VO's Main Street: where history meets hipsters
Main Street: Where History meets Hipster
When the No. 03 trolley bus rounds the bend at 18th and Main -- revealing a stunning panorama of red brick and Edwardian storefronts, punctuated by silver church spires and surrounded by blue snow-capped mountains -- I pretend for a moment I’m in the Eastern townships of Quebec. Or a mid-west manufacturing town. For a brief second, as the stone-and-brick Heritage Hall rises onto the horizon with its copper-green steeples and clock tower, the illusion is complete. Main Street, once voted “the street that looks least like Vancouver” by the Georgia Straight, is truly the most quintessential of Vancouver streets.
Stretching from the Port of Vancouver docks in the north to the Fraser River in the south, Main Street passes through Gastown and the Downtown Eastside to Chinatown, past the CN Rail Station to Mount Pleasant (South Main), Little Mountain (Mid-Main), the Punjabi Market and ends up in the Sunset neighbourhood. Traditionally thought of as a divide, Main Street connects the wealthy west side with the working-class east side, and the bustling downtown core with the placid residential neighbourhoods to the south. It’s where the multi-million dollar heritage homes of Cambie Street rub shoulders with the decidedly plebian Planet Bingo, and where the heritage clock stands guard over a “XXX” cinema, a renowned ballet school, an old-style Chinese bakery specializing in meat buns, a “boutique” clothing store and a hipster café. Like the underground streams swirling beneath it, Main Street is the confluent where they all come together.
In fact, European settlement in “uptown” Main Street (near Broadway) began when sawmill owner Edward Stamp damned the streams, built bridges and workers came across the water from the original Granville Township. For much of its history, Main Street has remained a working-class area, more recently home to Chinese, Filipino and Vietnamese immigrants. Artists and affluent young people moving to the area in the late ’90s infused the neighbourhood with hipster culture, opening cafes, restaurants, bike and skate shops, pubs, bars, live-music venues and, most notably, fashion boutiques.
Main Street is now Vancouver’s premiere go-to destination for shoppers in search of one-of-a-kind fashion by local and Canadian designers. The perfect antidote to mall shopping and chain stores, Main Street’s shopping area runs roughly from 6th Ave. to 30th.. Boutiques offering the latest from a myriad of hot new designers are nestled among shops offering eclectic vintage and gently worn fashions. Some of the unique fashion finds on offer on Main Street include hand-stamped leather purses, laceless rubber sneakers in rainbow colours and frocks from local labels Gentle Fawn and Button. Main Street also boasts maternity wear, clothing for babies and children, menswear and independent labels in larger sizes.
|antisocial skateboard shop|
2337 Main St.
604 708 5678
Athen's Pizza and Italian Food
273 E. Broadway
1 800 283 8772
|Dandelion Records & Emporium |
2442 Main St.
778 737 7367
Our Town Cafe
Rath Art Supplies
|Jerry's European Hair Styling|
604 876 5813
2343 Main St.
604 872 5757
New York Novelties
|Browning & Company Picture Framing|
Suite 8,163 W. 4th Ave
604 879 9965