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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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  • 601 1708 COLUMBIA Street in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale (Vancouver West) : MLS® # R2222915

    Main Photo: 601 1708 COLUMBIA Street in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale (Vancouver West)  : MLS® # R2222915
    $599,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2222915
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    513 sq. ft.
    A jewel in the centre of False Creek area with 1 big bedroom, 1 den, plus a solarium that can be used as a 2nd bedroom, an office, dining room, sunroom or up to your creativity of use. The very functional and open floor plan is packed with professional grade appliances such as chef's Viking gas range and Bloomberg Stainless Steel fridge, as well as beautiful stone countertop & luxurious spa-like bath with soaker tub. You can enjoy the beautiful sunset strolling down the seawall to Granville Island, the Science World or even to Yaletown. It's the perfect Vancouver lifestyle that you would love to have. Don't miss out on this golden opportunity of owning an unit in this community that everyone is trying to get into. More details
    Mayfair Commercial RE Advisors
  • 806 181 W 1ST Avenue in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "BROOK AT THE VILLAGE" (Vancouver West) : MLS® # R2223073

    Open House on Thursday, November 23, 2017 6:00PM - 7:00PM
    Open House on Saturday, November 25, 2017 2:00PM - 4:00PM
    Main Photo: 806 181 W 1ST Avenue in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "BROOK AT THE VILLAGE" (Vancouver West)  : MLS® # R2223073
    • 181 West 1st Ave - BROOK at the Village
    • Lobby
    • Living Room
    • Living Room
    • Dining Room
    • Kitchen
    • Kitchen
    • Master Bedroom
    • Master Bedroom
    • Master Bathroom
    • Master Bathroom
    • Bedroom
    • Bedroom
    • Bathroom
    • Den
    • Balcony
    • View
    $1,398,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2223073
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,118 sq. ft.
    The Brook at the Olympic Village, Luxury LEED certified building. This open 1,118 sqft floor plan is a large 2 bedroom and Den unit, with NW facing balcony, featuring 9' high ceilings and a great layout. 200 SqFt patio, facing the water. This unit offers luxury living at its best: Kitchens German imported cabinets, high end faucets, State-of-the-art heating & cooling system, Miele appliances, gas range, and SubZero fridge. Built by Millennium at the Olympic Games in 2010 this building’s amenities are second to none: The Gold Medal Club is over 6000 SqFt with fitness center, indoor pool, Sauna/steam room, and hot tub. The building is walking distance to Urban Fare Grocery, London Drugs, Legacy Liquor store JJ Beans, Olympic Village Square, and steps away from Hinge Park and the seawall. More details
    Sotheby's Int'l Realty Canada
  • 516 38 W 1ST Avenue in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "The One" (Vancouver West) : MLS® # R2222667

    Main Photo: 516 38 W 1ST Avenue in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "The One" (Vancouver West)  : MLS® # R2222667
    $600,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2222667
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    545 sq. ft.
    This is the ONE. Comfortable and open one bedroom in the Olympic Village in the heart of Southeast False Creek. Gourmet kitchen features natural stone countertops, top-end stainless steel appliances and a gas cook top. All the best of the neighbourhood is just a short walk away. Brewpubs, Urban Fare, Creekside Community Centre, the Seawall and Skytrain! It is all right here. The ONE has an amazing outdoor pool, rooftop terrace, playground, meeting room and rooftop pool with Jacuzzi. Open House Saturday 12:30 - 2:30, & Sunday 1 - 4 pm More details
    Century 21 In Town Realty
  • 5 1201 LAMEY'S MILL Road in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "ALDER BAY PLACE" (Vancouver West) : MLS® # R2222421

    Main Photo: 5 1201 LAMEY'S MILL Road in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "ALDER BAY PLACE" (Vancouver West)  : MLS® # R2222421
    $999,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2222421
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,531 sq. ft.
    Gorgeous, unobstructed, water, marina, city & mountain views from this unique split level townhouse style condo. Ready to customize with your own decorating ideas, this home lives like a house with all rooms spacious enough to hold house sized furniture. Fantastic location to enjoy a quintessential Vancouver lifestyle. Steps to seawall and much acclaimed Granville Island's market, restaurants, shops and live performance theatres. Features include a wood burning fireplace & balcony. Kitchen and main bathroom nicely updated. Fully rainscreened building with a communal rooftop deck. Vancouver City Leasehold prepaid to 2040. More details
    Sotheby's Int'l Realty Canada
  • 1401 38 W 1ST Avenue in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "THE ONE" (Vancouver West) : MLS® # R2222353

    Main Photo: 1401 38 W 1ST Avenue in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "THE ONE" (Vancouver West)  : MLS® # R2222353
    $1,649,900
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2222353
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,182 sq. ft.
    STUNNING OLYMPIC VILLAGE PENTHOUSE WITH EXPANSIVE CITY VIEWS AND ROOFTOP DECK. The best things come in pairs - 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 dens, 2 patios, 2 private parking stalls and 2 storage lockers. This corner penthouse features floor to ceiling windows and overheight ceilings to enjoy the best city vistas, upgraded kitchen with waterfall countertops and showpiece faucet, and air-conditioning. Perfect for entertaining, this open concept floorplan boasts a large dining and living room and continue the party on the rooftop deck with expansive, breathtaking views. 2 large separated bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms and plenty of storage, this one ticks all the boxes. Building amenities include outdoor swimming pool and fitness centre. OPEN HOUSE: SATURDAY, NOV 18 & SUNDAY, NOV 19 2-4PM*** More details
    Oakwyn Realty Ltd.
  • 1103 1783 MANITOBA Street in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "RESIDENCES AT WEST" (Vancouver West) : MLS® # R2222252

