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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

1-10/91
  • 1979 CHARLES Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2223032

    Main Photo: 1979 CHARLES Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2223032
    $1,600,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2223032
    Bedrooms:
    4
    Bathrooms:
    4
    Floor Area:
    2,065 sq. ft.
    Attention Builders and potential home owners!!!! All building permits in place and ready for you to build this fantastic 4 bedroom house. This new house will feature: a craftsman design, 3 bedrooms up, 1 bedroom legal suite down, large backyard, This property is in a great location near Commercial Drive. The existing house is presently rented for $2,800.00 per month + utilities. This is a fantastic opportunity to build and design your dream home. Please contact LR to receive a copy of the buildings plans. More details
    Sutton Centre Realty
  • 2192 E 13TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2222927

    Main Photo: 2192 E 13TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2222927
    $1,398,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2222927
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    1,000 sq. ft.
    Fab RARE CRN lot bordered on two side by John Hendry/Trout Lake Park with gorgeous VIEWS! Build S/Family dwelling + Secondary Suite + Laneway House subject to RS1 Zoning district schedule. Walk distance to Trout Lake Community Centre & top amenities + easy access to Commercial-Broadway Station hub! Ecole Laura Secord catchment & Boat Daycare proximity! A 10+ opportunity! Walk Score 70. Transit Score 86! More details
    Macdonald Rlty J Meisen BuyVan and Macdonald Realty
  • 300 1520 COTTON Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "GRANTVIEW PLACE" (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2222487

    Main Photo: 300 1520 COTTON Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "GRANTVIEW PLACE" (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2222487
    $369,900
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2222487
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    454 sq. ft.
    Live off the best part of the Drive with anything you need a block away. This freshly updated corner suite is perfect for the first time buyer, or as a pied a terre. All new kitchen appliances and counter-tops, bathroom counter-top and sink..oh..In-suite laundry? yes! Storage and a parking spot if you need one. Pets allowed, no vicious breeds, rentals allowed, no short term airbnb type. By Appointment Only-No Open House. Call for your private showing today! More details
    RE/MAX City Realty
  • 2336 WOODLAND Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2222417

    Main Photo: 2336 WOODLAND Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2222417
    $1,599,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2222417
    Bedrooms:
    5
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,824 sq. ft.
    Beautifully renovated character house on the sought after Woodland Dr. just off Commercial. Quiet street, 5 minute walk Skytrain station. Complete renovation throughout (with permits). Oak floors, Italian tiles with in-floor heating, custom lighting, alarm system with CCTV, over-sized crown mouldings, steam dishwasher, 225 sqft sunny deck, electric garage, professional landscaping, built in Bose ceiling speakers, air re-circulation system. New siding, windows, roof, hot water tank, heating system done in 2008. $13,000 drain tile completed 2013. Gorgeous open kitchen and living room, 3 spacious bedrooms and large bathroom. The ground floor features a newly renovated legal, two bedroom suite with in-suite washer/dryer. OPEN HOUSE THIS SAT/SUN 2-4pm More details
    Oakwyn Realty Ltd.
  • 2017 CHARLES Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale in "COMMERCIAL DRIVE" (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2221745

    Main Photo: 2017 CHARLES Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale in "COMMERCIAL DRIVE" (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2221745
    $2,299,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2221745
    Bedrooms:
    3
    Bathrooms:
    4
    Floor Area:
    2,116 sq. ft.
    One of the most beautifully crafted homes to come to market in Commercial Drive this year! This brand new, elegant family home is a pleasure to show. The heritage style exterior with front porch & charming character details. The open & airy main floor has a gas f/p, soaring ceilings & a spacious dining area. Large chef’s kitchen w/ integrated appliances overlooks an incredible outdoor living zone w/ sundeck, gardens, grassy area, large patio & stunner stone f/p. 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms & vaulted ceilings on the upper level; master w/ WIC, ensuite & view balcony. Below has a flexible family room (easy studio) & attached garage. Impressively finished with wide plank wood floors, custom millwork, designer fixtures, radiant heat, A/C & more! All in a prime spot just steps to everything! More details
    RE/MAX Select Realty
  • 210 1450 E 7TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2221902

