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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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  • 308 1330 GRAVELEY Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "Hampton Court" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2315878

    Open House on Thursday, October 18, 2018 6:00PM - 7:00PM
    Open House on Saturday, October 20, 2018 2:00PM - 4:00PM
    Main Photo: 308 1330 GRAVELEY Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "Hampton Court" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2315878
    • Front exterior
    • Front entrance
    • Kitchen
    • Kitchen
    • Great room
    • Living area
    • Dining area
    • dining room & outlook
    • Master bedroom
    • master bedroom walk-in closet
    • Bedroom in Loft
    • Sitting area in Loft
    • Office in Loft
    • Laundry
    • 4-piece bath
    • Foyer
    • Hallway Picture Wall
    • Balcony
    • View from balcony
    $649,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2315878
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    916 sq. ft.
    Hampton Court near Commercial Drive. Beautifully updated 2 bedroom top floor, bright south corner unit with views to the City from great room on main, loft (used as 2nd bdrm) above & private balcony. Loads of skylights. Newer (2013) maple flooring grace the main floor throughout. Quartz countertops, backsplash, stainless steel appliances, contemporary cabinets and eating bar grace the recently renovated kitchen with open outlook to great room with 18-foot ceilings, floor to ceiling cathedral windows, gas fireplace. Master bedroom with skylit walk-in closet. Spacious light-drenched loft with newer carpet with bonus office room. Updated bathroom. Insuite laundry (washer & dryer - 2017). 2 pkg spaces, 1 locker and bike room. Pet friendly building. Steps to the Drive! Easy to show, quick possession is possible. Open House, Thursday, Oct. 18th, 6-7pm; Saturday, Oct.20th, 2-4pm. More details
    Listed by RE/MAX Crest Realty
  • 209 1707 CHARLES Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "CITY LIGHTS" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2315638

    Main Photo: 209 1707 CHARLES Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "CITY LIGHTS" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2315638
    $799,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2315638
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,185 sq. ft.
    Truly unparalleled living space on The Drive! 2 bdms, 2 newly renovated baths & 2 large levels of living area over nearly 1200 sf of space, with all that Commercial Drive has to offer at your doorstep. Located on the QUIET SIDE of the building, the first floor features 2 huge bdrms & a newly renovated bathroom. Up, you will find a bright open living space including kitchen w/ white quartz counter tops & brand new Whirlpool S/S appliance suite, a generous living/ dining area & brand new 3 piece bathroom. Take in the sun at the end of the day on the patio or unwind on the sprawling communal roof top patio w/ endless city, mountain and water views. Bldg is fully rainscreened & allows rentals. More details
    Listed by RE/MAX Select Realty
  • 2161 E BROADWAY Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2315624

    $2,799,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2315624
    Bedrooms:
    7
    Bathrooms:
    3
    Floor Area:
    2,100 sq. ft.
    Well maintained 7 bed & 2.5 bath home in the heart of Broadway & Nanaimo area. Features original hardwood floors, nice appliances with fully finished basement. This is an excellent investment property with a 2 bedrooms on the main floor with a bathroom, 3 bedroom up with a half bath, plus 2 bedroom suite down. The entire home can be rented as home stay for $4800/month. In a convenient central location close to shopping, Commercial Broadway skytrain station, transit with Laura Secord elementary across the street and Van Tech Secondary one block away. City approved new zoning for Broadway Corridor with FSR2.5 and Six-storey Mid-rise. Excellent investment ppty to live-in, for rental or hold for redevelopment! More details
    Listed by LeHomes Realty First
  • 1991 GRAVELEY Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2315028

    Main Photo: 1991 GRAVELEY Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2315028
    • Back yard
    • Victoria Park
    • 3blocks to commercial shops and restaurants
    • Street view
    • Commercial Drive shops
    $1,500,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2315028
    Bedrooms:
    4
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    1,861 sq. ft.
    PROPERTY SOLD AS IS WHERE IS. Fantastic corner lot in desirable Commercial Drive area. 3 blocks to shops and restaurants on the Drive. Lovely quiet treed street. This property is waiting for your renovation or new building design. RT-5 zoned. SHOWING by appointment only with 24 hours notice. Please do not walk on property without appointment. More details
    Listed by Sutton Group-West Coast Realty
  • 2205 E 8TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2315232

    Open House on Saturday, October 20, 2018 2:00PM - 4:00PM
    Open House on Sunday, October 21, 2018 2:00PM - 4:00PM
    Main Photo: 2205 E 8TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2315232
    $1,998,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2315232
    Bedrooms:
    6
    Bathrooms:
    4
    Floor Area:
    2,200 sq. ft.
    GORGEOUS well-designed 1-year new family home on a quiet tree-lined street. Northern exposure backyard, sits on a level 33' x 122' (4,026 sq ft) lot. Located in most desirable GRANDVIEW VE neighbourhood. This two level home offers approx. 2,200 sq. ft. of living area. Main floor features 1-2 bedrooms suite with kitchen & bath, 1-1 bedroom suite with kitchen & bath which is great for mortgage helper. Upper level features an entertaining sized living/dining room and a gourmet kitchen with nook, 3 spacious bedrooms & 2 baths. Radiant floor heating and 2-car garage. Close to school, shopping & transit. Easy access to UBC, downtown & Burnaby. DO NOT want to miss this opportunity. MUST SEE. Public Open House Oct. 20 & 21 (Sat/Sun) 2:00 - 4:00pm. More details
    Listed by RE/MAX Select Properties
  • 2191 VANNESS Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2315803

