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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
  • 1622 E 1ST Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2198021

    $1,599,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2198021
    Bedrooms:
    8
    Bathrooms:
    3
    Floor Area:
    2,440 sq. ft.
    Investors alert in prime and vibrant Commercial Drive area. This property brings in $55,800 per year and nets around 3% cap rate. The RM-4N zoning offers great opportunity for new development and is in line for new RM6 zoning in near future, which offers 2.4 FSR and 6 storeys potential. The property has a newer roof, furnace, HWT and is always fully rented. Great holding property with future potential development. Call today to get more information. More details
    RE/MAX Crest Realty Westside
  • 202 1433 E 1ST Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "GRANDVIEW GARDENS" (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2197502

    Open House on Thursday, August 17, 2017 5:00PM - 6:00PM
    Open House on Saturday, August 19, 2017 12:00PM - 2:00PM
    Open House on Sunday, August 20, 2017 2:30PM - 4:00PM
    Main Photo: 202 1433 E 1ST Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "GRANDVIEW GARDENS" (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2197502
    $525,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2197502
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    831 sq. ft.
    Don’t miss this 2 bed, 1.5 bath unit only 2 blocks to Commercial Drive! This 831sqft corner unit has a spacious floor plan with a great flow. The living room is south facing with a modern gas fireplace & a covered balcony. The dining area can fit a big table and opens into the kitchen, which boasts lots of cabinet & counter space. Both bedrooms are large and removed from the living space. The master has a large closet & powder room. The foyer contains ample space for shoes & jackets and has a generous in suite storage space. The unit comes with in suite laundry & parking. The building allows 3 pets & offers a fantastic roof top deck with unobstructed views of downtown and the north shore mountains. This is a well maintained complex with lots of money in the CRF. Enjoy living in one of Vancouver’s best neighbourhoods, with all the amenities you need - including Skytrain - only a short walk away. Come to our Open Houses: Thurs 5-6pm, Sat 12-2pm, Sun 2:30-4pm. More details
    RE/MAX Crest Realty Westside
  • 2285 CHARLES Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2197303

    Main Photo: 2285 CHARLES Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2197303
    $1,588,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2197303
    Bedrooms:
    7
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,950 sq. ft.
    Attention Builders ! prime location across from a new park and the new elementary school called Lord Nelson. This 33 x 122 foot lot is going to have it's zoning changed from RS-7 to the new RT 5 duplex zoning allowing 75% SFR. This zoning change is going to council September 21st 2017 to be rubber stamped. Lot value only, house has rental potential. More details
    Sutton Centre Realty
  • 103 1420 E 7TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "Landmark Court" (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2197028

    Open House on Thursday, August 17, 2017 6:30PM - 7:00PM
    Open House on Saturday, August 19, 2017 2:00PM - 4:00PM
    Open House on Sunday, August 20, 2017 2:00PM - 4:00PM
    Main Photo: 103 1420 E 7TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "Landmark Court" (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2197028
    • Patio/Deck
    • Exterior Front
    • Exterior Front
    • Foyer
    • Living Room
    • Living Room
    • Dining Room
    • Dining Room
    • Dining Room
    • Kitchen
    • Kitchen
    • Master Bedroom
    • Den
    • 2nd bedroom
    • Bathroom
    • Patio/Deck
    • Patio/Deck
    • Patio/Deck
    • Patio/Deck
    • Exterior Back
    $599,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2197028
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    903 sq. ft.
    Contemporary design 2 bedroom & den strata suite with wrap around private yard. Excellent location close to Commercial Drive shopping district. This suite has new kitchen cabinets and appliances, updated interior and features include a gas fireplace and insuite laundry. Over 600 sq.ft of outdoor space (completely fenced) with north and west exposure. Radiant baseboard hot water heat included in monthly strata fee. Cat allowed, one storage locker and one underground parking included. Quality "Landmark" building. OPEN HOUSE AUG 19/20, SAT/SUN 2-4 PM More details
    RE/MAX Crest Realty Westside
  • 102 1540 E 4TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "The Woodlands" (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2196818

    Open House on Thursday, August 17, 2017 5:30PM - 7:00PM
    Open House on Saturday, August 19, 2017 2:00PM - 4:00PM
    Open House on Sunday, August 20, 2017 2:00PM - 4:00PM
    Main Photo: 102 1540 E 4TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "The Woodlands" (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2196818
    $479,900
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2196818
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    676 sq. ft.
    Patio Patio Patio - This spacious 2 bed / 1 bath home located in the heart of The Drive presents a stunning 337 sqft wrap around private patio with brand new fencing for maximum privacy. Step outside & relax or host a summer BBQ for all your friends. With engineered hardwood flooring throughout, the open living & dining area are perfectly laid out for every day livability. Newer bathroom, lots of closet space, & updated kitchen with newer backsplash & counters are added perks in this fantastic home, located only steps from schools, shopping, restaurants & transit. Don't miss out on this worry-free building with updates on roof, newer cedar wood siding, drainage, exterior paint, windows and balcony doors. Sneak Peek, Thurs, Aug 17, 5:30-7pm, Open House Sat & Sat, Aug 19&20, 2-4pm More details
    Oakwyn Realty Ltd.
  • 1569 E 12TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2196256

