Stay away from East Hastings Street and that area at night and day. This is the worst area in Canada for drug use and has also the highest ratio of people infected with HIV. It is not a fun place to be and only go down there if you are in an extremely large group. It is pretty close to Gastown and those touristy areas so be sure of where you are going.
Vancouver is a really safe place, you can walk downtown late at night. But you should always be careful not to walk into north-east Vancouver by yourself, especially East Hastings. Anything West of Richards Street and south of Pender Street is safe.
Vancouver is a very safe city. Of course there are drug problems, but unless you run with that crowd, or hang out at Main & Hastings, you should not be too concerned about personal safety, most people are harmless.
Main & Hastings is the famous intersection in Vancouver's downtown eastside neighbourhood which often refers to "ground zero" for the city's drug problems.
Well-meaning locals and hotel staff will tell visitors to Vancouver to "avoid this intersection at all costs". As a result, many curious travellers will rebel this advice and will go see this forbidden block for themselves. What's the fuss all about anyway?
Historically, Main & Hastings is Vancouver's oldest neighbourhood. This used to be the heart of Vancouver's downtown before the world wars. Not anymore.
Coincidentally, the downtown eastside is located between two of Vancouver's most famous tourist sites: Chinatown and Gastown. Most tourists don't even realize such neighbourhood exists until they innocently go exploring beyind Gastown in search for Chinatown. Vancouver's Chinatown exists a block away south of this intersection on Main and Pender. A preferable walk between the two sites is to walk along Pender Street from Gastown to Chinatown.
Vancouver's Main & Hastings intersection isn't dangerous, and certainly isn't worth "avoiding at all costs". It's not violent or ridden with gangs. However, it's a sad sight in terms of social issues and how Vancouver deals with its needy: the drug addicts, the homeless, the beggars and prostitutes. While the rest of Vancouver's downtown becomes gentrified, the down and out end up being marginalized to areas like this.
Yet, the area is rich in history and the architecture in this area is unique. This is Vancouver's grittier side. It's dirty and sad, but not dangerous. Don't fear it, just act wisely. As Vancouver author Douglas Coupland said, "come with sturdy footwear and an open mind'.
We've got these two areas which are highly touted for tourism: Gastown and Chinatown. Unfortunately, Skid Row lies right in between the two. It looks worse than it is but you'll definitely want to keep an eye on what's going on around you.
This is a great place to see. My mother used to take me here all the time and I've always been safe. It's a very interesting place to see, not very common in all of the world. The people here are mostly down and out and struggling with addiction issues, so I wouldn't say it is a highly dangerous area.
I shop here at least once a week for groceries at Sunrise Market (powell/gore.. great prices) and you know what? The people here are amongst the friendliest. They actually speak to you, engage you, it's all very real and no fakery.
You are safe here alone during the day (I am a woman and do it all the time) but at night you should be with at least one other person and avoid any alleys.
Just returned from Vancouver, including a couple of stops in the E. Hasting & Main area... actually bought my daughter a nice backpack at the store just south of the intersection, so in other words, if you go about your business like 99 percent of the people you'll have no problem.
i laughed at the Aussie couple's review where they mentioned the neighbourhood was worse than any other city in which they'd traveled (i'm guessing they're trip to NYC didn't include the south Bronx?). as for Blood Alley (so named because the old butcher shops used to take their deliveries from the alleyway), they missed Salt, one of Van's best restaurants!
hey, i am a 18 year old that grew up in the DTES area, im from East hastings, my appartment building was the dirtiest and worst building on the street, it is not as dangerous as people may say, the people down there are not out to get you, if you notice, they are treated worse than they treat you, they are human beings aswell, but they just have money issues or crazy addictions, when i lived there it was a very scary place for a kid but i never got hurt once, actually, when i was 7 i was walking with my mom up a flight of stairs, i slipped backwards and before i hit the ground a homeless person cought me and picked me up and carried me to my mom, they are nice people. most of them have families to that they need to support, yes it is scarry out there but unless your out there trying to prevoke people, you should be safe. i can honestly say, i miss living there and i would move back if i could. here homeless, not gangsters. although there is some dangerous people there but y would they choose you.
I've been reading some of the entries here on this website as I'm preparing a speech on this topic.
