Fraser Street: the "new Main Street"

If you're shopping in Vancouver, the city's Fraser Street area, east of Main Street, is becoming the city's newest cool neighbourhood. However, business owners have mixed feelings about recent develpments and gentrification of the area. 

Photo by Parisa Azadi

Formerly marred by a reputation for drugs and prostitution, Fraser Street is reinventing itself as Vancouver's up-and-coming "it" neighbourhood. The emergence of charming hangouts such as The Outpost Café or small-scale boutiques have led to Fraser Street being dubbed "the New Main Street", in reference to the trendy South Main area. With the new moniker, however, some locals worry that the traditionally working-class Fraser Street may undergo the same gentrification that has swept through Main Street in recent years.  

Photo by Parisa Azadi

Affordability and eclectic community 
Fraser Street has become increasingly attractive to independent shops and boutiques because of its affordability. Businesses like the Beehive hair salon, a fixture on Main Street for 11 years, moved several blocks down to Fraser Street due to its lower rent, according to the Globe and Mail. But that's not all, explained Beehive owner Sarah Campbell: "The rent is just one of many reasons: I love this neighbourhood," she said. "It's an amazing community, it's very diverse and eclectic." 

Photo by Parisa Azadi

Most of the Fraser Street region is characterized by ethnically diverse restaurants ranging from Chinese, Filipino, Indian, and Polish. If you walk down the thirty blocks stretching from 17th to 49th, you'll encounter hidden gems such as Ba Le, a popular Vietnamese sub shop or the family-owned European Breads Bakery, known for its organic and dairy-free bread. 

Photo by Parisa Azadi

However, the community has also undergone some dramatic transformations over the last few years, raising questions about whether its image is about to change.

Creeping signs of gentrification (or "Kitsilanofication") are everywhere: new condo projects are on sale, and franchises like Subway and Shoppers Drug Mart are slowly making their way into the area. A No Frills market has recently opened its doors on Fraser and 29th Street.  

Photo by Parisa Azadi

Mixed reactions

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