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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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  • 1969 E 8TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale in "Grandview" (Vancouver East) : MLS(r) # R2181585

    Main Photo: 1969 E 8TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale in "Grandview" (Vancouver East)  : MLS(r) # R2181585
    $1,699,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2181585
    Bedrooms:
    4
    Bathrooms:
    3
    Floor Area:
    2,080 sq. ft.
    Opportunity knocks! Check out this charming character home on a quiet tree lined street near the heart of the Commercial Drive neighborhood. You can walk to markets, cafes & restaurants plus you are close to the sky train (not too close) and can easily be downtown in ten minutes. The main floor offers a large, inviting living room with gas fireplace, built-ins and French doors to the dining room and bright classic kitchen with gas stove and cozy eating nook. A large bedroom and full bath complete the main floor while upstairs has a large master bedroom with walk-in closet, another attic bedroom and a full bathroom. The lower level offers a one bedroom accommodation with shared laundry for a mortgage helper or great space to expand. There is also a lot of land value in this RT5 duplex zoned lot that is private and just a short stroll to Trout Lake, the community center and good schools. Call now for details! More details
    RE/MAX Crest Realty
  • 2257 CHARLES Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS(r) # R2181406

    Main Photo: 2257 CHARLES Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS(r) # R2181406
    • facing south
    • upper living room
    • Main Kitchen
    • facing north
    • mountain view from patio
    • lower living room
    • lower kit
    • upper kit nook
    $1,650,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2181406
    Bedrooms:
    5
    Bathrooms:
    3
    Floor Area:
    2,257 sq. ft.
    Great opportunity to renovate or build on this spacious 5 bedroom accessible home in a quiet traffic calmed area in the Grandview Woodlands neighborhood . Convenient location directly across the street from Lord Nelson Elementary. Fantastic mountain views from south patio. Priced to sell. Act now ! More details
    Sutton Grp-West Coast (Brdwy)
  • 2359 NANAIMO Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS(r) # R2180925

    Main Photo: 2359 NANAIMO Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS(r) # R2180925
    $2,500,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2180925
    Bedrooms:
    5
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    2,068 sq. ft.
    Well kept 5 home with basement suite. In the popular Grandview-Nanaimo area. Some updating, beautiful hardwood floors, beautiful private garden, 2 covered parking spaces. Close to schools, bus, and shopping. Extra long lot. Land use is be rezoned as multi-use 4 story units, Buyer to verify land use at land title, preferred sale as land assembly neighbors are ready to sell also, but willing to sell as signal unit. Bring your best offer buy multiple units or hold for future. More details
    RE/MAX Select Realty
  • 2291 GRANT Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS(r) # R2180104

    Main Photo: 2291 GRANT Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS(r) # R2180104
    $1,788,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2180104
    Bedrooms:
    6
    Bathrooms:
    3
    Floor Area:
    2,895 sq. ft.
    Fabulous East Van location. Huge wrap around ROOFTOP Deck with 360 degree VIEWS. Gorgeous 6 bedroom and 3 bathrooms renovated home (with permits) in Prime East Vancouver location with bright open space. Upstairs you will find master bedroom & master ensuite spa and the gorgeous rooftop deck. Main floor features 3 bedrooms, fantastic chef's kitchen with high end appliances, living room with gas fireplace, spacious dining room & nice deck off kitchen. Downstairs boasts a large 1100 sq ft, 2 bedroom suite that rents for $2200/month. Garage has been roughed in for a suite, currently used as a 293 sq ft studio not included in square footage. Don't miss out on this prime East Vancouver home! OPEN HOUSE Saturday June 24th 2-4pm. More details
    RE/MAX Crest Realty Westside
  • 2042 E 5TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale in "COMMERCIAL DRIVE" (Vancouver East) : MLS(r) # R2179017

    Main Photo: 2042 E 5TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale in "COMMERCIAL DRIVE" (Vancouver East)  : MLS(r) # R2179017
    $2,159,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2179017
    Bedrooms:
    4
    Bathrooms:
    3
    Floor Area:
    2,773 sq. ft.
    The one you’ve been waiting for! This impressive character home is perched up off the street at the top of a great block with city/mountain views. Taken to the studs in 2012 this beauty has been carefully & completely renovated with permits. The grand foyer opens to large living room w/ built-ins. The large chef’s kitchen has s/s appliances, gas range, huge pantry & island overlooking the dining rm. A bright flex space/kid zone with French doors leads to a brand new South facing deck for your summer bbq’s. Up has 3 bedrooms & full bathroom. The huge master has a private view balcony and rough ins for an ensuite. The 7’4" attic offers amazing future potential! A legal 1 bed suite w/ laundry below completes this stunner. Nothing to do but move on in to this rare Commercial Drive trophy home! More details
    RE/MAX Select Realty
  • 1760 E 14TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS(r) # R2179031

