After posting the most recent Changes post, I learned that Spade Coffee at 1858 Commercial has also closed permanently. They had one of the most evocative websites.
That means we have 21 vacant storefronts this month rather than the 20 shown previously.
I’ll begin this month’s edition with an overview of the Drive from the Seattle Times by Brendan Kelly last week:
“At first, this neighborhood will confuse you with its pleasantly startling mix of cuisines, ethnicities and income brackets — that’s a good thing. In just a few blocks, you’ll pass places advertising injera, sushi, tandoori, mezcal, Italian coffee, samosas, Cuban sandwiches and Vietnamese food both upscale and down-home. Upscale pet accessory stores live next to well-worn used bookshops; some people on the street look like they have a lot of money, others look like they don’t have much. Andy Yan, an urban planner with Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, says this coexistence is explained by gentrification in slow motion. Commercial Drive was an Italian stronghold, then a multiethnic neighborhood, and is now attracting the “bobos” (bourgeois bohemians).”
Well, that’s us all over, isn’t it? In the meanwhile, it was the perfect day for the walk this morning; my kind of weather.
My southern Drive correspondent advises me that City Avenue is expanding south and north. I have noted for the last couple of months that they are displaying their produce in front of what was a Cash Exchange office at 2283 Commercial. I’m told they will also be taking over the old restaurant space at 2277.
Tangent Cafe, 2095 Commercial, Cafe Deux Soleils at 2096 Commercial, and Prado at 1938 Commercial all get good reviews in I Live In East Vancouver‘s brunches on the Drive.
My correspondent also tells me that Frank of Frank’s Jewelers, 1937 Commercial, has died, but that his wife may try to keep the shop going.
The Del Ray barbershop at 1798 E. 4th gets a shout out in the Hive’s list of Vancouver’s Best Barbershops.
What used to be LaLa’s at 1748 Commercial is still vacant but there is a sign saying that Cob’s Bakery will be opening soon. That is interesting on a couple of levels: first, we have a large number of bakeries on the Drive already; second, we used to have a Cob’s here and it closed more than a decade ago.
Note that J,N,Z at 1729 Commercial is closed for their summer vacation.
Another of the great brunches on the Drive is Mezcaleria at 1622 Commercial.
The new Loula’s Tavern at 1608 Commercial gets another review.
Exposure Home at 1616 Commercial is closing out.
My personal favourite, the Dime at 1565 Commercial, makes it onto the list of best brunches on the Drive.
The Vietnamese cafe Merci Beaucoup at 1468 got a great review on one of the local message boards: “The Pho broth is probably the best I have ever tasted… and I’ve tasted a lot! Banh Mi is so fresh! If you haven’t tried it yet you don’t what you’re missing!”
The Community Cash store at 1340 Commercial has closed, now dealing online only.
Havana at 1212 Commercial also gets a high five in brunches on the Drive.
The Arcane Tattoo Parlour at 1111 Commercial has finally closed, moved to East Hastings.
The DownLow Chicken Shack at 905 Commercial has proven so popular, they are opening a new location at UBC.
Vacancies on the Drive this month:
2283 Commercial (9 months vacant), 2277 (26 months), 2247 (3 months), 2223 (30 months), 2111 (16 months), 2057 (9 months), 1983 (3 months), 1816 (16 months), 1748 (13 months), 1733 (12 months), 1728 (16 months), 1678 (12 months), 1503 (8 months), 1305 (16 months), 1303 (2 months), 1301 (11 months), 1191 (4 months), 1126 (3 months), 1111 (1 month), 902 (11 months).
Previous Changes On The Drive editions.
In the late fall of 1978, I came to BC to work on a job in Stewart BC. The twin otter I flew in on was the last plane to land for about a week due to bad weather, and it snowed several feet every day.
The local mine up on Tide Lake had recently closed and the tiny town was populated mainly by hunters and trappers. For a city boy from London, it was all very strange. For Christmas that year, we were sent down to Vancouver for a few days and over the next few months I grew to love both BC and its people.
When my job finished in the following February, I went back to London and then on to Israel where I was under contract for another job. During that spring and summer of 1979, I decided to move permanently to Vancouver and it was forty-two years this week that I arrived and formally immigrated. It was just before my 30th birthday and now, passed seventy, I don’t regret the move for one moment.
Thank you Canada and Vancouver for taking me in, making me very welcome, and making my life so much better than it might otherwise have been.