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The Eastside of downtown Vancouver is a vast community of individuals that some might argue are a bit down
on their luck.


The Downtown Eastside of Vancouver is a vast community of individuals that some might argue are a bit down on their luck. This daring bunch of nomads line the streets between Chinatown, Gastown, Railtown and Japantown. But it wasn’t always this way.

Filled with conflict both socially and politically, this sub-culture bordering Abbott Street all the way through to Clark Drive, and including Venables Street and Prior Avenue, with much of it’s population accumulating along East Hastings Street, it is quite a large district that is endlessly vibrating with the good, the bad, and the ugly.

In the late 1860’s Gassy Jack Deighton laid the groundwork for what’s now known as Gastown. He offered a saloon between Carrall Street and Water Street, where local businessmen and blue-collar workers alike, both flocked after hours to sooth the day’s labour with a drink. By 1907, Alexander Street was home to a Japanese boarding house, where Japanese immigrants lived until they were sent to BC’s interior during the war. This area trickled into other nearby streets, bringing about “Japantown” and the infamous “Asahi Baseball Team”.

Despite these ghosts in the closet – and perhaps even because of them, Vancouver’s Eastside offers an electric community filled with heritage buildings boasting of originality that appeals to many. Constructed with 20th century style high ceilings, open spaces, and attention-driven architecture, there are many buildings that have been refurbished within Vancouver’s Eastside that artistic types and professionals alike are thrilled to call home, excited by the history and un-phased by the drama!


Today East Van is home to all walks of life, and offers everything from opulent to afforable, modern to remodeled, and spacious to quaint. East Vancouver is bordered to the north by the Burrard Inlet, with the Fraser River to the south, and the city of Burnaby to the east. In addition, the community of East Van is divided by Main Street on the West Side of Vancouver, spanning quite a large area and giving people a variety of real estate buying options on every corner.


Back in the 80’s, Vancouver’s Eastside was actually a clean and thriving neighbourhood, well-known for the Woodwards building. It has since fallen to the unfortunate urban decay that comes with the mentally ill not having a designated and safe space in which to call home.

Regardless of the occupants that call these actual streets home, there are still some beautifully remodeled developments that are attracting young buyers who have little to no qualms about the outdoor spectacle, but rather love the open lofts and unique condos created within the Eastside.

If you can overlook the poverty, drug use, sex traders, and crime and violence, you will find various sections of Vancouver’s Eastside to be bustling with more productive activity – such as shopping and dining.


Hastings Mill was one of the first companies to take root along the waters edge of Dunlevy Street in 1865. And although one might think of float houses as a modern marvel, they were actually the dwelling places of that time to those who worked at this mill, along with small shanty-type structures the locals then called home along Hastings Road – now called Alexander Street.

Alexander Street was named after the manager of Hastings Mill – Richard Alexander, who built a beautiful home along Alexander Street, and along with his neighbour – Henry Bell-Irving, owner of the Anglo-British Columbia Packing Company, they dominated a large portion of Vancouver’s modern Eastside.

So whether you call Vancouver home and are looking for a local community fix, or are contemplating buying in Vancouver and wish to wander the districts that make up our fabulous city …ensure Downtown Eastside is one of your stops along the way. It’s a genuine gem, and well worth the stop!