    Open House on Sunday, June 25, 2017 2:00PM - 4:00PM
    Main Photo: 1760 E 14TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS(r) # R2179031
    $1,600,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2179031
    Bedrooms:
    6
    Bathrooms:
    3
    Floor Area:
    2,240 sq. ft.
    Excellent location with Walk Score of 90! Steps away from Trout Lake Community Center, Commerical Drive business district and skytrain station. Listed well below BC assessment value! RT-5A zoned for Duplex, 33x122ft lot perfect for investors and builders looking to hold, renovate, build now or later. Awesome redevelopment potential! Currently tenanted month-month. First showing at Open House on Saturday and Sunday June 24 & 25th 2-4PM. subsequent showing requires at least 24 hours notice and has to be between 1PM-5PM. More details
    New Coast Realty
  • 1505 SALSBURY Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS(r) # R2179781

    Open House on Sunday, June 25, 2017 2:00PM - 4:00PM
    Main Photo: 1505 SALSBURY Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS(r) # R2179781
    • Exterior
    • Living Room
    • Kitchen
    • Bedroom
    • Bathroom
    • Kitchen
    • Living Room
    • Bathroom
    • Deck
    • Deck
    • Exterior
    • Porch
    • Floor Plan
    $1,599,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2179781
    Bedrooms:
    4
    Bathrooms:
    3
    Floor Area:
    2,305 sq. ft.
    This corner lot, character charmer overlooking Victoria Park is perfect for the savvy investor, or a family looking to reclaim the top 2 floors and have a full height garden level suite to help pay the mortgage! This legal duplex with basement is currently set up as 3 suites. Upstairs features 2 beds, 1 bath and the main floor and the garden level are both 1 bed, 1 bath. This home has had many updates over the years and has tones of curb appeal, a fantastic side yard and open parking space as well. Just off The Drive and close to absolutely everything, this house is situated on one of the nicest corner lots this city has to offer. OPEN HOUSE: Saturday, June 24th, 12 noon - 2pm & Sunday, June 25th, 2 - 4pm More details
    Sutton Grp-West Coast (Brdwy)
  • 1819 CHARLES Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE Townhouse for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS(r) # R2179383

    Open House on Sunday, June 25, 2017 2:00PM - 4:00PM
    Main Photo: 1819 CHARLES Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE Townhouse for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS(r) # R2179383
    $1,149,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2179383
    Bedrooms:
    3
    Bathrooms:
    3
    Floor Area:
    1,267 sq. ft.
    Heritage modern townhouse just off the Drive w/ 3 beds/ 3 baths over 3 levels. Unique boutique development with high-end heritage design and finishing incorporating 1907 estate home - The “Jeffs Residence.” Excellent layout for a family. Quiet courtyard unit w/ 2 patios off the main and a city/ mountain view balcony from the top floor. Excellent finishings w/ granite and stainless in the kitchen, quartz composite in the bathrooms. Over-height ceilings on first 2 levels, vaulted ceilings on upper. Top city location, walk everywhere. One secure parking, one storage locker, bike storage included. First opens: Thursday, June 22, 6-7pm, Saturday June 24 2-4pm, and Sunday June 25 2-4pm. More photos, info and FLOORPLAN on our site, look us up! More details
    RE/MAX Crest Realty Westside
  • 208 1549 KITCHENER Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "DHARMA DIGS" (Vancouver East) : MLS(r) # R2179867

    Open House on Sunday, June 25, 2017 2:00PM - 4:00PM
    Main Photo: 208 1549 KITCHENER Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "DHARMA DIGS" (Vancouver East)  : MLS(r) # R2179867
    $389,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2179867
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    572 sq. ft.
    COMMERCIAL DRIVE! Beautiful tree lined street in popular Dharma Digs. This completely remodelled 1 bed suite with flex space has it all! Open plan, new stainless appliances, granite counters, laminate & tile floors, new tub & tiles, new window coverings, new light fixtures & spacious living room. Huge south facing 100 sf balcony! Well maintained, 8 year old roof & re-piped in 2016. Pet & rental friendly. Suite comes complete with secured parking, shared laundry & in-suite storage. Situated in a perfect location, steps to Britannia Community Centre & pool & one block to Commercial Drive's famous cafe's, restaurants & fresh markets. Open Sun, June 25, 2-4pm. More details
    RE/MAX Central and Sutton Centre Realty
  • 1928 VENABLES Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS(r) # R2180121

    Open House on Sunday, June 25, 2017 2:00PM - 4:00PM
    Main Photo: 1928 VENABLES Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS(r) # R2180121
    • Master Bedroom
    • South facing back deck
    • Open floor plan with gas fireplace and views.
    • Main Floor Bathroom
    $1,499,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2180121
    Bedrooms:
    4
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    2,333 sq. ft.
    1968 Vancouver Special at an unbeatable location off the Drive with Amazing views of the North Shore Mnts. Located in the sweet pocket of Grandview, this well maintained, one owner house is move in ready & waiting for your updates. Just East of Victoria Dr. this block is traffic calmed & not a through fare, beautifully landscaped and 2 blks to schools and the Drive. Main floor has 3 bdrms, full bathrm, huge South facing deck right off the kitchen expansive North Shore Mnts views form Lv/Dn rm W wood fire place. Lower floor is connected W open floor plan, full kitchen living rm W gas fireplace, 4 piece bath & 1 bdrm, laundry, work shop & attached one car garage. First showing Thursday June 22nd, 5-6 pm Open house SAT & SUN, June 24th & 25th 2-4pm More details
    RE/MAX Real Estate Services
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Listing information last updated on June 25, 2017

Inside Vancouver Neighbourhoods: Commercial Drive