Vancouver: Mapping More Than Totem Poles

Vancouver WebVancouver. Everyone’s partying like it’s still 2010, yet outsiders still think that all there is to the city is totem poles, green-glass condos, and naked hippies dancing on a steamy, foggy beach (wait, maybe this is partially true). In this map, we take an in-depth look at the complex fabric of neighborhoods that make up one of the most livable cities in North America.

Prints available in our map store.


For a deeper analysis, here is Urbane staffer Trevor Felch’s take on Vancouver.

Vancouver certainly had its time in the global spotlight four years ago as host of the 2010 Winter Olympics. There’s no doubt that the Olympics still are having a profound impact on the city via immense gentrification. You see it directly with the old Olympic Village along False Creek, but you also see the rapid transitions out east of the center, where traditionally working class and Asian immigrant neighborhoods are seeing a younger generation of renters, or yuppie housing if you will.

What Urbane’s map captured most is that Vancouver is more than just its shiny urban core. Tourists think of the beautiful green glass condos on the cruise ship harbor, the pulse of Robson Street, the steam clock, and Granville Island’s creative bustle. Of course, there’s Stanley Park, its totem poles, and an expansive green space that is one of North America’s premier major urban parks.

Then look at the map. That concentrated area is, what, one-tenth of the city’s area? This is after all no second-fiddle city to behemoth Toronto, or its colleagues in the U.S. The Hollywood of the North has dairy farms right nearby. It’s not like that in L.A. Studying the map, you’ll notice an enormous difference going from west to east.

Somehow students and naked hippies lead to Rolls-Royces, then to one of the most enormous and influential immigrant populations…anywhere. Pinoy Town, Little Saigon, China Meets Punjabi Market…you name it. Vancouver’s most renowned restaurants are…a small sushi bar and an Indian restaurant, both south of downtown.

Indeed, Vancouver loves its hockey, gardens, and mountains. The city has no shortage of flashy and not-flashy nightlife. Vancouver is in theory “Rain City,” though it actually receives less rain per year than New York.

What this map best shows per our team’s research and discussions with locals is what I’d find to be a fitting thesis on Vancouver 2013: Diverse Ethnicities Living on Royally-Named Streets