The following was researched, contributed and written by Raul
Given what I research on my day job, it is also ironic (or coincidental, perhaps) that I now live in an area that used to be industrial and is now being transformed into a residential zone (while attempting to preserve the historical industrial heritage).
With the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympic Games, part of the Mount Pleasant area (known as South East False Creek) is increasingly densifying and will be host to the Olympic Village.
Southeast False Creek, one of Vancouver’s last waterfront industrial sites, is being redeveloped as a model for urban sustainability. A district heating system and energy efficient buildings are two of the measures that will reduce energy use on the site by more than 50%. Water use will be reduced by over 50%, and car share vehicles will be required in the larger buildings. Both affordable (low income) and middle income rental housing is being developed along with market housing.
The central part of the Southeast False Creek neighbourhood will be the Olympic Village for the 2010 Winter Games, and construction will be completed in November 2009. After 2010, part of the village will be converted to a new state-of-the-art community centre. [City of Vancouver Olympics Website]
When I first moved to Vancouver, I lived in Point Grey. I then moved around. I’ve taken residence up in Kitsilano, Fairview Slopes, South Granville and finally, I officially became an East Vancouver boy when I moved to the South Main area. While there is some discussion on whether I live in Riley Park or Mount Pleasant, I like to say that I’m a Mount Pleasant resident.
I know that some purists may say that Mount Pleasant isn’t exactly South East False Creek, but if you read the historical accounts of this region (and the maps), you will notice that both areas have a substantial degree of overlap.
In writing this post, I wondered what could I dig up that would excite/surprise/shock the readers. I had previously written some stuff about the history of Mount Pleasant, and a lot has been written about this neighbourhood, so I didn’t want to be repetitive. I managed to find something that may shock some readers: real estate price outrageous increases in Vancouver aren’t just a recent trend. Don’t believe my word if you don’t want to, just look at Wynn’s findings:
“In the eyes of many early Vancouverites, real estate promotion and development were alluring wheels of fortune. Land was, undoubtedly, the most important commodity in the city. Visitors and locals alike marveled at Vancouver’s frenetic real estate market. Newspaper afforded enthusiastic publicity to examples of spectacular gains from property speculation.”
[Wynn 1992, p. 92. In Wynn and Oke, (Eds) (1992) Vancouver and Its Region, Vancouver, UBC Press]
So there you have it. Skyrocketing real estate prices in Vancouver aren’t really a collateral result of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Even at the turn of the 19th century, folks were already catching up to the fact that land is a valuable commodity. How much of a commodity? Here are some numbers (also obtained from the Wynn and Oke edited volume)
“Two-hundred acre lots in Mount Pleasant, bought for $ 16.20 at a tax sale in 1895, were on sale for $ 275 in 1899”. [Wynn 1992, p. 92. In Wynn and Oke, (Eds) (1992) Vancouver and Its Region, Vancouver, UBC Press]
Unbelievable, eh? Four years and you could expect to increase your investment by more than fifteen-fold.
Once I was on a roll reading Vancouver history books, I came across the book “Vancouver Walks” (one of several books authored by John Atkin, I was a bit taken aback that Akin didn’t offer more insight into the area bound by Kingsway, Main Street, 16th Avenue, Fraser and Broadway (which is still part of Mount Pleasant).
Sometimes I fear that people have ghettoized the above-mentioned area. Admittedly, there seems to have been a lot of crime (including drug trading and prostitution) around this area (with an apparently targeted shooting taking place at a late-night restaurant in August of 2007). However, I’d argue that this is the case in any neighbourhood in Vancouver or any other big city.
Besides, this area is vastly and quickly improving. I can attest to the high quality of some of the local restaurants near the Broadway and Fraser area, including Sebs Market Cafe (great for brunch), The Red Sea Cafe and Fassil (amazing Ethiopian food), Mogadishu Cafe (Somalian food) and of course, the always amazing Rhizome near Broadway and Scotia. So, there you have it… there is a lot to be discovered and numerous positive elements around this area. I for one know that there are several restaurants I haven’t tried in the stretch between Kingsway and Fraser, on Broadway.
I would like to conclude this post by saying that Mount Pleasant has a lot to offer, both in terms of architecture and historic heritage buildings and in terms of nightlife (or day life, if you are into going out for brunch or just walking around the neighbourhood). Come visit!
Researched, contributed and written by Raul for Miss604.com