What the Drive's About
Commercial Drive is not only a unique neighbourhood and destination shopping district within Vancouver, but it's bucking the trend in North America towards homogenous shopping and dining experiences. Same place; different city might be familiar, but it's not very memorable.
The 21 blocks of Commercial Drive from Venables at north end, to 13th Avenue at the south, over a mile long, are home to the most eclectic mix of businesses in the city. Of the more than 400 businesses on the Drive, the majority are single location, owner-operated, making our product mix, dining experiences, produce, entertainment and services completely unique.
This neighbourhood repeatedly receives the Georgia Straight Reader's Choice award as the best neighbourhood in the City. We've also been ranked one of the 10 hippest neighbourhoods in North America by Utne Reader.
Frequently described as Vancouver's Greenwich Village, or as creative and bohemian as Paris' Rive Gauche, Commercial Drive has experienced a resurgence of interest in restoring its heritage commercial and residential buildings.
The circa 1900 Edwardian and Victorian homes were originally built to house Canadian Pacific Railway workers. The heritage commercial buildings comprise the second largest inventory in the City. Both of these factors make the Commercial Drive neighbourhood a popular location for the Vancouver film industry.
According to the B.C. Film Commission, nearly $1.2 billion was spent on production in Vancouver in 2011, making BC the third-largest production centre in North America, behind California and New York state. Vancouver-made blockbusters that shot scenes on Commercial Drive include Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer which used the BC Block at Napier. The 2007 film Juno used several neighbourhood locations— including Victoria Park — and received Academy Award nominations for Best Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture. — we'd like to add Best Neighbourhood too!