    Main Photo: 1103 1783 MANITOBA Street in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "RESIDENCES AT WEST" (Vancouver West)  : MLS® # R2222252
    $859,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2222252
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    714 sq. ft.
    Prestigious Westside Waterfront Community - Olympic Village, Vancouver! Vibrant, friendly & convenient neighborhood just steps to the Village Center (London Drugs/Urban Fare), skytrain station, Canada Line to YVR, miles of seawall, UBC #84 Bus at your doorstep, mins to Downtown! Effortless seaside lifestyle. Exquisite Jr. 2 bedroom, SE corner w/ultimate privacy & unobstructed 180 degree views as far as you can see - horizon & city/mountain scapes, bright & open modern, SS Blomberg & Italian Fulgor Milano appliances, stone composite counters, opposite bedrooms for maximum privacy, oversized 5 pce bathroom w/dual vanity, flex (great office), wide plank lam floors, no GST, one large parking. 1st open house Sat/Sun Nov 18 & 19, 2-4pm. More details
    Sutton Grp-West Coast (Brdwy)
  • 106 1551 MARINER Walk in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "The Lagoons" (Vancouver West) : MLS® # R2222093

    Main Photo: 106 1551 MARINER Walk in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "The Lagoons" (Vancouver West)  : MLS® # R2222093
    $949,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2222093
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,094 sq. ft.
    Here is your opportunity to live in one of Vancouver's most desirable waterfront communities. A lifestyle few get to enjoy nestled along the False Creek seawall across from Granville Island. Located in the Lagoons development this spacious original home boasts ample room sizes with private oversized garden patio area that's perfectly designed for entertaining or relaxing with family. Embrace the Creek style of living with all the required amenities literally at your doorstep, inclusive of all the artisan shops, restaurants, pubs, theatres, marina, and island market for all your fresh groceries. Stroll or bike the miles of seawall or hop on one of the Creek ferries to visit Yaletown and Olympic Village. 2 parking, extra storage. More details
    Engel & Volkers Vancouver
  • 604 1661 ONTARIO Street in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "SAILS" (Vancouver West) : MLS® # R2221859

    Main Photo: 604 1661 ONTARIO Street in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "SAILS" (Vancouver West)  : MLS® # R2221859
    $1,398,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2221859
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,189 sq. ft.
    Location, location, location. This fantastic & quiet 2 bed & den, 2 bath, 1,189 sf suite boasts a beautiful open plan, city and mountain views (some water view). Large master bedroom with 5 pce ensuite, 2nd bedroom also with ensuite, granite countertops, Miele & Sub-Zero appliances, gas cooktop, large balcony. Located in the Village at False Creek (formerly known as the Olympic Village). Stroll along the seawall, go for coffee and pastries at Terra Breads, shop at Urban Fare, dine at one of the many restaurants at your doorstep. Walkscore 97, Transit Score 100, 1 parking, 1 storage, pets & rentals allowed w/ restrictions. Gold medal club access + with bonus fitness room in bldg. Open House: Sun, Nov 19th, 1:00-3:00 PM. More details
    TRG-The Residential Group Rlty
  • 608 123 W 1ST Avenue in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "COMPASS" (Vancouver West) : MLS® # R2222271

    Main Photo: 608 123 W 1ST Avenue in Vancouver: False Creek Condo for sale in "COMPASS" (Vancouver West)  : MLS® # R2222271
    • Flex Room
    • Rooftop Deck
    • View From Rooftop Deck
    $599,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2222271
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    574 sq. ft.
    Enjoy living in the heart of Olympic Village in this luxurious 1 bedroom + flex. Inside you'll be treated to ultra high 9'7' ceilings, radiant heating & cooling, hardwood floors, Miele Integrated appliances & German Eggersman cabinetry & a spacious spa bathroom with dual floating vanity & soaker tub. Outside, your large private balcony offers fantastic views of the ocean & mountains. Includes parking, locker, private access to a rooftop garden & lounge & world-class facilities at the Gold Medal Club (indoor pool, hot tub, sauna/steam, gym). Everything is at your doorstep: seawall, Canada Line, shopping, Craft Beer Market & more! Sneak Peak Fri Nov 17 10-12pm. Open house Sat Nov 18, 1-3pm, Sun Nov 19, 2-4pm. More details
    Sutton Grp-West Coast (Brdwy)
  • 1703 ONTARIO Street in Vancouver: False Creek Townhouse for sale in "The One" (Vancouver West) : MLS® # R2222021

    Main Photo: 1703 ONTARIO Street in Vancouver: False Creek Townhouse for sale in "The One" (Vancouver West)  : MLS® # R2222021
    $1,298,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2222021
    Bedrooms:
    3
    Bathrooms:
    3
    Floor Area:
    1,133 sq. ft.
    You can have it all! A Family sized 3 bedroom + den, concrete townhouse in the heart of Vancouver's Olympic Village. Rare corner townhouse offers abundant natural light, private entry, & views of the newest neighborhood park across the street. 3 full bedrooms & den, 3 bathrooms, air conditioning, parking, storage and a 300 sq foot patio to top it all off. Building amenities include an outdoor pool & hot tub, fully equipped gym and party room. Steps from the sea wall, parks, community center and retail shops. This is the one you've been waiting for! Open Houses Sat & Sun Nov 18/19: 2-4PM or call for a private viewing. More details
    Oakwyn Realty Ltd. and Macdonald Realty Westmar
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Listing information last updated on November 20, 2017

False Creek, Vancouver ‪バンクーバー‬ CANADA