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False Creek, Vancouver

False Creek is a short inlet in the heart of Vancouver. It separates downtown from the rest of the city. It was named by George Henry Richards during his Hydrographic survey of 1856-63. Science World is located at its eastern end, with the Granville, Cambie, and the Burrard (which is furthest west) Street bridges crossing False Creek. The Canada Line tunnel crosses underneath False Creek just west of the Cambie Bridge. It is one of the four major bodies of water bordering Vancouver along with English Bay, Burrard Inlet and the Fraser River. In 1986 it was the location of the Expo 86 World's Fair.

History

Human settlement in the Lower Fraser region (including present-day Vancouver; see Lower Mainland) began between 8,000 and 10,000 years ago, following the retreat of the Sumas Glacier at the end of the last ice age. The settlement by peoples now known as the Coast Salish predates the arrival of salmon in the river between 4,500 and 5,000 years ago, an occurrence that took place symbiotically with the emergence of Douglas fir, western hemlock, and western red cedar ecosystems between 4,000 and 5,000 years before present-day. According to Squamish-Sto:lo author and historian Lee Maracle, Vancouver was inhabited by “Downriver Halkomelem” speaking peoples, the Tsleil-Waututh.

Contact between Europeans and the indigenous peoples of present-day Vancouver occurred in June 1792. By 1812, Halkomelem peoples had survived three large epidemics from foreign illnesses such as smallpox, introduced through trading routes, including a 1782 outbreak that killed two-thirds of the population. It has been estimated that shortly before the time of first contact and these epidemics, the indigenous population of the Lower Fraser was over 60,000.

An 1830 Hudson’s Bay Company census documented 8,954 indigenous inhabitants in the region, although the census was probably incomplete due to the omitting of an unknown number of settlements. As a result of epidemics, the population of the Tsleil-Waututh was reduced to 41 individuals by 1812, who invited the neighbouring Squamish to reside in Burrard Inlet.

Shortly thereafter, a group of Tsleil-Waututh led by Khatsalahnough, a leader from Lil’wat (near present-day Pemberton), occupied present-day False Creek. At this time, large sand bars existed at the entrance to False Creek, from which False Creek’s indigenous name, Snauq (meaning “sandbar”) is derived. False Creek, which lies in Musqueam territory, was a shared waterway; in addition to the Tsleil-Waututh, the Squamish inhabited False Creek as well, occupying it year-round.

Prior to European settlement, False Creek extended as far east as what is now Clark Drive, while Burrard Inlet was nearly a mile in width. With land reclamation extending into Burrard Inlet and False Creek for port and industrial uses, the landscape began to change dramatically. Once a vital source for Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam, and Squamish food supplies such as sea asparagus, berries, camas, oysters, clams, wild cabbage, and mushrooms, False Creek became polluted with sewage and toxic effluent from sawmills and other industries. As a result, one nickname for False Creek was “Shit Creek”.

In 1913, the Squamish residents of the Kitsilano Reserve, on the False Creek sandbar, were forced to relocate. According to Maracle, the settlement was burned down following the forced evacuation. In 1916, the sandbar on which this settlement was located was built into Granville Island to create new industrial land. In 1917, the eastern basin of False Creek was infilled to create land for the Canadian Northern Railway's Pacific Central Station; transcontinental railway terminals such as this helped earn Vancouver the moniker of "Terminal City". Talk of draining and filling the inlet to Granville Street continued into the 1950s, but that never occurred.

The False Creek area was the industrial heartland of Vancouver through to the 1950s, and was home to many sawmills and small port operations. As industry shifted to other areas, the vicinity around False Creek started to deteriorate. In 1960, BC Forest Products plant and lumber storage facility on the south side of False Creek caught fire in Vancouver's first-ever five-alarm blaze. Every piece of firefighting equipment and all of Vancouver's firefighters fought the blaze for hours, but the facility was totally destroyed.

The future of False Creek south was subsequently shaped by debates on freeways, urban renewal, and the rise of citizen participation in urban planning. Through the 60s, the ruling NPA city government and senior city bureaucrats had hatched a plan - with little or no public consultation - to run freeways through the city. In the same period, the City razed large portions of Strathcona under the aegis of urban renewal. A group of influential citizens formed The Electors Action Movement (TEAM) to oppose the freeway and to radically change the way decisions were made on land use. A key figure amongst these people was Walter Hardwick, a Geography professor at UBC who envisioned the retrofit of this brownfield industrial site into a vibrant waterfront mixed-use community.

