The Down Town East Side (DTES) is an area that traditionally has had its challenges. It is home to one of the poorest postal codes in Canada. But it is also home to some awesome shops and newer developments.
One of the most relevant developments in terms of revitalization is the Woodwards building. This development includes a mix of 536 units of market housing and 200 units of social housing. This complex has one of the best gyms in the city located in its penthouse with a million $ view and a W shaped hot tub. The building neighbours a cool public atrium, a drugstore, a grocery store, space for non profit organizations and SFU School for Contemporary Arts. There is no shortage of awesome coffee options with JJ. Bean,Revolver, and Timbertrain nearby. And if more than liquids are in order you won’t regret a visit to Chambar, Meat and Bread, or Save on Meats.
Within the limits of the DTES are the sub-communities of Chinatown, Gastown and Strathcona.
Chinatown is an area that has undergone some change. Traditional businesses still exist and are starting to flourish again. However newer businesses are also starting to pop up as Chinatown has traditionally had one of the lowest lease rates in the city. Although a large part of the Chinese community has chosen to live in Richmond, Chinatown is still a hub for shopping for traditional foods and chinese medicinal supplements. Fantastic restaurants include Bao Bei, Oyster Express and Daisy Garden. There are many shops, tea shops, and affordable tourist and clothing shops. There is even a night market. In 2011 the city rezoned to allow for taller buildings and the increased density should allow Chinatown to thrive for many years to come.
Gastown is a tourist mecca. Technically speaking it is a designated historic site, and while walking down the street it feels like your walking back in time with the cobblestone streets, old school street lights and a steam clock to boot. But when you start to look through the windows you’ll notice modern furniture shops like Espaced, InForm, and Parliament Interiors. A great mix of Fine dining and casual delicacies, as well as hip clothing stores such as Fluevog, Kit and Ace, Livestock and Neighbour. Gastown has truly become One of Vancouver’s Hippest neighbourhoods, as the shops and restaurants get balanced out with young entrepreneurial tech companies.
Strathcona is a pocket of the DTES that has a strong community of people passionate about their neighbourhood living within it. They even have their own Residents Association. The homes are traditionally smaller including many duplexes and row homes and the denser population has added to the sense of community. The Strathcona Community Centre sits near it’s core and offers a wide variety of programs. Quaint businesses like the Union Market and the Wilder Snail have been hidden gems within the community and have stood the test of time with their authenticity. This working class neighbourhood is perfect for young families, and it’s proximity to downtown is ideal for young professionals.
If shopping and eating aren’t on your agenda then there are many other activities to partake in within the area. You can visit Dr. Yat Sen Chinese Gardens, or one of the many festivals that take place in the area such as