To Celebrate Our Life Line

July 1, 2018

Today is also the 80th anniversary of the opening of the First Avenue Viaduct.  We don’t often celebrate streets and other infrastructure; but the First Avenue Viaduct quite literally saved our neighbourhood from poverty and irrelevance.

By virtue of geographic location and City Hall indifference, Grandview and Commercial Drive had become a forgotten backwater of Vancouver.  However, due to the incredible foresight and hard work of a number of worthy locals (plus the support of one of our strangest mayors), the First Avenue Viaduct was built and opened on July 1st 1938.  It proved to be the lifeline we needed.

Please read the full story here.

Image: Birds On A Wire

July 1, 2018

Changes On The Drive #83

July 1, 2018

I did the walk yesterday, enjoying the pleasantly cool and overcast day. It was a World Cup soccer day and the Drive was packed with partisans who were all noisily enjoying themselves — at least until Portugal lost when the despairing silence was deafening.

The Poke 5 franchise outlet at 2247 is now open, at least for a “soft” opening.  I wonder if that means they’ll have a special do when they formally open?



JQ Clothing boutique up at 2120 Commercial gets a good review in the Straight.

I am very surprised that the four new storefronts built over the winter (2082-2088 Commercial) are still vacant six months after the “LEASED” signs were plastered over the windows. Wonder what the issue might be?

Years ago, at 2068 Commercial, there was Sang’s which I always thought was the best Chinese delivery place in town. The building was empty for a while until another place opened, and then closed.  More recently it has been Sushiville which I haven’t yet tried but which gets a fun review in the Daily Hive this month.

I still see no work being started on what were said to be renovations to the Falconetti properties at 1810 and 1812 Commercial.

LaLa’s On The Drive at 1748 Commercial makes the George Straight’s list of Best Independent Boutiques of Commercial Drive.  One of my favourite little stores.

The former Salvation Army building just west of the Drive on First has sat empty with “SOLD” signs on it for a couple of years now.  Today I noticed that they had been replaced with “FOR SALE” signs. It would be interesting to know what happened there.

The former Strawberry Bakery location inside Mercato Mall is finally being renovated. It will soon be a Bench Bakehouse — another bakery, I assume.  It will be good to have that space filled once again after more than three and a half years.

On the southwest corner of Graveley and Commercial, what used to be the Dirty Penny pub is now Junior’s Bar & Grill.

Kalena’s Shoe Store at 1526 Commercial also makes the Straight’s boutiques list.

Black Dog Video at 1470 Commercial has 16,000 reasons for you to throw away your cares:


The former Elizabeth Bakery space on the northern half of 1399 Commercial is still empty.  However, All Basho in the other half seems to be doing a roaring trade in World Cup memorabilia. Not sure if the restaurant itself is doing any business, but it sure looks busy with hatrs and banners and whatnot stacked up on tables.

Blue Sky Clothing at 1312 Commercial makes the Straight’s list.  At 1136 Commercial, Gatley Lifestyle Store is also highly rated by the Straight.

I noted last month that the Mega Pizza location at 1110 Commercial had morphed into Hustle Pizza.  Its PR people have already gotten it some press.

Next door, made available for Italian Day, and now opened full time, is the Honest Juice Bar which has taken over the storefront at 1106 Commercial, a space that had been unhappily vacant for more than four years.


The Five Elements Cafe at 1046 Commercial is one of the best places to get Banh Mi sandwiches, according to the Hive.

Spank Clothing, 1027 Commercial, makes the Straight’s list of boutiques, as does Little Miss Vintage at 931 Commercial.

What used to be the Reef at 1026 Commercial is being refitted into an Indian Restaurant called Bombay.  Looks like it should be ready to open in a few days.

The Downlow Chicken Shack opened on 13th June at 905 Commercial,  This is the spin-off from Merchant’s Workshop, specialising in one the Workshop’s signature dishes, its Nashville Hot Chicken.  It will be cashier service but they will bring the order to your table.  First come, first served, they open at 11:30am and 9:30pm (“or until the chicken runs out”). Pre-opening reviews are here.  There are still lineups at lunchtime, I notice.

The fitness centre at 956 Commercial is just about completed.  They have put a lot of work into changing that space (used to be Bosa Foods) but I don’t find the exterior result particularly attractive.  I’m guessing it will open sometime in July.


Vacant/closed/renovating stores on the Drive this month:  2240 Commercial (4 months vacant), 2082 (6 months), 2084 (6 months), 2086 (6 months), 2088 (6 months), 2058 (2 months), 1810 (4 months), 1812 (4 months), 1801 (18 months), Strawberry Bakery site in Il Mercato (42 months), 1408 (3 months), 1399 (2 months), 1303 (20 months), 1268 (10 months), 1151 (6 months), 1026 (1 month), 956 (8 months).

Previous Changes On The Drive editions.

Happy Canada Day!

July 1, 2018