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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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  • 316 2250 COMMERCIAL Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "Marquee" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2309214

    Open House on Saturday, September 29, 2018 2:00PM - 4:00PM
    Open House on Sunday, September 30, 2018 2:00PM - 4:00PM
    Main Photo: 316 2250 COMMERCIAL Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "Marquee" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2309214
    $549,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2309214
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    578 sq. ft.
    Quality Build on The Drive! The Marquee - Concrete, Brick, Steel & Boutique. This home features: Open West views (amazing sunsets) over vibrant Commercial Drive, open floor plan, over-height ceilings, gas range, quartz countertops, marble backsplash, laminate floors throughout, in-suite laundry, spacious bathroom with heated floors & a balcony. Right in the heart of the Drive this home is steps from the Skytrain, trendy restaurants, shops, and anything else you could need! The home comes with parking, storage & bike storage, and allows rentals and pets! Easy to show and a pleasure. OPEN HOUSE, SAT & SUN, SEPT 29 &30, 2-4PM More details
    Listed by Oakwyn Realty Ltd.
  • 102 1943 E 1ST Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE Townhouse for sale in "The Vault at Victoria Court" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2308799

    Open House on Thursday, September 27, 2018 5:30PM - 6:30PM
    Main Photo: 102 1943 E 1ST Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE Townhouse for sale in "The Vault at Victoria Court" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2308799
    $869,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2308799
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,237 sq. ft.
    Welcome to "The Vault" (circa 1915), a unique heritage complex just steps from Commercial Drive. This unit is a stylish 2 level, 3 entrance townhouse in a distinguished 6 unit complex, facing the quieter side of the building. The main floor has an open plan with large dining area, private outlook and is perfect for entertaining or relaxing. 2 bedrooms down and a flex space excellent for an office, hobby or reading nook. An abundance of private storage with full size laundry room. Your own discreet basement entrance allows you to store bikes and sports equipment without going through the living space. Chill out and BBQ on your double level patio and deck. Private assigned parking just outside the suite. Pets welcome. 2 blocks to the heart of local amenities. Open Thurs, Sept 27, 5:30-6:30pm More details
    Listed by Royal LePage Sussex
  • 2880 LAKEWOOD Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE House 1/2 Duplex for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2309015

    Main Photo: 2880 LAKEWOOD Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE House 1/2 Duplex for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2309015
    $1,480,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2309015
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,950 sq. ft.
    2860 Lakewood Dr. and 2880 Lakewood Dr. to be sold together as is where is. Calling all builders: great potential for development! Combined over 8000 square-feet of land. Possibility to build two duplexes on corner lots. Walking distance to Trout Lake and close to sky train, shopping, Commercial Dr., and Croatian Cultural Center. More details
    Listed by Macdonald Realty
  • 2860 LAKEWOOD Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE House 1/2 Duplex for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2309013

    Main Photo: 2860 LAKEWOOD Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE House 1/2 Duplex for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2309013
    $1,480,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2309013
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,950 sq. ft.
    2860 Lakewood Dr. and 2880 Lakewood Dr. to be sold together as is where is. Calling all builders: great potential for development! Combined over 8000 square-feet of land. Possibility to build two duplexes on corner lots. Walking distance to Trout Lake and close to sky train, shopping, Commercial Dr., and Croatian Cultural center. More details
    Listed by Macdonald Realty
  • 209 1707 CHARLES Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "CITY LIGHTS" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2308122

    Open House on Sunday, September 30, 2018 2:00PM - 4:00PM
    Main Photo: 209 1707 CHARLES Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale in "CITY LIGHTS" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2308122
    $849,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2308122
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,198 sq. ft.
    Truly unparalleled living space on The Drive! 2 bdms, 2 newly renovated baths & 2 large levels of living over nearly 1200 SF, w/all of Commercial Drive's shops, services, restaurants & the skytrain at your doorstop! Located on the QUIET SIDE of the building, the first floor features 2 huge bdrms & full bathroom & storage. Up, you will find a bright open living space including a kitchen w/white quartz counter tops & brand new Whirlpool S/S appliances, pantry, a generous living/dining area, gas fireplace w/marble surround, a brand new 3 piece bath & patio to enjoy the morning or evening sun on. City Lights is fully rainscreened, well maintained, has a sprawling communal roof top patio w/endless city, mountain & water views & allows RENTALS & PETS! Open Sun Sept 30 2-4 PM or by appt. More details
    Listed by RE/MAX Crest Realty and Royal LePage Sussex
  • 302 1365 E 7TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2308012

