June 2015

Here’s a list of up-and-coming streets and neighbourhoods that Tourism Vancouver’s Communications team has their eye on at the moment. Contact our team for further details

West Hastings Street

The formerly grungy stretch of West Hastings Street between Cambie and Carrrall is fast becoming a magnet for the cool crowd. The change started back in 2006 when the old Woodward's Department Store was demolished to make way for a new mixed-use residential, educational and arts complex that rapidly changed the demographic mix of the area. New retailers include Purebread Bakery (heavenly cakes, cookies and coffee, opened October 2014), Eastwood Cycle Sanctuary (fancy spin gym opened in September 2014) and Luke's General Store (modern general store opened November 2014). Other notable addresses include the trendy Wildebeest restaurant (opened 2013, and hipster diners Save on Meats and Acme Café.

Union Street

This short street on the edge of Chinatown has everything an urban Vancouver-dweller could want. The Union pub anchors it at one end providing inventive cocktails and Asian-inspired food. Further along is The Parker, an 18-seat vegetarian restaurant considered the greenest in the city. Harvest Community Foods serves up killer bowls of ramen with a west coast flare (try the vegan ground hazelnut ramen). Fancy clothing shops Charlie & Lee and Board of Trade feature local labels while Crackle Crème bakery specializes in one dessert only: crème brulé. Union Street is also home to one of Vancouver's most fascinating urban curiosities, the Jimi Hendrix Shrine

Extra! The story goes that Jimi Hendrix's grandmother, Nora Hendrix, lived in Vancouver's often overlooked African-American community around Hogan's Alley on the edge of Chinatown. During his boyhood, Jimi spent many summers in Hogan's Alley with Nora, who owned the former Vie's Chicken and Steakhouse where the shrine is located.  

Gastown/Railtown neighbourhood

From the cozy Paper Hound bookstore with its wittily titled, cleverly curated collection of tomes to the industrial hub of the Union Wood Company and international furniture makers Benson (created by Niels Bendtsen, whose Ribbon Chair creation for Kebe is in the Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection in NYC), independence is key to Gastown. The birthplace of Vancouver, the area's at the confluence of history - check out the Flat Iron building and the cobbled pavements - and millennial hipster-dom where locally made Herschel bags, for example, are de rigueur. For fast-forward fashion, see stores such as The Block and Obakki; for the master of creative shoes, step inside the headquarters of John Fluevog; and for crowd-sourced learning, experience the Trade School Vancouver where people barter knowledge - from urban dance to knitting - for such gifts as cheeses, gum and even a cracking joke. It's a hub for animation and digital studios as well as the feeding ground for enterprising, gumption-heavy restaurateurs such as Sean Heather, who boldly opened Salt Tasting Room in Blood Alley, and Mark Brand, who reopened Save on Meats and a ground-breaking sandwich token scheme for the homeless. To see our dedication to local, experience the winnowing of real cocoa beans firsthand for the chocolate made at East Van Roasters - part of a burgeoning Buy Local, Live Local (LOCO BC) campaign. 

Mount Pleasant neighbourhood

Among achingly hip 3rensho bikes and laidback vintage style including myriad heritage buildings among other defining features such as the heritage-designed Mount Pleasant clock and a wide boulevard, Main Street boasts a veritable embarrassment of eclectic, character-full stores. Throwback to the time of letterwriting and typewriters at the Regional Assembly of Text or hit fast forward fashion and the talented designers at Twigg & Hottie and Eugene Choo. Fuel, and refuel over coffee... and not just any cup of ordinary Joe; Main Street is rammed with independent coffee stores such as the local success story Forty Ninth Parallel (oh, and their doughnuts). The wizards of the social-media deck HootSuite have their base here (and part of its design has a notable nod to experimental visual workshop Chairman Ting). There are even moves by the City of Vancouver, along with the Vancouver Economic Commission, to create a technology incubation and acceleration hub by converting Vancouver's old Police Station into the Vancouver Technology Centre.

Chinatown neighbournood

Vancouver's historic Chinatown, the third largest Chinatown in North America, has long been known for attractions like the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden and the Millennium Gate. But discerning locals are discovering that Chinatown is fast becoming the city's new hotbed of cool restaurants, cafes, boutiques and designers. The Rennie Collection at Wing Sang, a privately owned museum with one of the largest collections of contemporary art in Canada offers free guided tours to the public. Bestie (opened summer 2013) is a sausage and beer parlor which patronises urban farms, whole ingredients and sustainably raised meats. Tanis Ling is considered one of Chinatown's trailblazers for opening Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie in Chinatown back in early 2010. Oyster Express (opened summer 2012) is a pine-lined room owned by champion shucker, Sean Chesney offering a range of local oysters including Pacific Virginicas from Washington, Golden Mantles from the Sunshine Coast, and Royal Miyagis from Quadra Island.