First elected to City Council in 1968, Dr. Hardwick led the City's redevelopment team and helped secure the participation of the Federal Government which owned Granville Island. A major public involvement and co-design process followed which established public priorities for an accessible waterfront seawall; mixed-tenure housing including market condominiums, co-op and low-income housing and live-aboard marinas; and a vibrant waterfront market. These plans were formalized in a 1972 Official Development Plan (http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/BYLAWS/odp/fccdd.pdf). The form and mix of development were revolutionary for Vancouver at the time. A third of the site was set aside for housing at 40 units/acre with the balance converted to park, waterfront and community uses.

The North Shore of False Creek (NFC) was further transformed in the 1980s, as it took centre stage during Expo 86. Following Expo, the Province sold the NFC site to Li Ka-shing who brought ideas of a higher density waterfront community to the downtown peninsula. Vancouver's experience with South False Creek and the public participation that shaped it was key to developing NFC as a livable high-density community. For example, Ka-shing's company wanted to develop "islands" of market condos on the waterfront but was soundly rebuffed by the public and by planners who favoured the extension of a 100% publicly accessible waterfront and seawall. The 1991 Official Development Plan enabled significant new density commensurate with the provision of significant public amenities including streetfront shops and services, parks, school sites, community centres, daycares, co-op and low-income housing. Since then, most of the north shore has become a new neighbourhood of dense housing (about 100 units/acre), adding some 50,000 new residents to Vancouver's downtown peninsula.

On December 1, 1998, Vancouver City Council adopted a set of Blueways policies and guidelines stating the vision of a waterfront city where land and water combine to meet the environmental, cultural and economic needs of the City and its people in a sustainable, equitable, high quality manner.

Southeast False Creek (SEFC) is the designation given to the neighbourhood bordered by Cambie, Main, West 2nd Avenue, and False Creek. The 2010 Olympic Village, for athlete housing and logistics of the Winter Olympics, is found in Southeast False Creek. The City of Vancouver has plans to see this neighbourhood developed into a residential area with housing and services for 11,000-13,000 people.

Sports and recreation

False Creek is a very popular boating area for many different activities including dragon boating, canoeing, kayaking, public ferries, charter ships, and visiting pleasure boats. It has 10 marinas with berths for 1500 watercraft and several paddling clubs or boat rental facilities. Since 1986, the creek has been the venue for the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival and other paddling events.

Transportation

Aquabus and False Creek Ferries are two ferry companies that operate daily scheduled service to and from points along False Creek. English Bay Launch provides daily scheduled service from Granville Island on False Creek to Bowen Island. False Creek can also be crossed via Canada Line at Olympic Village Station and Yaletown-Roundhouse Station.

Wildlife and the environment

Several decades following the suspension of industrial activity in the area, a number of shore and seabirds such as cormorants, ducks, herons, kingfishers, owls, geese, crows, and gulls have returned, as well as harbour seals. In an unusual sighting, in May 2010 a grey whale entered False Creek and traversed its length before returning to the open waters of the Strait of Georgia.

Factors working against the further return of wildlife include residual industrial contaminants, spillage from the sewer overflow system into the creek, and the seawall that constrains much of the shoreline with little habitat value. The city has attempted to recreate the natural shoreline in some areas and is working to phase out the antiquated sewer overflow system.

Architecture and urban planning

The False Creek area is an eclectic group of neighborhoods with very different urban planning and architectural techniques/styles. The discrepancies between the north and south shores of False Creek are apparent from the built landscape but, as David Ley from the Geography department at UBC argues, these discrepancies are representative of the social, economic, and cultural movements from which they sprang. The Modern and Post-modern aesthetics that helped to shape western culture during the course of the last century were not wasted on architecture and urban planning either. These movements in art and culture had significant effects on the way people thought about and interacted with their environment and False Creek offers a good example of the disparate design elements and goals that characterize these respective approaches, and of the how the sequence of development changed in response to social pressures.

