Grandview’s Parks and the Future

July 7, 2018

This month’s GWAC meeting is on Monday 9th July in the Learning Resources Centre, under Britannia Library. The meeting begins at 7:00pm.

The main topic this month: Green Spaces and Plazas—Their Importance to Livability and Community-Creation in Grandview Woodland.

As you probably know, our neighbourhood has far less green space per resident than most other parts of Vancouver. The most recent Community Plan does nothing to address that issue, suggesting, rather, that plazas (presumably open concrete spaces) will be introduced as a substitute for the real thing.

The value of green space to a community is a very worthwhile conversation to have and I hope that many of you will attend and speak your mind.



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.

Impromptu Cabaret

June 28, 2018

Starting tonight, the 2nd Annual Impromptu Cabaret Festival begins at the Havana Theatre, 1212 Commercial Drive.

This is a series of 10 one-hour solo cabaret shows by local performers, from blues to rock to all sorts in between.  The first show, tonight, features accordionist Jenny Anderson.

Shows start at 6:00pm.  Tickets are $15 per show, or $100 for a festival pass.


HIV Testing On The Drive

June 26, 2018

National HIV Testing Day is tomorrow, Wednesday 27th June.  According to the Straight:

“While approximately 75,000 Canadians are living with HIV, one in five HIV–positive Canadians aren’t aware of their status. New HIV infections in Canada increased in 2016 by 11.6 percent (or 2,344 new cases) from the previous year.”

As part of a national campaign to improve awareness, REACH Medical Centre at 1145 Commercial Drive will be offering free HIV testing between 4:-00 pm and 8:00pm tomorrow.

Block Party Season! 900 Salsbury

June 15, 2018

On Saturday 16th June from 3:00pm to 9:00pm one of the nicest blocks in the entire city — 900 block Salsbury — is hosting a major block party!

At least five bands have agreed to play during the event, including the Drive Street Band, Whitbridge Brothers, Step Out Sister, so there will be great music all afternoon and evening.

There will be art and fun and games for the kids, and there will be food and drinks (bring finger food to share, why don’t you!) and a sit-down street pot-luck dinner from about 6:00pm.

Should be great fun.  See you there!

Mid Month Openings and Closings

June 14, 2018

Image: Downlow

The big news on the Drive right now, according to a lot of social media publicity, is the official opening of the Downlow Chicken Shack at 905 Commercial (which used to be Deserts).

This is a spinoff from the Nashville hot chicken sandwich that is a favourite at Merchants Workshop at 1590 Commercial.

The newly renovated store has 24 seats and the sandwiches start at about $12.00. They had a test run earlier in the month and were open during Italian Day where the lineups were extravagant.

Also 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 has been sorrily vacant for more than four years.


On a sadder note, the Reef Restaurant appears to have closed.  On Italian Day, they had a sign saying it was their last day and thanking the Drive for 10 good years.

Grandview Rezoning Public Hearing

June 13, 2018

The public hearing for the “Increasing Housing Choice” rezoning in Grandview has been set for Tuesday 26 June at 6:00pm at City Hall.

To repeat what I have written before, I approve the addition of a lot more multi-family buildings in Grandview.  However, unless we guarantee through regulation that they can be afforded by the median income family in Vancouver, then let us not kid ourselves that this is helping the affordability crisis.  As I showed in my short video of some months back, these kinds of market developments are not only unaffordable to the majority, they often destroy currently affordable accommodation.

If you are in the mood, sign up for a speaking spot and enjoy your five minutes (no more) of face-time with City Council.