Vancouver is the most expensive city in Canada to live in and yes, the cost of living is high especially since the government drags it's feet to increase the minimum wage.
But in all the times that I've walked down the streets of the Downtown Eastside, I've never felt that I've ever been in danger. The people there are in trouble.
I'm not going to blame "the system" or any other reason for the homless being there. They're there, it is what it is.
There are drug addicts, mentally ill people, physically ill, abused, emotionally disturbed, the list goes on and many of them don't want to live there. But for most, it's the only place they can find for themselves because our system doesn't give them an opportunity to get out.
There are only two men who I know that broke free from the drug-addicted life style and went on to become stellar citizens and men of integrity. Billy Weselewski and Joe Roberts.
I'm ashamed of Ditsy Clark and her Liberal government and how they continue to ignore these people. They're somebodys children!
hi i lived there most my life , and it was a great place to live , its not as bad as people say it is , its sad to see the system treat them like that , as i was one of them and hooked on drugs , and i have been away know for 4 years, and i do miss the coast
Hello my friends & Travelers"
This wounderful world we live in,we have a place called ",The best place on earth" Vancouver bc. Beautiful wounderful green and amazing.I have to say its true.Then again we have are ups and downs like any other country mabe a little newer too the crazzie stuff we have been brought to except.With all the multiy cultrul peps. Are amazing young lands is now becomin old as the rest of every other country.,drugs ,hunger ,hate.Soo anyway hastings isn t a bad place ,just a place the ones who have been beaten down, down like hard. We as a commumity should be more ashamed as to not pull together,As I have a homeless uncle who does not collect welfare or any support from any hand outs.He is fine yet he let the society go and also family. As whn he was child they hung him upside down in a toitet out house, I mean for many hours ,many days, many years, and yet he dont care yet he aint a user.He was not a bad person, but was showed that he never ment notnin. From young never will no better so how or any judge. East hastings may be a bad place true ..But for the forgotten ones its a home .They are comfortable the peps make it welcome ,and when I find my uncle again >I hope too so ,
I can hugg and tell him I love him ..as he is just as werthy as me xox jenn
It's good to go to these places to experience what they're like. You can't close your eyes to the east side of Vancouver because it would leave you ignorant and inexperienced in your knowledge about the city. Don't look for altercation and you won't find it. In my opinion it's a must see when visiting this beautiful city.
I lived in Vancouver for almost 6 years and worked at the Bourbon nightclub for over 2 years and thats right in Gastown/Downtown Eastside.
Are there disgusting zombies walking down the street? Absolutely.
Do they pose a threat to you? Not really.
In terms of blatant drug use and its the worst I've seen in any city though.
You'll get asked for money a lot, asked for or offered drugs, but I never once had or saw anything close to a violent confrontation on the streets there. Typical bar fights, yes. Muggings, beatings anything like that on the street, I never saw one. Its a sad and depressing addiction situation for sure but there are no street gangs like other cities and thats really where the major violence comes in. There is the odd shooting in Vancouver clubs but thats every city. Not even remotely comparable to NYC, LA, Detroit, etc...where neighborhoods exist that you absolutely do NOT walk around in at night.
Property crime there is a *** though, in all of downtown not just the eastside. Thats definitely related to the drug problem. My car was broken into an average of once every 6 months. Didn't help that I worked in bars and my car was there in the wee hours. Do not leave anything valuable in your car and if you have out of state/province plates I would just leave it unlocked. They'll ransack your car but you won't have to pay for a broken window.
The real violence in BC in the suburb of Surrey, which a tourist would have absolutely no reason to visit.
Overall though Vancouver really is an absolutely beautiful, amazing city with a pretty decent non-douche to douche ratio. The proximity to nature and world class mountain resorts really can't be beat in north america.
And as far as major cities go, its about as safe as they come.
DTES in Vancouver also known as the poorest postal code in Canada is not as bad
as you think. Yes there are several poor people who are abusing substances BUT
there are resources in place to help them if they choose. I was in downtown
Vancouver yesterday morning and it was busy in front of and inside the Insite
office. These folks are not dangerous per say. It is better to just hangout in
the Chinatown area instead. I think that the government, police, community
groups and Vancouver Coastal Health need to have more meetings together.
Tourist be careful not to go to Downtown Eastside along Main and East Hasting Street. There are many drug addicts and drug dealers along that area.