    Main Photo: 302 1365 E 7TH Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE Condo for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2308012
    $529,900
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2308012
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    600 sq. ft.
    Enjoy living off "The Drive" with this fully updated 1 bedroom suite. This bright, spacious suite offers excellent finishings, functional layout & wood burning fire place. UPGRADES include: vinyl plank & porcelain tile flooring, new light fixtures, new kitchen cabinets w/quartz counters, new fridgee, DW, stove, OTR microwave, washer/dryer, bathroom vanity w/quartz counters, sink & toilet. Pro-active strata - new balconies (2009), new roof (2012), elevator upgrades (2014), repiped (2016), skylight (2018). Convenient distance to transit, theatres, shopping, restaurants, VCC & great parks. Includes 1 parking & locker. Strata fees incl HW heat, pet/rentals OK. More details
    Listed by Royal LePage Sussex
  • 1423 E 1ST Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE Townhouse for sale in "GRANDVIEW CASCADES" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2307032

    Main Photo: 1423 E 1ST Avenue in Vancouver: Grandview VE Townhouse for sale in "GRANDVIEW CASCADES" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2307032
    $1,149,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2307032
    Bedrooms:
    3
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,337 sq. ft.
    Stunning modern 3 bedroom w/den & office. Huge rooftop deck w/gas hookup & incredible mountain & city views. One of 22 units in a small friendly complex. Bright open kitchen w/stainless Fisher Paykel fridge, gas range, quartz counters and back splash. Great storage w/built-in cabinets & closets & storage locker. Listen to music from your Built-in speakers & prepare for a restful sleep with custom blackout blinds. One underground parking w/electric car hookup, bike storage & easy access to bike lanes, bus and skytrain. Close to breweries & less than a 5-minute walk to the heart of the Drive w/great restaurants, amenities & services makes Grandview Cascades a great home.Open House SAT SEPT 22 SUN SEPT 23 from 2-4 PM More details
    Listed by RE/MAX City Realty
  • 1324 COTTON Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE House 1/2 Duplex for sale in "COMMERCIAL DRIVE" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2307084

    Open House on Sunday, September 30, 2018 1:00PM - 3:00PM
    Main Photo: 1324 COTTON Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE House 1/2 Duplex for sale in "COMMERCIAL DRIVE" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2307084
    $1,049,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2307084
    Bedrooms:
    3
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,165 sq. ft.
    Great value in this complete, newly remodelled upper half duplex home, nestled on a tree-lined street steps away from The Drive. Top floor incl 2 large bedrooms with great storage, full bath, vaulted ceilings & VIEW. Main floor incl 3rd bedroom & 2nd full bath. Modern kitchen offers high end s/s appliances, gas range, stone counters & island breakfast bar overlooking an open living/dining area. White oak floors + glass-tiled bathroom + laundry nook. Upper floor is bathed in natural light from skylights & offers sweeping vistas of the downtown skyline. Great curb appeal with a modern redesign of this character classic. Incredible East Van location tucked around the corner from transit, shopping, markets, parks, schools & world class eateries on Commercial Drive. OPEN HOUSE SUN SEPT 30TH 1-3PM! More details
    Listed by RE/MAX Select Realty
  • 1322 COTTON Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE House 1/2 Duplex for sale in "COMMERCIAL DRIVE" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2307040

    Open House on Sunday, September 30, 2018 1:00PM - 3:00PM
    Main Photo: 1322 COTTON Drive in Vancouver: Grandview VE House 1/2 Duplex for sale in "COMMERCIAL DRIVE" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2307040
    $1,399,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2307040
    Bedrooms:
    3
    Bathrooms:
    3
    Floor Area:
    1,476 sq. ft.
    The feel of a brand new home w/NO GST! Newly renovated lower 1/2 duplex home in prime Commercial Drive location! Enter a functional 2 lvl home with 3 bedrooms + 2 baths below an open main level. White oak floors, beautiful tile & high ceilings in a spacious living & dining area big enough for the whole family. Modern kitchen boasts s/s high-end appliances, gas range, stone counters & ample windows. Complete w/ powder rm & laundry rm. 3 bedrooms with high ceilings & ensuite bathrooms on lower floor. Storage throughout. Home boasts original character charm w/ contemporary feel. Dedicated parking spot behind+private south facing patio. No strata fees. Tucked around the corner from vibrant eateries, transit, coffee & markets on The Drive. OPEN HOUSE SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 30TH 1-3PM! More details
    Listed by RE/MAX Select Realty
  • 1404 PARKER Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2306910

    Main Photo: 1404 PARKER Street in Vancouver: Grandview VE House for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2306910
    $1,650,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2306910
    Bedrooms:
    5
    Bathrooms:
    3
    Floor Area:
    2,324 sq. ft.
    Rock solid house completely rebuilt in 2005 from the foundation up. Top quality renovation with concrete hardy plank siding, double glazed windows, completely re-wired and re-plumbed, two electrical panels (300 amp total), commercial grade sound proofing, underground irrigation system with huge south facing deck off the top floor. Currently being rented as four separate suites but can easily converted into a single family home with a revenue generator. Lots of options here; revenue generator or single family home with nothing to do but move in. First showing OPEN HOUSE SATURDAY SEPT 22ND FROM 12:00-1:30 More details
    Listed by Engel & Volkers Vancouver
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Listing information last updated on September 24, 2018 at 09:25 PM (UTC)

Inside Vancouver Neighbourhoods: Commercial Drive