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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

1-10/73
  • PH1 2736 VICTORIA Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "Royal Pacific Gardens" (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2233027

    Main Photo: PH1 2736 VICTORIA Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "Royal Pacific Gardens" (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2233027
    $738,800
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2233027
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    970 sq. ft.
    2 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom, 2 Balconies, 2 Parking - PENTHOUSE unit in the desirable Trout Lake! Best unit in complex, with the whole side of the building to yourself! A truly unique property with high vaulted ceilings and real HARDWOOD FLOORS. Large windows and skylights provides an abundance of natural light which makes this suite feel just like a home! Enjoy your BBQ's from either of the 2 balconies, one from the living room and one extra large (250 square footage) private deck off the main entrance. Bring your design ideas! This apartment will impress. More details
    Oakwyn Realty Downtown Ltd.
  • 3531 MARSHALL Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2232573

    Main Photo: 3531 MARSHALL Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2232573
    $1,232,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2232573
    Bedrooms:
    4
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,704 sq. ft.
    BUILDERS and Renovators ALERT! Lake side living at its best! This property is fantastically located steps away from all things Trout Lake. This home is currently a 4 bedroom and 1 bath with a 7’-7” ceiling height basement. Some of the recent upgrades include: the roof, drain tile and hot water tank. Please do a drive by and then book a private viewing. More details
    RE/MAX Real Estate Services
  • 206 1545 E 2ND Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "TALISHAN WOODS" (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2231969

    Main Photo: 206 1545 E 2ND Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "TALISHAN WOODS" (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2231969
    $398,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2231969
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    462 sq. ft.
    Best Modern Luxury Value in the city! Beautifully Renovated Studio Home in Talishan Woods. This open concept property boasts walnut hardwood flooring throughout the living space with custom innovative storage solutions & queen-sized wall bed to maximize floor space. Additional features include Caesarstone counter tops throughout with a full set of European style stainless steel appliances & well apportioned cabinets to maximize storage. Secure parking & storage locker included. Fantastic Commercial Drive community & just steps to the Drives best restaurants, cafe's & shopping. Transit Friendly! Open House: Sunday, January 21st 2:00-4:00 PM. More details
    RE/MAX Crest Realty
  • 1944 CHARLES Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2232069

    Main Photo: 1944 CHARLES Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2232069
    • Welcome to 1944 Charles
    • Upper Living 2
    • Upper Living
    • Classic Fireplace
    • Kitchen
    • Kitchen 2
    • Family Flex room
    • Upper Bedroom 1
    • Second Bedroom Upper floor
    • Upper Bath 1
    • Upper Bath 2
    • Lower Floor Kitchen
    • Lower Living Room
    • Lower Living 2
    • Lower Bathroom 1
    • Lower Bathroom 2
    • Lower Bedroom 1
    • Lower 2nd Bedroom
    • South Facing Sundeck
    • 2 parking spots
    $1,568,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2232069
    Bedrooms:
    4
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    2,020 sq. ft.
    COMMERCIAL DRIVE GEM! Just renovated character home nestled in the heart of desirable Grandview has it all. Upstairs you'll find a gorgeous 2 bedroom suite featuring a modern kitchen with new stainless appliances, Eurotech cabinets & caesarstone counters, brand new bathroom & flooring, classic wainscoting, insuite laundry & family room (possible 3rd bedroom) that opens onto spacious south-facing sundeck. The bright 2 bedroom suite below also boasts a new kitchen, flooring & bath, 2 large bedrooms, 2 separate entrances, high ceilings & additional laundry. Private yard has lane access & 2 parking. Steps to parks, schools, transit & shopping on the Drive. Nothing to do but just move in. This great home is sharply priced & simply the best value in the area! OPEN HOUSE SUNDAY JAN. 21ST, 2:00-4:00 PM More details
    Sutton Group-West Coast Realty
  • 1939 KITCHENER Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House 1/2 Duplex for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2232107

    Main Photo: 1939 KITCHENER Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House 1/2 Duplex for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2232107
    $1,099,900
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2232107
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    909 sq. ft.
    This is a lovely 2 year old, 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath 1/2 duplex in one of the nicest pockets in the Commercial Drive neighbourhood. 2 beds and 1 bath up, vaulted ceilings. Open plan lower level with kitchen, dining, living room, opening onto verandah and large south facing private yard with extensive gardens. Huge storage crawl space under unit. 1 car garage is perfect as workshop or studio. Top location 2 blocks to the heart of Commercial Drive. Victoria park is within direct view. Small family friendly complex of two detached duplexes, 4 units total. Balance of new home warranty. First open houses: Thursday Jan 18 5:30-6:30pm, Saturday Jan 20 2-4pm, and Sunday Jan 21 3-5pm. More photos and info on our web site, look us up! More details
    RE/MAX Crest Realty
  • 2161 E BROADWAY in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2232185

