The Great Divide: Vancouver West Side and East Van

Every country, and every city, has them; a line in the sand (or more recently the tarmac) which divides two halves that make up the whole. In Vancouver, the line is drawn right down the middle and, although you won't find it officially drawn on any maps, locate Main Street and there you have it! Vancouver is a city of neighborhoods and while each individual neighborhood has its own distinct character the great divide between east and west is the one that matters to Vancouverites! If you're searching for a home in Vancouver, it helps to get the lowdown on the locals and finding the right neighborhood for your condo, townhouse or family home may well depend on the “flavor” of neighborhood you prefer!


What's the Difference?


The divide itself is simple, all neighborhoods west of Main form West Vancouver and those to the east form East Vancouver – the latter is fondly, and less formally, better known to residents as East Van. Homes in Vancouver are traditionally considered to be more expensive west of the line and less so to the East. The line, in this sense is certainly blurring as property prices have risen in East Van, often matching those in West Vancouver. However, the image of the West Side as the more affluent part of the city remains, while East Van still attracts a reputation for being more working/middle class in nature. East Van is also considered to be (historically at least) more culturally diverse than the western part of the city. Stereotypes stick, in many areas of life, and exactly how accurate these distinctions remain today, is certainly a topic that could be debated. Increasing “gentrification” in many East Van neighborhoods has helped boost those real estate prices and social changes have meant that demographics have altered in all of the city's neighborhoods. However, amongst many Vancouverites, whether these stereotypes are true today, both sides of the city are proud of their heritage and continue to acknowledge the culture and historical differences of their own neighborhoods – and do so with enthusiasm!


West and East Vancouver Today


East Van has certainly evolved and today it is also know for its hip, trendy atmosphere and its neighborhoods are all well known for their independent shops, bars and theaters. West Vancouver can certainly compete on shopping and entertainment experiences with a reputation for more Yuppie style culture and bars, and also for some of the highest class shopping experiences in the city, Robson Street in the West End being one particular shopping Mecca. The air of formality still pervades West Side neighborhoods, while a relaxed, chilled approach to life is more typical of East Van. Both sides of the city have an increasingly mixed range of real estate for sale; new developments, particularly luxury condos can be found across the MLS listings, while both areas still have many traditional single family homes and heritage homes. In East Van, increasing numbers of industrial buildings are also being converted into modern urban apartments and condos, adding further to the range of real estate options for Vancouver's home-searchers. One thing that stands out about Vancouver as a whole is the diversity of each community and the strong community spirit and pride to be found in many different parts of the city. Each part may make up the whole but each retains a vibrant identity of its own, making Vancouver a city in which most people should be able to find the perfect home and neighborhood in which to settle!


For those new to Vancouver, the following is a breakdown of Vancouver's neighborhoods:


West Vancouver Neighborhoods:


  • Downtown (including Yaletown and Gastown)

  • West End

  • Kitsilano

  • Fairview

  • West Point Grey

  • Shaughnessy

  • Arbutus Ridge

  • Dunbar

  • Kerrisdale

  • Oakridge

  • Marpole

East Van Neighborhoods:


  • Mount Pleasant

  • Riley Park

  • Strathcona

  • Grandview

  • Hastings Sunrise

  • Kensington

  • Renfrew - Collingwoord

  • Kilarney

  • Victoria - Frasierview

  • Sunset



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