1,636 sq. ft.
    Bright & Spacious semi-detached home (duplex) front and back. Newly renovated. Nestled between Clarke Park a& Olympic legacy facilities at Trout Lake community centre. This 3 level 1635+ sq ft 3 Bdrm + 4 bths with media/guest area. Open floor plan which features large dining area, high ceilings, newer gourmet kitchen with composite stone counter, s/s appliances and breakfast bar. Upper offers 3 bedrooms with 2 baths. Lower level media/guest area + bath. Nice front yard with covered porch. Garage, lane access and great condition. Close to Trout Lake, private school, transit, skytrain and more. OPEN HOUSE SAT & SUN 2-4 PM More details
    Listed by Sutton Group-West Coast Realty
  • 103 1540 E 4TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2297618

    Main Photo: 103 1540 E 4TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2297618
    $489,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2297618
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    692 sq. ft.
    Check out this well-maintained ground-level home, with its own private yard, located in the heart of Vancouver! This well lit 1 bedroom + den unit boasts a spacious living room and a large den (8'7 x 7'7). The den can easily be a 2nd bedroom. New stove (February 2018) and a new dishwasher (November 2017). Commercial Drive is 1/2 blk away where many amenities can be found. Broadway Station is a mere 10 minute walk away, but ticked away on a quieter street. Get the bet of Vancouver, while living away from the bustle! First Open house August 19 Sunday 2-4pm. More details
    Listed by RE/MAX Central
  • 2288 E 3RD Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale in ""The Drive"" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2297956

    Main Photo: 2288 E 3RD Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale in ""The Drive"" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2297956
    $1,499,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2297956
    Bedrooms:
    5
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,957 sq. ft.
    "GARDEN PARK" Fully renovated FAMILY HOME & separate backyard Office/Studio on a DUPLEX ZONED RT-5 LOT. Enter through lush landscaped gardens and into the large, open plan, living space. There is a gas fireplace, cork floors and opening wall system overlooking Garden Park. An efficient kitchen with stainless steel appliances, a large family eating area with big windows and bench seating. Two bedrooms on the main + four piece bath. Above the main is storage in the open attic. Downstairs is laundry, storage, flex/play, three more bedrooms and a mud/bike room. Easily converted back to a one or two bedroom suite making $1500/2200 per month. Updated roof, hot water tank, furnace, plumbing and wiring. Walk to Eat and Shop, Play in the Park, Relax in your yard, Live in "The Drive" YOU'LL LOVE IT! More details
    Listed by RE/MAX Real Estate Services
  • 2295 E 1ST Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale in "GRANDVIEW" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2297644

    $2,800,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2297644
    Bedrooms:
    3
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    2,041 sq. ft.
    Townhouse/potential apartment development opportunity. Sold together with 2281 E 1st St. Corner lot with new zoning changed by the city to RM-12N which allows for 1.45 FSR townhouse development or 1.7 FSR apartment development. Outstanding location with 10 min drive to downtown & 10 min walk to Commercial Dr. 99'x115' & potential with further assembly with other neighbours. More details
    Listed by Sutton Group-West Coast Realty
  • 2883 NANAIMO Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2296387

    Main Photo: 2883 NANAIMO Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2296387
    $2,599,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2296387
    Bedrooms:
    5
    Bathrooms:
    4
    Floor Area:
    2,000 sq. ft.
    GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR INVESTORS, LAND ASSEMBLY POTENTIAL. GRANDVIEW WOODLAND COMMUNITY PLAN IS AVAILABLE FOR VIEWING ONLINE. More details
    Listed by New Coast Realty
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Listing information last updated on August 20, 2018 at 02:14 PM (UTC)

Inside Vancouver Neighbourhoods: Commercial Drive