Vancouver’s “West Side” is a catch-all term that describes the large area west of Ontario St south of False Creek and the Cambie, Granville, and Burrard St. bridges. It includes many neighbourhoods and micro-hoods, among them Marpole, Oakridge, Southlands, UBC, West Point Grey, Shaughnessy, Arbutus Ridge, Dunbar, Fairview, South Granville, Cambie Village, Kerrisdale, and Kitsilano. It is largely affluent and almost entirely residential, save for the vast Endowment Lands/Pacific Spirit Regional Park, UBC Campus, and high streets/villages such as Cornwall, West 4th, Broadway, West 41st, Granville, Oak, Cambie, Alma, and lower Yew. It is home to some of Vancouver’s most beloved beaches (Kits, Jericho, Spanish, Wreck), institutions (Jericho Sailing Club, Zulu Records), and restaurants (La Quercia, Bishop’s).
Much like East Van, the West Side’s entirety doesn’t have a personality of its own. It’s only in its pockets and strips that its real characters emerge. Some are a little sleepy, archly conservative, and decidedly NIMBYesque, while others more relaxed and inclusive. One – Kitsilano – can claim a counter-culture past, and still – somewhat amusingly – holds on to its hippiedom despite almost impossibly high commercial and residential rents and the dwarfing ratio of BMWs to bikes, strollers to dreadlocks, boutiques to head shops, and Kenny G. to Jimi Hendrix. On the whole, the West Side often feels like it’s very (voluntarily) separate from Vancouver, but no matter – with the right breeze and length of shadow, it’s sometime the best place on earth.
On the West Side at the moment (our HOOD palettes are ever-changing), we’re seeing the tri-colour of the Red-winged Blackbirds that hang around the ponds of Jericho Beach Park; the snot green signage at The Fringe Cafe; a shard of broken orange beach frisbee; the decrepit Hollywood Theatre facade; the “sponge-treatment Mediterranean” orange walls inside the Parthenon Supermarket; the shock of red on the top of Pileated Woodpecker’s head; a whole lot of Wreck Beach noob flesh; some rain-soaked concrete of the Museum of Anthropology; the first tee marshal’s shack at the University Golf Club; Kerrisdale Arena frontage tri-colour; the rust-coloured giant letters of the old “RIDGE” sign; the fine gravel baseball diamond at Trimble Park; the massive whale skeleton at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum.
THE ONLY WORKING FARM (UBC) WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS
QUALITY CLOTHES AT HILLS OF KERRISDALE
WHOLE WEEKENDS LOST IN THE SANDS OF KITS BEACH
SALVATION ARMY & SPCA THIRFT STORES
TEENAGERS SKIM BOARDING AT SPANISH BANKS
THE UNDER-UTILIZED ASSET THAT IS THE ARBUTUS CORRIDOR
P.D.’S HOT SHOP, SCARING LOWER MAINLAND MOMS OF SKATEBOARDERS SINCE THE 80s
FERAL RABBITS FORNICATING IN THE BRAMBLES AT JERICHO BEACH
NIMBYS AGAINST EVERYTHING THAT DOESN”T INCREASE THE VALUE OF THEIR PROPERTY
MORE ULTIMATE FRISBEE PLAYERS THAN PEOPLE LIVING IN POVERTY
RELICS FROM THE SECOND WORLD WAR IN WEST POINT GREY
– Kerrisdale is named after the former Scottish home of the McKinnon family, Kerry’s Dale, in 1897.
– During World War II there were several defenses built at UBC to ward off a feared Japanese invasion, including trios of strategically placed artillery guns.
– The Kerrisdale Arena was home to Vancouver’s first rock ‘n’ roll concert. Bill Haley and the Comets played there in 1957.
– Glenbrea Mansion in Shaughnessy was home to the Vancouver chapter of the Ku Klux Klan for just under a year from 1927-1928.
– Margaret Atwood got her start as a lecturer at UBC in the English Department.