A Cut Too Close To Home

May 21, 2020

One of the great barbers of our generation is closing.  Tino, who has been a fixture on the Drive since 1993, has decided to retire, the latest victim of the virus.


In 1993, Tino took over Tommy’s Barber Shop at 1834 Commercial. I first went there in about 1996 and he has cut my hair ever since.  Some years ago he was obliged to move to 2111 Commercial, a space that is now sadly empty and gutted.

He was always a steady source of Italian gossip, a great stylist (so long as it was very short all over), and will be greatly missed.


75 For 75

May 3, 2020

The People’s Coop Bookstore at 1391 Commercial Drive is the oldest existing bookstore in Canada.  It was founded 75 years ago and has been a popular fixture on the Drive since 1983.  Like so many volunteer-operated services these days, the Bookstore needs help to survive for another 75 years. And so they  have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise $75,000.


“Read more about the history of the store and our accomplishments, our fundraising plans, and perks for donating here:

Please share this fundraising link with those who love the store.”

The Bookstore has recently re-opened on weekends (Sat & Sun, 11-4), following strict social distancing protocols, and you can help their future directly by visiting the store and buying books to keep you going through the rest of our lock-down period and beyond.

People’s Co-op Bookstore To Reopen This Weekend

April 23, 2020

After writing about businesses closing on the Drive, it is a real pleasure to report that the People’s Co-op Bookstore — the oldest existing bookstore in Canada — will re-open.

“After careful consideration and closely monitoring BC’s health stats and recommendations over multiple board meetings, we’ve decided to dust off the store and re-open with limited hours. We will be open on weekends– Saturday and Sunday— from 11:00am to 4:00pm, starting this weekend.

Our staff, member and customer health is very important to us. We will follow social distancing guidelines by limiting the amount of people in the store to four at a time, as well as offering hand sanitizer to customers, sanitizing books that have been touched, and keeping our cash machines sanitized.”

They have a wonderful selection of new and old books and I can’t wait to get back to browsing the shelves.

Good News — and Bad — for the Drive

April 14, 2020

In previous reports I have noted that Triple A Grocery at 1626 Commercial was boarded up and probably closed.  However, today it seemed to be open again, which is good news.  Hope it is permanent.

On the other hand, Storm Crow Tavern at 1305 Commercial is closed and not coming back.  The owners posted on Facebook:

“The Tavern already had many challenges, such as an expiring lease in an aging building slated for redevelopment, and the coronavirus, for us and many other small restaurants, is a fatal blow while we’re already down.”

They will be keeping on with their Alehouse on Broadway, and the Manor in Toronto.


Many thanks to Ferry Seagull for the heads up.

Another Shoe Drops ….

April 7, 2020

Federico’s Supper Club, a 20-year veteran at 1728 Commercial has announced its closure.

“The restaurant’s owner, Federico Fuoco, said that in addition to a rent increase, thousands in monthly taxes being paid, and wage increase requests, the COVID-19 pandemic was ‘the nail in the coffin’ for the small business … ‘Now is the time for [small businesses] to get real help. Not deferrals or loans, but real financial help. This is the only way landlords will be able to work with tenants in finding real solutions instead of just letting tenants walk away for good,’ read the statement.”

Fuoco has been a force on the Drive –especially concerning Italian Day — for many years. He ran for City Council some while ago, and is still on the Board of the Vancouver NPA. He has been a leader in the move to “protect” the Drive from bicycle lanes.  His club has staged numerous tribute bands over the years. It will be missed.

Last week Cabrito Cafe announced its closure, and Triple A Grocers was boarded up.


The Drive’s First Closures

April 3, 2020

In the last Changes on the Drive report, I noted that it is too early to tell the long term damage the covid-19 crisis will inflict on local businesses.  However, we have now heard of the first closure in this period.

The five-year old Cabrito Restaurant at 2270 Commercial will officially close this weekend.  The tone of the press announcement suggests that the closure was going to happen with or without the virus. The virus, however, has disrupted any plans for a big send-off party.


When I was doing the Changes walk last Tuesday, I noticed that Triple A Grocery at 1626 Commercial had closed. When I passed by yesterday I saw that they have actually boarded up the place.  I hope that is just a temporary situation.


High Fidelity Closing

February 5, 2020

My favourite correspondent advises me that High Fidelity Hair Salon at 1003 Commercial is closing from this weekend.  The decision was quite sudden, I hear, but hopefully the stylists there will find work at other salons on the Drive.

It seems like an age ago now, but six years ago, at their previous location, High Fidelity made a name for itself by providing anal bleaching for those that wanted it. Quite a fuss it caused, too.

When they moved, they spent quite some effort on renovating the old Peg’s Antique Store getting it to look as good as it does today, and now that large double-front is soon to be vacant.