South False Creek

The south shore of False Creek has had quite a diverse history of land uses since its founding. South False Creek went from being an industrial park, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, to being the populous residential area that it is today. The development of this area, beginning anew in the 1970s, occurred at a critical time in Vancouver’s history when citizens were organizing support for a new picture of the city, one that broke away from the standardized utilitarian cities that were so popular in North America and, instead, pushed for a more livable and diverse built environment. This neighborhood, located on municipally and federally owned land, offered an opportunity for project leaders, often led by TEAM members, to create a new kind of space, what Ley calls a post-modern space. Architecture and urban planning that embrace diversity of design, human-scale proportions, open public spaces, historical and vernacular allusions, diverse demography and the trade of local goods reflect the post-modern goals of inclusion and tradition that were important to the project leaders behind South False Creek. The result is a medium-density area with a variety of architectural designs, ownership opportunities, recreational activities, and modes of transportation, which allows for easier mobility within the community and a more picturesque landscape to be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. Bike paths, parks, unique three-story homes, a public market, and the intentional preservation of mountain-views, and other characteristics, distinguish the area of South False Creek as one of the earliest conscious attempts to create a more “livable” environment for Vancouverites rather than focusing on efficiency and profitability as modernists are often criticized for doing.

North False Creek

The north shore of False Creek, on the downtown peninsula, has undergone multiple stages of development since its purchase by the province from the Canadian Pacific Railway in the early 1980s. Before the BC Cabinet bought the land of North False Creek to begin development for Expo ’86, the land was used for industrial purposes, however, provincial leaders developed a plan to build a sports stadium (BC Place), commercial outlets, and high-density residences on the newly cleared land. The circumstances surrounding the initial development phase of the northern shore of False Creek – strong provincial government involvement, incorporation of corporate partners, the appointment of Arthur Erickson as a project leader, etc. – worked to set the development of the area on a path to modernism with the primary goal being economic profit. BC Place and the accompanying high-density residences and commercial retailers set North False Creek in stark contrast to its southern neighbor, but the differences are more significant than design alone. Yes, the standardized condominiums and streets of the downtown peninsula may offer a more functional or efficient landscape for the modern worker, but even more, this kind of landscape, with its adherence to rational, large-scale, technological spaces, works to keep residents and visitors within the economic dynamo of the city. Although the early development decisions continue to play a role in the experience of the built environment in North False Creek, however, new strides have been taken by the land’s new owner Li Ka-shing, in response to public concerns, to create a more livable and accessible space, although the high-density and mixed use characteristics of the landscape were maintained in this case.

False Creek Listings

False Creek

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  • 105 1490 PENNYFARTHING Drive in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "HARBOUR COVE" (Vancouver West) : MLS® # R2233340

    Main Photo: 105 1490 PENNYFARTHING Drive in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "HARBOUR COVE" (Vancouver West)  : MLS® # R2233340
    • View
    • Living Room
    • Dining Room
    • Kitchen
    • Kitchen
    • Interior Space Layout
    • View
    • Master Bedroom
    • Master Bathroom
    • Foyer
    • Bathroom
    • View
    • Floor Plan 105 1490 Pennyfarthing
    • Granville Island
    • Fisherman's Wharf
    $1,399,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2233340
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,293 sq. ft.
    Freehold waterfront opportunity! COMPLETELY RENOVATED this stunning N/W facing 2 bedroom, 2 bath contemporary style suite offers many stand out features including: chef’s kitchen equipped with Fisher-Paykel & AEG appliances plus large island bar, beautiful wide plank oak floors throughout, Eco fireplace, guest bedroom customized with built-in wall bed & desk, King size master provides 2 fitted closets plus ensuite with heated floors and sizeable shower showcasing dual shower heads. Absolutely nothing to do but move in and enjoy this secure 2nd floor VIEW residence! Searching for location, quality & sophisticated modern taste?…… here it is steps to Granville Island overlooking the peaceful gardens, mountains, water & city! One parking & locker. Rentals OK. Sorry NO pets. More details
    RE/MAX Masters Realty
  • 701 89 W 2ND Avenue in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale (Vancouver West) : MLS® # R2233418

    Main Photo: 701 89 W 2ND Avenue in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale (Vancouver West)  : MLS® # R2233418
    $739,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2233418
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    664 sq. ft.
    Always in demand 1 bedroom & den at the Pinnacle Living in Olympic Village! Very bright and well lit corner unit with A/C. Top of the line finishes and amazing amenities within the bldg. Bonus, there is a second den of good size, can even fit a bed. Easy assess to Skytrain and minutes to downtown with all the wonderful amenities Olympic Village offers! More details
    RE/MAX Crest Realty
  • 610 159 W 2ND Avenue in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "TOWER GREEN AT WEST" (Vancouver West) : MLS® # R2233216

