Favorite thing: "There must be some rich people living here." With all the yachts and glass towers, that's my first impression of Yaletown when I arrived by Aquabus (see photo). Once I walked around, amazingly I found these glass towers mostly residential, not office buildings. Not sure how much it'll cost to live in one of those lofts. "Trendy" and "yuppy" are the terms associated with Yaletown in most Vancouverites' eyes.
Put on your good pair of walking shoes again. We will start at the Roundhouse Community Centre at the corner of Pacific Boulevard and Davie Street. Go inside to look at some historic photos. This community centre is one of the nicest in the city, and provides lots of good arts and cultural programmes. There is also a train engine on display. However, the pavilion is open only for selected hours (probably depending on volunteer availability).
The residential area around the Roundhouse is the largest master-planned neighourhood in North America. The land was purchased from the BC government by Li Ka Shing at a price of 324 million. The land occupies 1/6 of the downtown peninsula and was originally proposed as the Lagoon Project, where the buildings would be built at the centre of False Creek and linked to the city via ferries and bridges. Luckily, the idea was rejected by the city and Li has now turned the area into a $3 billion development for 15000 residents.
Go to the foot of Davie Street. You will see a big display of some photos from the Vancouver Library archive. Look around False Creek. It originally extended up to Clark Drive, but when Great Northern Rail came to Vancouver part of the Creek was filled up to make room for the rail yard.
Much of False Creek is very much contaminated. A study in the 1950s estimated that it would cost $40 million to clean up, so the land had been vacant for a long time until it became the Expo site in 1986.
Walking away from False Creek down Davie Street you can get to the yaletown warehouse area at Mainland Street. Can you find 1152 Mainland?
This area was where trains unloaded. The street numbers are clearly visible on the buildings so that the driver can easily see them. Just outside 1152 Mainland is Bill Curtis Park. The concrete planters were designed to have a wavy outline to tell the story of where False Creek shoreline used to be.
Walk along Mainland Street and look for buildings with inverted triangle heritage designations. Explore the shops in the area. You can find boutiques with its own DJ, high tech offices (only a handful left after the dot-com crash), fancy restaurants, etc. in this area, an evidence of the revival of this district to become a popular spot in town.
As you pass by the New Yorker loft you may notice some steel plated numbers on top of street front stores. Those were dock numbers of the warehouses! Look also at the power posts. They also retained the original look of the area.
Now go into the Yaletown Centre. You can walk to the other side of the building and come out at street level on Hamilton Street. This was why this area was picked as warehouses. There is a 4-feet incline and goods that were unloaded on Mainland Street can easily be transported to Hamilton Street.
Once you are on Hamilton street, turn right and walk for about 3 blocks to the Vancouver library. It is designed by the same architect who design the Habitat in Montreal. This architect is famous for his normadic out-of-place design ('outrageous' and controversial design that people don't expect to be used).
Across the street from the library is the Post Office built in the 1950's for a cost of over $14 million. There is a helicopter pad on the roof top because it was thought that the trend would be to deliver mail by helicopter! The post office also has a tunnel that goes all the way to Cordova Street in gas town. If it were put to use, it will take mail from ships to arrive at the post office in only 8 minutes. Unfortunately, after the building was built air mail became popular and the tunnel was only used for shooting X-files episodes!
It is very relaxing to walk around Yaletown harbour,enjoy the peaceful,relaxed atmosphere
Fondest memory: the sea and the mountain view
The development in the SE area of downtown facing False Creek is called Yaletown.
Fondest memory: Watch for seals who frequent the waters of False Creek.