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Vancouver’s West End

Lumiere Light Sculpture in the West End

The West End is the neighbourhood in Vancouver’s downtown core that’s between Stanley Park, Coal Harbour, English Bay and the start of False Creek.


LUMIERE LIGHT SCULPTURES IN 2020

As is the case most years, Vancouver’s West End features a number of light sculpture displays on Davie Street and near English Bay in November. Lumiere runs from November 5th until the 30th and during that time you can see whale, bear and heron light sculptures, along with a few other pretty decorations at night.

To learn more click Lumiere 2020.


The West End

The downtown core of the City of Vancouver is located on a peninsula. To the north is Stanley Park, to the west is English Bay, to the south is False Creek and to the east are Yaletown and Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Districts within the peninsula include Coal Harbour, Gastown, Yaletown, the West End and the city’s main financial district.

Vancouver’s West End is primarily the area of the city that’s south of Georgia Street and west of Burrard. Other prominent roadways within the neighbourhood include Denman Street, Alberni Street and the northwestern ends of both Robson and Davie. It’s a district full of high-density high-rises, condos, apartments, shopping opportunities and streets lined with trees.

Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours


REALLY GAY WALKING TOURS

The area around Davie Street, in the south part of Vancouver’s West End, is where you’ll find the heart of Vancouver’s LGBTQ community. Here you’ll see more rainbow-coloured crosswalks, signs and banners than anywhere else in the Lower Mainland. It’s also one of several parts of town where you’ll find people having an enjoyable and informative time with Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours.

Vancouver is arguably a pretty welcoming city for people of all backgrounds and orientations, and especially so in this neighbourhood. But that hasn’t always been the case. A great way to explore Vancouver’s West End and learn about the city’s LGBTQ community and history is to take a “Really Gay Walking Tour” with Forbidden Vancouver. During your stroll their guide will tell you about police raids, prejudice and discrimination, but also about the community’s successes.

Forbidden Vancouver offers a number of tours in different parts of the city – including one in Stanley Park, a couple around Gastown and one that involves visits to area chocolatiers. Their “Really Gay Walking Tour” is the one where you can learn about city’s LGBTQ history.


English Bay Beach Skyscrapers
The West End from English Bay

Places of Interest in the West End

The West End is home to a number of the City of Vancouver’s most famous landmarks and places of interest including the following:

  • Alberni Street – a road that starts at Burrard Street and where some of Vancouver’s fanciest restaurants and high-end clothing and jewellery stores are located.
  • Davie Street – a street where, in the West End, you’ll find rainbow-coloured sidewalks, Davie Village and the heart of Vancouver’s LGBTQ community.
  • Davie Village – the area of shops, bars and restaurants along Davie Street in the West End where Vancouver’s gay subculture is most prominent.
  • Denman Street – a road lined with restaurants that runs from Georgia Street near Coal Harbour and Stanley Park to Davie Street and English Bay Beach.
  • False Creek – the body of water that stretches from Sunset Beach and the Burrard Street Bridge in the West End to Science World. (Also located along False Creek are Yaletown, the Olympic Village and Granville Island.)
  • English Bay – a large body of water off the coast of Vancouver as well as the name of Vancouver’s world-famous beach that’s located near the corner of Denman Street and Davie.
  • Lost Lagoon – a small lake in Stanley Park at the edge of the West End.
  • Robson Street – Vancouver’s most famous street for shopping. The busiest and most fashionable part of it goes through the West End between Burrard and around Cardero Street.
  • Roedde House Museum – a heritage building at 1415 Barclay Street. It’s a museum where live music performances sometimes take place.
  • Stanley Park – Vancouver’s famous urban park that’s home to a large forest, miniature train, totem poles, the Vancouver Aquarium, stunning 360-degree views and a seawall that goes all around the perimeter of park.
  • St. Paul’s Hospital – it’s not an attraction, so not a place you’d ordinarily want to have to visit, but it is a famous landmark. St. Paul’s is one of the region’s largest and oldest hospitals and it’s located at 1081 Burrard Street (so at the very edge of Vancouver’s West End).
  • Sunset Beach – a long sandy beach near the entrance to False Creek by the Burrard Street Bridge and across the water from Vanier Park (where a number of Vancouver’s main museums are located).
  • West End Farmers Market – a weekly market on Comox Street where local farmers and artisans sell fresh produce, crafts and home-baked goods on Saturdays from late May until October.

In addition to the above there is also a seawall that goes from Stanley Park, past English Bay Beach and all around False Creek.

English Bay on Polar Bear Swim Day
English Bay on January 1st

West End Festivals & Events

A number of festivals take place in the West End each year, mostly around English Bay and Sunset Beach. Major annual events include the following:

  • English Bay Polar Bear Swim – an event where hundreds of Vancouver folk swim in the icy waters at English Bay Beach on January 1st.
  • 420 Vancouver – a cannabis-themed event with live music and vendors selling all things related to marijuana at Sunset Beach on April 20th.
  • Cherry Jam Concert – live entertainment outside the Burrard Street SkyTrain Station as part of the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival in April.
  • West End Car Free Day – a pedestrian-only street festival on Denman Street in June.
  • World Naked Bike Ride – an annual protest against car culture and the petroleum industry where participants ride their bicycles around Vancouver in the nude. The event starts at Sunset Beach on a weekend afternoon in July.
  • Symphony at Sunset Beach – a free concert with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra at Sunset Beach in July.
  • Celebration of Light – a series of three evenings between the end of July and the beginning of August where hundreds of thousands of people gather to watch fireworks displays just off English Bay Beach.
  • Vancouver Pride Parade & Festival – an LGBTTQ-themed festival with a parade and other festival activities in celebration of Vancouver’s gay community in late July and early August.
  • Bike the Night – an event where hundreds of Vancouverites cycle through the streets of downtown Vancouver on an evening in September.
  • Lumiere Vancouver – a small event with Christmas illuminations and entertainment around Davie Street in November.
  • Lights of Hope Celebration – an evening fundraising event with fireworks and live entertainment when the Christmas lights get turned on at St. Paul’s Hospital in mid to late November.
Sandman Suites on Davie
Sandman Suites on Davie Street

West End Hotels

A number of hotels are located in or at the edge of Vancouver’s West End. They include the following:

Hotels on either Burrard Street or West Georgia that are on the edge of Vancouver’s West End include the following:

English Bay and North Shore Mountains

Other Information

Other articles that might be of interest include the following:

 

 

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