Posts Tagged ‘Vancouver Winter Olympics’

Hidden Gems of the West End

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

As a part of Vancouver’s West End, we really feel very lucky to belong in such a pretty district, and what makes it even better is its superb location.

Cozily nestled between the Downtown core of Vancouver, with False Creek to the South, English Bay and Stanley Park to the West and Coal Harbour to the north, this area has pretty much retained its look since the 1960s – much of this due to the efforts of the long term residents of the West End who understand the importance of retaining an image and history that makes the West End unique.

When visiting this neighbourhood, we suggest taking time to wander and meander through the different streets as it is impressive to see how the area changes.  Street by street, block by block, you will see the colours,  style and shape of each building and apartment look very different from the next one. The trees and various other types of flora are absolutely stunning, especially at this time of year with the fall colours and leaves showing us an impressive natural display.

Not only do we enjoy the sights of the West End, it is its sense of multiculturalism and welcoming diversity that really makes this area what it is. It is home to Davie Village, which spans the blocks of Davie Street and Jervis, right down towards Burrard and Davie Street. The streets here are all decorated in an array of colour to predominantly celebrate the heart of Vancouver’s Gay scene and now official Gay district. The area is awash with Rainbows, colourful murals and pink bus stops – all to celebrate the sense of pride, love and diversity that is Davie Village. No matter who you are, you will always feel welcome within this love-able community.

The West End is home to many hidden gems – some of which are very well known, others not so much.  We would like to personally highlight a few that you may wish to discover when you come to visit us here. As mentioned earlier the West end is located at the northern side of False Creek, reaching False Creek you will be greeted with the Seawall and Sunset Beach. This beach has to be one of our favorites as it is tucked along the Creek were it is bordered to the East by the Impressive Burrard St Bridge, and English Bay to the West… all overlooked by the famous Inushuk monument at the seawall, a recognizable symbol of First Nations culture and also known as “Ilanaaq” which was one of the official mascot logos at the 2010 Winter Olympics.
This beach is a perfect place for hanging out in the summer, never overly crowded and generally filled with locals from the area. It is a great spot to watch the small boats and yachts zoom in and out of False Creek and from Granville Island through to English Bay. It is also one of the better spots to watch the vibrant Vancouver sunset away from the busy but bustling English Bay.

Our other favorite areas to explore are also just a stones throw away from Sunset Inn & Suites. These are the historic housing community of Mole Hill, Gabriola Mansion (formally home to the ‘Romanos Macaroni Grill’) and St Pauls hospital.

Mole Hill is situated just to the north of Davie Street/Village and south of Nelson Park, a cute little city park which is home to a smaller park where your dogs can run free. It’s pretty fun to watch the dogs have their day with their buddies. Mole Hill has its history dating back to the 19th century; it was named after two early settlers Elizabeth and Henry Mole. The housing here is basically a co-operative community advocating for people of all ages in the middle to low income bracket, members and tenants of the housing here all partake in the upkeep of the Mole Hill community, which is clearly visible with the stunning flowers and gardens that surround this hidden community.

Gabriola Mansion which was formally the home to Romanos Macaroni Grill is quite an impressive building. One of the very few ‘great’ mansions left in the city. In its day, this home would surely have been one of the most lavish in the area. Named Gabriola after the sandstone rock which was quarried at Gabriola Island and used to build the outer side of the house. Built in 1900 for Benjamin Tingley Rogers an industrialist whom founded BC Sugar. Sadly the mansion is now standing derelict and its future is unsure. Back in the 1970′s it was at risk of demolition, and we hope that this building is saved for the future and beyond.

St Pauls hospital, which sits between The downtown Core and Davie Village, is an impressive imposing red brick building. The site was founded in the late 1800s as a 25 bed hospital, with a large expansion of the hospital occurring in 1912. Its unmistakable red brick turn of the century architecture is quite something, especially among the many taller glass fronted buildings that is quite the modern look of Vancouver these days. The hospital was at risk of closing down until very recently, for the foreseeable future it is here to stay.

So there are just some tidbits of what the West End is like….come for yourself and see this wonderful community!

Some information was cited from the following sources: http://gabriolan.ca, http://www.miss604.com, http://www.mole-hill.ca