Vancouver’s West End is bordered by English Bay, Stanley Park, Coal Harbour, and the downtown core. The West End is the second most densely populated area in North America (second only to Manhattan Island), but due to its serene location and various no-through roads within the neighbourhood, it is surprisingly quiet.
Who Lives There
Due to the nonexistence of detached homes in the area, the West End is home to fewer families than the rest of Vancouver. The West End population consists of mostly singles and couples between the ages of 20 to 34, even though the location is fairly family-oriented (see Things to Do and Schools and Safety). The West End is also home to Davie Village, Vancouver’s largest gay neighbourhood. Residents of Vancouver’s West End tend to be highly educated but with slightly lower household incomes ($51,933 compared to the $64,889 average for Vancouver). This discrepancy could be attributable to the young population employed primarily in the sales and service sector.
Things to Do
The West End is home to numerous bike and rollerblade stores (the corner of Denman and Georgia boasts 3), with both available for rent or purchase. The Stanley Park seawall is one of Vancouver’s main attractions, and here runners, walkers, cyclists and rollerbladers enjoy the luscious scenery daily. The Stanley Park seawall passes Third Beach (one of downtown Vancouver’s most secluded beaches), Second Beach (home to the Second Beach outdoor pool), and leads to English Bay and Sunset Beach. While Stanley Park features attractions such as the Vancouver Aquarium and a Pitch ‘n’ Putt course, there are other, smaller, parks within the West End, including an off-leash dog park and tennis courts. The West End Community Centre is a fantastic place to get involved in the community, and participate in ice skating, hockey lessons, or borrow books from the library.
Restaurants include The Boathouse English Bay, with one of the most Panoramic views in Vancouver, and Lolita’s South of the Border Cantina on Davie St, a small establishment with a great vibe and even better food. Shima Sushi on Denman St. has incredible sushi at low prices, and the world-renowned Cupcakes on Denman is a must to visit. The Bayside Lounge, a West End fixture since the 1980s, is a great place to visit in the evening, while those looking to go dancing will never be disappointed at Celebrities, once primarily a gay club but now host to both drag shows and international djs, depending on the night.
During the summer, English Bay plays host to the Celebration of Light, a four-night fireworks extravaganza perfect for families, as well as the Pride Parade, a celebration of diversity in Vancouver.
There are fewer new developments in the West End than in other parts of downtown Vancouver such as Yaletown and Coal Harbour. West End Real Estate is on average priced lower than most Vancouver real estate, at $344,759 – on average – for an apartment property. While older in style, these condos tend to be much more spacious than newer apartment properties across the city. The proximity of these properties to the beach and Stanley Park add to their appeal and value.
Schools and Safety
In addition to a number of daycares, the West End is home to two elementary schools (Lord Roberts Elementary and Lord Roberts Annex) and King George Secondary. Safety is not much of a concern during the day, but due to the quiet nature of the neighbourhood residents should be a little careful at night, when the streets can be deserted. The quietness of the West End, however, is one of its best features, and most residents are friendly and look out for each other.
Walking around and cycling through the West End is a pleasant experience due to the network of one-way, tree-lined streets and dead ends designed to minimize traffic through one of Vancouver’s busiest areas. For residents, this network does not pose much of a problem once you know your way around, and will lead you to a major throughway in a matter of a couple of minutes. Pacific, Denman, Davie, Burrard, Robson, and Georgia streets are all easily accessible, as are the many buses that stop along these busy streets.
The closest SkyTrain station from any point in the West End is Burrard Station, which serves the Expo and Millennium Lines that travel eastward. Burrard Station is one stop from Waterfront Station, where one can transfer to the West Coast Express, the SeaBus to North Vancouver, or the Canada Line to Richmond and the Vancouver International Airport. The Lions Gate Bridge leads out of the West End straight to North and West Vancouver, while the Burrard Street Bridge links south from Pacific Avenue. Those wishing for a more leisurely journey can catch the AquaBus from underneath the Burrard Street Bridge, and head to Granville Island or Yaletown.
Next up: Coal Harbour