    Main Photo: 210 1450 E 7TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2221902
    $488,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2221902
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    628 sq. ft.
    Terrific 1 bedroom suite in premier Grandview locale. Excellent location just steps away from Commercial-Broadway Skytrain station and buses, an array of shops, parks, Emily Carr and VCC. Complex is well maintained and fully rain screened. Spacious, open living space with functional layout, bamboo floors, updated kitchen with stainless steel appliances. Renovated 4 piece bathroom with deep soaker tub and a private & covered, north-facing balcony just perfect for BBQs or to sit and enjoy an outdoor meal. More details
    Faith Wilson Group
  • 1820 WOODLAND Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE House 1/2 Duplex for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2221997

    Main Photo: 1820 WOODLAND Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE House 1/2 Duplex for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2221997
    $1,499,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2221997
    Bedrooms:
    4
    Bathrooms:
    4
    Floor Area:
    1,832 sq. ft.
    Location and style finally together in this 4 bed and den, 4 bath 1/2 duplex steps from the Drive and Commercial. Nearly 1,900 sqft sprawled over three levels with over-height ceilings, maple wide plank flooring, top of the line stainless steel appliances including gas cook top, security system and garage. Upstairs you will find the master bedroom with vaulted ceilings, and a generous walk-in closet. Downstairs you find two good sized bedrooms, a four piece bathroom and living room - perfect for guests or suite potential. On the main you will find an office/ den, separate kitchen and perfectly laid out entertaining area with gas fireplace. Bonus - there is a gas hookup outside for BBQ season or portable fire-pit! Act NOW! Open Sat/ Sun 2-4pm. More details
    Oakwyn Realty Ltd.
  • 1648 E 12TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House 1/2 Duplex for sale in "GRANDVIEW WOODLANDS" (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2222114

    Main Photo: 1648 E 12TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House 1/2 Duplex for sale in "GRANDVIEW WOODLANDS" (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2222114
    $1,048,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2222114
    Bedrooms:
    4
    Bathrooms:
    4
    Floor Area:
    1,295 sq. ft.
    PRIME GRANDVIEW LOCATION! 3 level, 4 bed and 3.5 bath HALF DUPLEX FRONT UNIT with 1 car garage and almost 1300 square feet of living space! Features include - 3 bedrooms up, an open concept main floor and a separate entrance on the lower level with an additional 1 bedroom and living space – perfect for a student or nanny. 15 minutes to Downtown Vancouver. Queen Alexandra & Van Tech school catchment. A “Walker’s Paradise” with a walk score of 94 - steps to trendy restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops and Clark Park. The best location for commuting with transit and the Commercial-Broadway Station only a few blocks away. HUGE FUTURE POTENTIAL with the property being a part of the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan. Open: Thurs, Nov 16 4-6pm & Open Sat, Nov 18 from 3-5pm. More details
    Macdonald Realty
  • PH1 2736 VICTORIA Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "Royal Pacific Gardens" (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2222471

    Main Photo: PH1 2736 VICTORIA Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "Royal Pacific Gardens" (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2222471
    $779,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2222471
    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 Ltd.
  • 1869 ADANAC Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE Townhouse for sale in "SALSBURY LIVING" (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2221837

    Main Photo: 1869 ADANAC Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE Townhouse for sale in "SALSBURY LIVING" (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2221837
    $1,328,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2221837
    Bedrooms:
    3
    Bathrooms:
    4
    Floor Area:
    1,816 sq. ft.
    VIEWS, VIEWS, VIEWS!! Brand new multi family townhouses with AMAZING views of the city, water & North Shore Mountains. Dual entry into the unit, also includes brand name European appliances, quartz counter tops, hardwood floors & unique skylight roof door. Cedar wood exterior sidings, no expense was spared to construct this quality townhouse. Convenient location nearby shopping, private elementary school, St Francis of Assisi. Open house Nov 18, 19, 2-4pm. More details
    Royal Pacific Riverside Realty
1-10/91
Listing information last updated on November 20, 2017

Inside Vancouver Neighbourhoods: Commercial Drive