    Open House on Saturday, October 20, 2018 2:00PM - 4:00PM
    Open House on Sunday, October 21, 2018 2:00PM - 4:00PM
    Main Photo: 2191 VANNESS Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2315803
    $1,998,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2315803
    Bedrooms:
    6
    Bathrooms:
    4
    Floor Area:
    2,784 sq. ft.
    TROUT LAKE BIG LOT + FABULOUS LANEWAY by Small Works. Rarely do you find this combination of location, property and potential. This 42 x 164 corner lot on a quiet one block street has a wonderful outlook over Trout Lake. Main house is a 1953 Bungalow which has been substantially renovated up and down just needs a new kitchen to complete. 2 bdrms up and 2 down, new roof, newer h/e furnace and h/w tank. Draintile done, new bathrooms with heated tile floors and new windows and insulation. Small works built 2016 bdrm + den laneway house 920 Square ft has radiant floor heat and gas fireplace, rents for $2288 per month. Open Sat/Sun October 20/21, 2018 from 2-4 p.m. More details
    Listed by RE/MAX Select Properties
  • 3585 MARSHALL Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2315908

    Open House on Sunday, October 21, 2018 2:00PM - 4:00PM
    Main Photo: 3585 MARSHALL Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2315908
    $1,498,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2315908
    Bedrooms:
    3
    Bathrooms:
    4
    Floor Area:
    2,705 sq. ft.
    A worthwhile project by desirable Trout Lake. This is a retired contractor’s 4 level house that has been gutted, rewired, replumbed and insulated to make it into two 2 level suites. Unfortunately illness has stopped his vision. The top 2 floors are the owners’ suite now 90-95% finished with 2 bedrooms, 2 baths and decks front and rear. The top floor has 3 skylights with mountain views and a great home office. The main and basement floor suite is 66% finished on the main and 33% in the basement. It is also 2 bedrooms (or 1 bedroom + den) and 2 baths, both suites having their own laundry and gas fireplace. Side driveway access to a big 38’x14’ garage. Newer roof, furnace, hot water tank, double glazed windows, 200amp electric and more. OPEN SUN 21 OCT 2-4PM More details
    Listed by RE/MAX David Campbell Realty
  • 2003 E 7TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2314773

    Open House on Saturday, October 20, 2018 1:00PM - 3:00PM
    Open House on Sunday, October 21, 2018 1:00PM - 3:00PM
    Main Photo: 2003 E 7TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2314773
    $2,330,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2314773
    Bedrooms:
    5
    Bathrooms:
    4
    Floor Area:
    2,916 sq. ft.
    Beautifully renovated character house on a corner lot in a prime area of Grandview. The balance of old world charm and modern amenity sets this house apart. 4 bedroom main house unit, with a legal secondary suite with separate entrance and its own laundry and address. The detached garage has been insulated and finished to create a studio/workshop space with a bathroom for projects/ creative endeavours (shows as basement sqft). Oil brushed oak floors, gas range, exposed beams, custom mouldings, brass nickel fixtures, large kitchen island. Smart upgrades include on-demand Navien boiler system, updated mechanical, new windows and much more. Visit our website for the floorplan, more photos, and a full list of features and upgrades. OPEN HOUSE: Sat 20th + Sun 21st 1-3pm or call for private showing. More details
    Listed by RE/MAX Crest Realty
  • 1003 SEMLIN Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2314816

    Main Photo: 1003 SEMLIN Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2314816
    $2,050,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2314816
    Bedrooms:
    5
    Bathrooms:
    3
    Floor Area:
    2,631 sq. ft.
    Gorgeous, Multifamily Hse & Amazing Cash Machine! corner of Semlin & Parker, across from St. Augustine Gardens, 3 blks to Commercial Dr. 3 lvl, 2630 SF. Top: 1 Bdrm, 1 Bath Suite $2288/mo. Main: spacious 2 Bdrm, 1 Bath Suite, w full veranda $2600/mo. Garden: 2 Bdrm, 1 Bath; rented furnished, Airbnb $3500-4000/mo. Huge Income over $104,000/yr, Expenses approx. $14,000/yr, Cap Rate 4.4%! Full Reno’d w permits, $450k spent. New Top Quality Everything: roof, windows, doors, siding, paint, wiring, plumbing, insulation, furnace, H/W heater, drywall, lighting, flooring, kitchens, baths, appliances, etc. Tons of Style, great Accom, Mtn Views. Perfect for Owner-Occupier wanting tons of mtg help! . Call LS for info pkg, floor plan, & to view - 2 day notice. By Appointment only. More details
    Listed by RE/MAX Real Estate Services
  • 201 1661 E 2ND Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2314355

    Main Photo: 201 1661 E 2ND Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2314355
    $515,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2314355
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    448 sq. ft.
    Introducing 2nd & Commercial by Now Developments. Enjoy refined West Coast modern architecture complimented by natural cedar and stone accents, perfectly located in the heart of vibrant Commercial Drive. This studio provides thoughtful interiors, luxurious detailing, and it's LEED Gold certification. This barely used studio is super functional and bright. The large balcony with double sliding doors brings the outdoor in to provide an expansive living space. You'll be sure to feel comfortable and worry free. 2-5-10 year warranty still in place. A great starter home or investment - Rentals and Pets okay. This unit comes with it's own parking stall and 1 storage locker. First Open house: Sat/Sun - October 13-14 from 2-4PM More details
    Listed by Oakwyn Realty Ltd.
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Listing information last updated on October 17, 2018 at 01:19 AM (UTC)

Inside Vancouver Neighbourhoods: Commercial Drive