In a city as fast-changing as Vancouver, at a time when a big downtown office-building boom is underway, what stays the same now seems even older and odder.  Like this:


Where Davie meets Burrard – one of a half dozen or so significant intersections on the peninsula.  Yet it feels blah, undefined, still a bit motordomy.  There’s no sense that three distinct neighbourhoods – the West End, Downtown South and the CBD – all meet here.   At this intersection, one corner is a garden, another a gas station, a third some ancient storefronts, and the fourth a 70s office tower that would be razed tomorrow if a development proposal was approved.

And developments are being approved.  Perhaps if they all proceed within a few years of each other, the new identity of this corner would be the most dramatic change on the peninsula in the next decade – insofar as our mental maps would have to be revised.   “Hey, this isn’t any ‘Davie and Burrard’ I remember.  This is all new.  This is big city.  What happened to the hospital?”



  1. After many years of waiting, the owners of the former Shell gas station (with the ‘meanwhile’ garden) held an open house for a 40+ storey condo tower last year, so that corner could see development at last.

    Even sooner, on the other side of Burrard, the City of Vancouver have acquired the corner lots and are planning “Approximately 169 units of new affordable rental housing, and a new purpose built facility for QMUNITY, British Columbia’s queer, trans, and Two-Spirit resource centre, in a mixed-use development. The new homes will be targeted to singles and families earning between $30,000 and $80,000 annually”.

    The last gas station on the peninsula was offered for sale last year, but so far no development proposals have appeared.

  2. Although the Burrard Gateway has an office block, I don’t think office demand is high in that area as it is away from the CBD.
    A lot of the offices are healthcare related, so occupancy may drop after St Paul’s moves, but I don’t think there is much replacement office stock in the Strathcona area (but some may be coming along Terminal Ave (as there’s a building planned for the south of Pacific Central Station).

  3. Begs the question: where is the subway under Burrard to connect with UBC Line at Broadway ?

    Where’s the subway loop under Robson / Denman / Davie connecting with Yaletown and Stadium? Then we can close off downtown for cars, or make its entry by car really expensive, say $25/crossing.

    Why are we approving residential towers everywhere but not corresponding tarnsit infrastructure ? N Van choking on traffic now and UBC peninsula will soon too if subway is not approved.

    1. A Broadway line going north on Burrard to loop with the Expo line would get a bigger bang for the buck than going to UBC——- EXPO & CANADA lines are already near capacity between Broadway & downtown

    2. As an interim measure they should extend the 95 B-Line to Broadway & Arbutus via Burrard St. to provide a better connection to UBC for people coming from East Van. It would stop at Burrard & Davie, Burrard & 4th, and terminate at Broadway & Arbutus.

      1. Makes sense but I’d take that one step further. Why terminate two B-Lines in opposite directions at Broadway and Arbutus? Why not combine the 99 and 95 into one route, university to university? You could still have some buses short-turn to provide demand flexibility.

        1. The demand on the West Broadway portion of that route would be much higher than the demand on the East Hastings portion, so every second bus would be short-turned when it arrived at Arbutus and Broadway from UBC.

          The #99 is already over capacity and will be even more so when they build the Broadway Line to Arbutus. My first choice would be to build the Broadway Line to UBC, then have the #95 terminate at Arbutus and Broadway (or if an Arbutus B-Line is needed, keep it going down Arbutus). If they don’t do that, my second choice would be to buy bi-articulated buses and have the #99 run from Burrard Station to UBC. The longer buses would increase the capacity to 4,000 passengers per hour. The additional capacity and service area on the #99 would mean they could terminate the #14 bus Downtown instead of at UBC, and eliminate the #44. The #9’s route could be extended to Blanca Loop or all the way to UBC to cover the gap left by the #14. Passengers going from East Vancouver to UBC would take the #95 and then transfer to the #99 at Burrard Station, which would be quicker than taking the #14.

    3. North Van is not “choking” on traffic, despite how dearly you’ve taken to heart the readers’ comments in the North Shore News. We don’t have the luxury of waiting until after we build the world’s first perfect transit system to approve development. We’re not putting our lives on hold until the dozen new subway lines you insist on are up and running in 2071. I don’t know about you, Thomas, but we got s**t to do.

    4. A more natural route would be an Arbutus LRT line that would go up Burrard and have stop at Burrard and Davie and terminate at Burrard Station. The network effec would be huge.

      The existing tracks go to Burrard and there is room under the bridge through the piers. It’s just pleasure craft that have sail under there now. In any event, this one would be super cheap to build compared to Skytrain.

  4. You forgot to mention the most likely change: the affordable three and four story residnetial at the top of the photos will be swept away for pricey condos.

  5. The West End Plan allows that block to potentially be rezoned to higher density. One of those buildings is a strata, and the others market rental. If they were rezoned there would be the same number, or more social rental housing units, which would be owned by the City of Vancouver. The West End Plan policy for that block requires that “at least 25% of floor space as social housing, or one-for-one replacement of the existing market rental housing with social housing units, whichever is greater”.

    1. A basement under new building on south west corner big enough for future subway station & west turn from burrard to davie—– Cost recovered from rents if subway not built

    2. So we replace a market solution for affordable condos and rentals with one government has to provide? And do those new affordable market rentals go for the same rates the demolished ones provided?

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