    Main Photo: 610 159 W 2ND Avenue in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "TOWER GREEN AT WEST" (Vancouver West)  : MLS® # R2233216
    $649,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2233216
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    575 sq. ft.
    Here is an opportunity for you to live in the hottest new development in Vancouver TOWER GREEN AT WEST in False Creek- center stage to everything Vancouver has to offer from seaside leisure to myriad of public transport in any direction: Skytrain, Canada Line to YVR, UBC bus. In the heart of the Village-vibrant & friendly community, Tower Green offers upscale luxury living at the utmost convenience of retail, restaurants & parks, rec facility& rooftop patio. This bright spacious 1bdrm & Den features Euro style kitchen with backsplash of Italian marble, recessed under cabinet lighting, imported Vicastone Quartz Carrara countertops, a Fulgor Milano ceramic radiant cooktop & convection oven & built-in Blomberg appliances. Spa-like bath w/ porcelain floor tile, natural stone deep soak tub and glass mosaic vanity. Could the lucky Buyer be YOU? Stop by at the open house this Sat, Jan 20th, 2-4 pm. More details
    RE/MAX Masters Realty
  • 502 1616 COLUMBIA Street in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale (Vancouver West) : MLS® # R2233129

    Main Photo: 502 1616 COLUMBIA Street in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale (Vancouver West)  : MLS® # R2233129
    $638,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2233129
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    506 sq. ft.
    False Creek waterfront living at The Bridge. This one bedroom unit has 9' ceiling height, S/S Miele appliance, Sub Zero fridge, German Eggersman kitchen cabinetry and engineered hardwood flooring. East facing but steps to the park, waterfront, Creekside Community Centre, London Drugs, Urban Fair, Terra breads cafe, Legacy Liquor Store, Banks, and Canada Line and Expo Skytrain Stations. Amenities include indoor swimming pool, gyms, and steam & sauna rooms. More details
    RE/MAX Select Properties
  • 695 MOBERLY Road in Vancouver: False Creek Townhouse for sale in "CREEK VILLAGE" (Vancouver West) : MLS® # R2232650

    Main Photo: 695 MOBERLY Road in Vancouver: False Creek Townhouse for sale in "CREEK VILLAGE" (Vancouver West)  : MLS® # R2232650
    $778,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2232650
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    1,113 sq. ft.
    Fabulous loft-style townhouse located in the desirable “CREEK VILLAGE” waterfront community of False Creek! This 2 bedroom plus loft (could function as 3rd bedroom) offers high ceilings & great sense of space and light. Your private & sunny roof top patio is perched above the grassy courtyard & has beautiful views to the north shore mountains. Great building - fully rainscreened (2012), new membrane & landscaping (2015). Pet friendly, in-suite laundry, hardwood floors & 1 parking/1 locker included. A true walkable location - Canada Line/transit, shopping, restaurants and seawall to Granville Island just minutes away. Prepaid City of Vancouver lease til 2036. OPEN SAT/SUN JAN 20/21, 2:00-4:00 More details
    RE/MAX Clara Hartree
  • 1005 181 W 1ST Avenue in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "BROOK - VILLAGE ON FALSE CREEK" (Vancouver West) : MLS® # R2232693

    Main Photo: 1005 181 W 1ST Avenue in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "BROOK - VILLAGE ON FALSE CREEK" (Vancouver West)  : MLS® # R2232693
    $1,560,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2232693
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,094 sq. ft.
    In Olympic Village, here is a beautifully laid out 2 beds + flex luxurious condo at The Brook available! It is SW corner/end unit (1,094 sq ft) comes with a large wrap-around balcony (393 sq ft) with gorgeous views to False Creek water, park and amazing Vancouver Downtown view. The unit features: Radiant capillary heating and cooling system includes automated exterior blinds and deep balconies for comfort and to limit heat gain, Eggersmann German eco-wood cabinetry, high-end appliances (Miele, Sub-Zero), Dornbracht polished chrome faucets, eco-wool carpeting in bedrooms. Exclusive access to Gold Medal Club; indoor pool, hot tub, sauna, exercise centre, lounge and kids playground. Steps to Creekside Com Rec Centre. More details
    Royal LePage Sussex
  • 326 159 W 2ND Avenue in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "Tower Green" (Vancouver West) : MLS® # R2232703