    Main Photo: 2161 E BROADWAY in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2232185
    $2,998,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2232185
    Bedrooms:
    7
    Bathrooms:
    3
    Floor Area:
    2,100 sq. ft.
    Land Assembly! Investor/Builders Alert! Part of approved Woodland Grandview Rezoning area. Develop/build up to 6 stories with FSR 2.65. Close to Broadway/Commercial Corridor. Call now for more information. More details
    Sutton Group-West Coast Realty and Royal Pacific Tri-Cities Rlty
  • 303 1617 GRANT Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "Evergreen Place" (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2232192

    Main Photo: 303 1617 GRANT Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "Evergreen Place" (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2232192
    $629,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2232192
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    656 sq. ft.
    An amazing opportunity to be in one of the best buildings in the Commercial Drive neighbourhood. This 2 bedroom home offers an efficient floorplan and features including a gas stove, gas fireplace, laminate flooring and a generous sized pantry/storage room. Other features include a patio, a view of downtown and in suite laundry. The building is very well cared for with excellent maintenance records. Includes parking stall and storage locker. Great opportuntiy for investors as rentals are allowed. Pets are allowed with no size restrictions. All this and only 1 block away from the one of the best blocks of Commercial Drive. Open house Saturday and Sunday Jan 20th and 21st, 2-pm. More details
    KellerWilliamsRealtyVanCentral
  • 2009 CHARLES Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale in "COMMERCIAL DRIVE" (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2232289

    Main Photo: 2009 CHARLES Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale in "COMMERCIAL DRIVE" (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2232289
    $2,299,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2232289
    Bedrooms:
    3
    Bathrooms:
    4
    Floor Area:
    2,125 sq. ft.
    Sitting on beautiful Charles St is this brand new Commercial Drive beauty! Great curb appeal with heritage style exterior, front porch & charming character details. The open, airy main has a gas f/p, soaring ceilings & a spacious dining area. The high-end kitchen w/ integrated appliances looks out over incredible outdoor space w/ sundeck, gardens, grassy area, large stone patio & feature gas f/p. 3 bedrooms up with vaulted ceilings. The master comes complete with sleek ensuite bath, private balcony and WIC. A 5 piece bath & laundry also on this floor. Below has a flexible family room (easy studio), full bath & attached garage. Impeccably finished with wide plank wood floors, custom millwork, designer fixtures, radiant in-floor heat, A/C & more. All in a prime spot just steps to everything! More details
    RE/MAX Select Realty
  • 1405 E 15TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2231865

    $2,300,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2231865
    Bedrooms:
    5
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    2,300 sq. ft.
    LAND ASSEMBLY: Development Opportunity, 3 properties assembled - approx. 14,700 sq ft total. Contact listing agent for details on assembly. Great location, across from Clark Park with easy access to Trout Lake, the Drive, Skytrain, transit and shopping. Eligible to redevelop under Affordable Housing Choices Interim Zoning Policy ( up to 6 stories) or under the Rental 100 policy. More details
    Sutton Group-West Coast Realty
  • 2078 E BROADWAY in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2231268

    Main Photo: 2078 E BROADWAY in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2231268
    $3,368,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2231268
    Bedrooms:
    4
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,700 sq. ft.
    Calling ALL Developers & Investors! 2 lots in a row **Assembly Site** on E. Broadway 2078 and 2084. This location is one of the best! Located conveniently to Commercial and Broadway Station. Direct bus routes t Vancouver. *Rare opportunity*. Rezoning opportunity. On the main floor, this house features a living room, kitchen, Master bedroom and 1 bedroom. While the basement suite is completed with a living room, 2 bedrooms and a storage room. Running errands is a breeze! Just 2 blocks away from Safeway, Skytrain Station, restaurants, retails stores and More! School Catchments: Queen Victoria (Second Annex), Laura Secord Elementary and Vancouver Technical Secondary. Hurry! Don’t Miss Out! More details
    Maxcel Westcoast Realty Ltd.
1-10/73
Listing information last updated on January 22, 2018

Inside Vancouver Neighbourhoods: Commercial Drive