    Open House on Saturday, August 19, 2017 2:00PM - 4:00PM
    Main Photo: 1569 E 12TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2196256
    $1,449,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2196256
    Bedrooms:
    6
    Bathrooms:
    3
    Floor Area:
    2,341 sq. ft.
    Tastefully renovated, new plumbing and electrical. Duplex lot. Located in one of the most convenient place in East Vancouver, Trendy Commercial Drive, short walk to Broadway Skytrain and 99-B line and shopping. Best option to live in and for investment. 6 bedrooms, 3 full bath, one on each level. Great investment for Land Assembly potential that falls into the Granview Woodland Community Plan. Please check the City's website for details. All measurements are approximate, buyers to verify if deemed important. Open House August 19 (Saturday) 2-4pm. More details
    Luxmore Realty
  • 2341 PARKER Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2196170

    Main Photo: 2341 PARKER Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2196170
    $1,649,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2196170
    Bedrooms:
    4
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,671 sq. ft.
    INVESTORS alert! Well maintained house sits on lot 33'x 122', boast over 1600 sq ft, 4 bedrooms & 2 bathrooms. The main floor has large living area, kitchen with nook together & 2 bedrooms. Downstairs features kitchen, 2 bedrooms & full bath as a perfect mortgage helper. Great central location which you can enjoy. Just steps to transit, Templeton Secondary, park, restaurants, cafes, and shopping on Commercial Drive. Ideally for hold or rebuild new dream house. Future build for duplex with Grandview community plan proposed re-zoning. More details
    RE/MAX Select Properties and Sutton Grp-West Coast (w.blvd)
  • 1232 VICTORIA Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale in "COMMERCIAL DRIVE" (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2195634

    Main Photo: 1232 VICTORIA Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale in "COMMERCIAL DRIVE" (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2195634
    $1,599,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2195634
    Bedrooms:
    5
    Bathrooms:
    4
    Floor Area:
    2,898 sq. ft.
    Mechanically-sound character home has 3 lovely suites over 4 levels in Commercial Drive! Ground level has cozy 1 bed suite with 7’6 ceilings rented for $1215 + lots of storage. Main level has spacious & bright 2 bed suite rented for $1700, with large sunny kitchen & French doors out to a south facing deck. 2 level upper suite rented for $1680, has 2 beds & 2 baths. Featuring a sunny kitchen with exposed brick, French doors to a private balcony, lofted ceilings with skylights & a cool top floor master suite with cedar ceilings, open den & ensuite bath make it a hip space, great for owner-occupying. All suites have their own laundry. Just steps to schools, parks, transit & vibrant life on The Drive, this is a fabulous investment into a booming community! More details
    RE/MAX Select Realty
  • 1656 E 4TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House Fourplex for sale in "Commercial Drive" (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2195268

    Main Photo: 1656 E 4TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE House Fourplex for sale in "Commercial Drive" (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2195268
    $1,988,000
    Multifamily
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2195268
    Bedrooms:
    9
    Bathrooms:
    4
    Floor Area:
    3,638 sq. ft.
    Big 4 level character styled home in the heart of The Drive! 4 self contained suites grossing over $82,000 per annum! "Valuable RM4 (apartment) zoning! A stones throw to all that Commercial Drive has to offer; restaurants, coffee bars, Skytrain, makes this property ultra attractive to owner/occupiers + tenants. All mechanical aspects of this home have been upgraded in the past 2-5 years; Roof, plumbing, electrical panel + wiring, H/W tank + windows. All suites upgraded in the past 2-3 years. 4 suites in total, 2 3BR, 1 2BR, 1 1BR. Perfect Investment for someone who wants to live in 1 suite and collect great income to cover those mortgage payments. Open Houses Saturday & Sunday August 12/13, 2-4PM More details
    RE/MAX Crest Realty Westside
  • PH6 1516 E 1ST Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "WOODLAND VILLA" (Vancouver East) : MLS® # R2195661

    Open House on Saturday, August 19, 2017 2:00PM - 4:00PM
    Open House on Sunday, August 20, 2017 2:00PM - 4:00PM
    Main Photo: PH6 1516 E 1ST Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "WOODLAND VILLA" (Vancouver East)  : MLS® # R2195661
    • Hardi Plank exterior. Fully rainscreened in 2012.
    • Brand new Washer
    • Pleasant and quiet back lane view. Good distance between opposite apartment.
    • Fully Rainscreened.
    $499,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2195661
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    751 sq. ft.
    VERY QUIET, south facing Penthouse with skylight. Well kept, bright, spacious, ON QUIET side of building. 2 bedroom + den (can easily be another bedroom) good size usable balcony. Fully rain screened w/5 year warranty. MOVE IN READY, or renovate according to your taste with little effort. Features: HARDI PLANK sidings, newer double glazed windows, and laminate flooring. Centrally located to hip, trendy Commercial Drive. WALKING DISTANCE to Britannia Community Centre, parks, schools, Skytrain and bus. THERE IS NOTHING BETTER THAN THIS HOME W/ THIS PRICE POINT. WHAT'S HOLDING YOU BACK? OPEN HOUSE: Aug 12/13 (2 - 4pm). More details
    Sutton Grp-West Coast (Van49)
1-10/91
Listing information last updated on August 17, 2017

Inside Vancouver Neighbourhoods: Commercial Drive