Lower Mount Pleasant

Photo by Denis Bouvier

Photo by Denis Bouvier


Pleasant is indeed the word that comes to mind when visiting this area. This gem of a community sits between Cambie and Main, bounded by Broadway to the south and West 2nd to the north.

The other day I had some business with a printer at West 2nd and Yukon, and charmed by the old building in which my printer was located, I was stimulated to walk through the neighbourhood. I was struck by a feeling of nostalgia as well as vibrancy. There are about 50 old houses left in the area grouped in little clusters. They reminded me of the Vancouver I knew in the early 70’s as well as a more gentle time, less hurried, more calm, a place to walk and greet neighbours.

The houses are interspersed with light industry. You can find architectural offices, film companies, artist studios, galleries, print shops, and even St. Andrew’s Gift and Church Supply where you can get great candles. Jonathan Rogers Park between 7th and 8th off Columbia is a great place for residents, their children and dogs. There are restaurants, cafes, a brewery, a wholesale Italian food emporium. All this creates employment for over 7000 people.

In short, what you have is a vibrant, still affordable neighbourhood which attracts light industry and can support both young and established artists with a place to live and work. It’s a place where you can come across Laura’s Coffee Shop at 4th and Manitoba shown in the picture above. It serves typical diner food as well as Canadian Chinese food. You can see it sandwiched in between industrial buildings. This is what I would call a pre-gentrified look. This is a place that celebrates diversity in its buildings and the people who live and work in them.

In the background you can see construction cranes looming from the huge new Pinnacle development on 1st Ave, between Columbia and Ontario. This creates pressure to rezone Lower Mount Pleasant for more residential development in the form of condos. There have been a few, but right now there is zoning in place that somewhat protects the present character of the neighbourhood. With so few places remaining in the city to support the vibrancy and diversity we see here, we need to be vocal when the pressure comes to redevelop this area into another barren sea of glass towers.