    Main Photo: 326 159 W 2ND Avenue in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "Tower Green" (Vancouver West)  : MLS® # R2232703
    $1,198,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2232703
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    890 sq. ft.
    Amazing opportunity to own in a newly constructed one of a kind property that features two suites; 1 bd+ den & a studio; both with private entrances, bathrooms and kitchens. A lock-off suite allows you to grow with the condo. If you don’t need the extra space, you can rent out the one of the suites. And if you are buying for investment, that means 2 rental incomes with one buy! Located in one of the most desirable neighbourhoods, Olympic Village; Tower Green is built with Silver LEED equivalent design and construction. Amenities include a state-of-the-art fitness facility & a Lounge featuring the latest technology, broadband Wi-Fi And a common rooftop patio. 1 parking and storage is included. Pets allowed and no rental restrictions. Open House: Saturday, Jan 20th and Sunday, Jan 21st 2-4. More details
    Oakwyn Realty Ltd.
  • 621 159 W 2ND Avenue in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "TOWER GREEN AT WEST" (Vancouver West) : MLS® # R2232800

    Main Photo: 621 159 W 2ND Avenue in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "TOWER GREEN AT WEST" (Vancouver West)  : MLS® # R2232800
    $649,900
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2232800
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    519 sq. ft.
    Start the new year in style w/ Olympic Village's BRAND NEW, CONCRETE LUXURY BUILDING, Tower Green at West! This BRIGHT & SPACIOUS 1 BED feat. floor-to-ceiling windows, H/W floors throughout, and generous flex space. Eurostyle kitchen incl. a backsplash of Italian marble, recessed under cabinet lighting, imported Vicastone Quartz Carrara countertops, a Fulgor Milano ceramic radiant cooktop & convection oven & built-in Blomberg appliances. Spa-like bath w/ porcelain floor tile, natural stone deep soaker tub, and stone & glass mosaic vanity. Premier building w/ full-time concierge, fitness club, and rooftop patio. Live in Vancouver's best location, packed full of choice restaurants, bars, shops, & steps to the Seawall and 2 skytrain stations. Open 2-4 Sat/Sun. More details
    Century 21 In Town Realty
  • 315 159 W 2ND Avenue in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "TOWER GREEN AT WEST" (Vancouver West) : MLS® # R2232877

    Main Photo: 315 159 W 2ND Avenue in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "TOWER GREEN AT WEST" (Vancouver West)  : MLS® # R2232877
    • Kitchen
    • Living Room
    • Kitchen
    • Living Room
    • Bedroom
    • Bedroom
    • Solarium
    • Bathroom
    • Flex Room
    • View
    • Floorplan
    • Rooftop Garden
    • Rooftop Garden
    • Rooftop Garden
    • Amenity Room
    $777,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2232877
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    575 sq. ft.
    Bright, open-concept 1 bedroom + Flex in the heart of Olympic Village, perfectly situated between both Expo & Canada Line stations, & only steps to all amenities. With 8'4 ceilings, the south-facing floor to ceiling windows plus Juliet balcony offers plenty of natural light & unobstructed views of Cambie & Mount Pleasant. This brand new, GST PAID Unit features one of the best floor-plans in the development with a Large Solarium that can be converted into a 2nd Bedroom & with a spacious Flexroom that can be converted into a walk-in closet or study. High-quality design, features spa-style bathroom with rainfall shower, as well as quartz kitchen countertops, Upgraded Sprinkler system & Blomberg appliances. Easy to live in or rent out. 1 parking, 1 storage locker. Open Houses Jan 20/21 (2-4pm) More details
    Coldwell Banker Westburn Rlty.
  • 307 1633 ONTARIO Street in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "KAYAK" (Vancouver West) : MLS® # R2232506

    Main Photo: 307 1633 ONTARIO Street in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "KAYAK" (Vancouver West)  : MLS® # R2232506
    $699,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2232506
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    625 sq. ft.
    Welcome to Kayak at Olympic Village! Beautiful, bright, spacious one bedroom, one bathroom home with flex space. Kayak is LEED platinum certified, one of the most environmentally responsible developments in the world. Featuring 10’ ceilings, German-imported kitchens with ample cabinetry, energy-efficient radiant heating and cooling system, Miele stainless steel appliances, gas range and Sub-Zero fridge. All within an open layout with no wasted space. Ownership includes use of spa-like amenities at the Gold Medal Club including gym, pool, sauna, steam room; as well as an additional fitness area and lounge directly off the building’s main lobby. One parking close to elevator and double-sized storage. Serene courtyard; just a block to trendy restaurants – Craft Beer, Flying Pig, Tap & Barrel; as well as conveniences such as London Drugs, Urban Fare, Terra Breads and access to the Waterfront Seawall. Publicly accessible living with a short walk to Skytrain, buses & Aquabus. OPEN HOUSE Sat/Sun, Jan 20/21, 2-4pm. More details
    RE/MAX Crest Realty
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Listing information last updated on January 22, 2018

False Creek, Vancouver ‪バンクーバー‬ CANADA