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The north end of Main Street is located just west of the historic site of Hastings Mill, the nucleus around which Granville, later Vancouver, grew. In its earliest days, the intersection of Main and Hastings Streets was the centre of downtown Vancouver, boasting the city’s central public library (now the Carnegie Centre) and — a few blocks away — the old City Hall. The intersection of Main and Hastings is now a local byword for the poverty, addictions, homelessness, and prostitution often associated with the Downtown Eastside.

The thoroughfare was originally named “Westminster Avenue”, since it connects to New Westminster Road (now Kingsway). It received its present name in 1910[1] at the behest of local merchants, who thought that it bestowed a more cosmopolitan air to the neighbourhood.

Eric Hamber Secondary School

5025 Willow St, Vancouver, BC V5Z 3S1

Eric Hamber Secondary School is a comprehensive high school emphasizing academic achievement, student leadership, athletic excellence, participation in the arts, and service to others. Eric Hamber’s drama, music, athletics, foods, fashion, computer programming, dance, business, and multi-media programs are well known throughout the district for their high profile shows, awards in competitions, and success stories.

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Emily Carr Elementary School

4070 Oak St, Vancouver, BC V6H 2M8

Emily Carr Elementary is located at Oak Street and King Edward in the Douglas Park area. Emily Carr has 310 students in grades Kindergarten to Seven. Our school is named after the Canadian writer and painter Emily Carr. Emily Carr has a strong, supportive parent community. Students at Emily Carr are well-rounded, successful children with many background experiences. They have many strengths in the BC Curriculum Core Competencies including positive communication skills, solid creative and critical thinking and a strong sense of personal and social responsibility. 

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L’École Bilingue

1166 W 14th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6H 1P6

L’École Bilingue, a single-track French Immersion school near 14th Avenue and Oak St., opened its lead class in 1973. While the majority of our students come from relatively comfortable, well-educated English-speaking households, our community is enriched by an increasingly wide variety of linguistic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Entry to French Immersion, being restricted to new Kindergarten and Grade 1 students, most of our 450+ students enjoy the stability of an entire elementary education in one school and the benefits of long-standing friendships and on-going connections with the staff.

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Edith Cavell Elementary School

500 W 20th Ave, Vancouver, BC V5Z 1X7

Part of the dynamic Douglas Park Community. Current student population is 321 with fourteen class divisions. Students who are learning English are integrated into our regular program with support by classroom and resource teaching staff. English language learners comprise approximately 7% of the population and speak a variety of home languages including Japanese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Serbian, Arabic and Russian. Our students with special needs are similarly integrated into our classes with support from our resource tam and school and student support workers. The Cavell community is very stable, wth the large majority of our Grade Seven students having begun Kindergarten at Cavell.

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Sir Charles Tupper Secondary School

419 E 24th Ave, Vancouver, BC V5V 2A2

Sir Charles Tupper has a population of 1060 students. Our school population is ethnically diverse, with home languages that include English, Tagalog, Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Amharic, Farsi, and Arabic. Sixteen percent of our students are enrolled in ELL classes, of whom approximately forty five are International Students. We also have a cohort of 25 student with Indigenous heritage representing two percent of our total student population. In addition to a broad array of regular programming in the core academic and elective subject areas, Tupper offers a number of district educational programs for students with distinctly identified learning needs.

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Dude Chilling Park

2390 Brunswick St, Vancouver, BC V5T 3L8

This park is notorious for its sign that was originally placed as a joke, but has become a permanent installation. It is an ideal place for morning exercise, relaxing the grassy field, or an evening stroll. It also features two tennis courts, and a playground.

Sahalli Park

2000 Fraser St, Vancouver, BC V5T 1P1

Surrounded by red brick paths and trees, this small green space is great for picnicking, resting, playing, or viewing the neighbourhood from atop one of the knolls.

Robson Park

599 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5T 4L9

From a busy neighbourhood into a colourful neighbourhood, this park is decorated with bright flowers from the community garden and is a great place for an evening stroll.

China Creek North Park

1001 E 7th Ave, Vancouver, BC V5T 1E5

This lively park is a great spot for recreational activity with its popular jogging track, open fields, and a playground. Visitors can also catch a glimpse of the North Shore Mountains atop the high points of the park.

Prince Edward Park

3773 Prince Edward St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3Y3

This park features play areas that overlook an open grassy field, perfect for a game of soccer, as well as ample space and shade to relax on a bench or take a stroll.

Grimmett Park

169 E 19th Ave, Vancouver, BC V5V 1J1

This quaint park is decorated with beautiful bright flower beds and a play area for children.

Vancouver Heritage Housing

In April 1983, City Council initiated a Heritage Conservation Program. Both Council and the Vancouver Heritage Commission (then known as the Heritage Advisory Committee) realized that a comprehensive management program was necessary to identify the city’s heritage resources, to develop incentives to assist in the conservation of those resources, and to create a greater awareness and understanding of our built heritage. There are three main components to the Heritage Program.

Vancouver Heritage Register

By the end of 1986, Vancouver’s centennial year, City Council adopted the Vancouver Heritage Register (then known as the Heritage Inventory) which included buildings, landscapes, monuments and archaeological sites that have heritage significance. A site does not have to be designated to be included on the Register. There are approximately 2,400 resources listed on the Register ranging from workers cottages and utilitarian warehouses to elaborately decorated mansions and commercial buildings. The Vancouver Heritage Register [pdf] is a valuable record of the development and change that has occurred in Vancouver’s history. Approximately 21% (about 500) sites are municipally designated [see the Heritage Bylaw].

Heritage Management Plan

The Heritage Management Plan includes a program of incentives and protective measures that are aimed at promoting the conservation of our heritage resources. Incentives such as zoning by-law, subdivision by-law and parking by-law relaxations, density bonuses and transfers, and permit fast tracking encourage the restoration and continued use of heritage buildings. Protective measures include designation, heritage revitalization agreements, heritage alteration permits, heritage inspections, impact assessments, temporary protection, the withholding of approvals and permits, heritage control periods and heritage site maintenance standards.

Public Education and Information Program

This aspect of the Heritage Conservation Program provides information to the public on heritage issues and appropriate conservation techniques. Initiatives such as the annual Heritage Awards which recognize efforts that further the goal of heritage conservation are also an important part of the Heritage Program. The Heritage Plaque Program identifies municipally designated heritage sites with a distinctive bronze plaque and serves to acknowledge conservation efforts of building owners. It also increases public awareness of our built heritage and of our history.

What is the Vancouver Heritage Register?

The Vancouver Heritage Register [PDF] is the cornerstone of the City’s Heritage program. Adopted in 1986 (then known as the Heritage Inventory), it is a policy and guideline document which includes approximately 2,150 buildings, and 131 landscapes, monuments and archaeological sites. To be included on the Register, sites must be identified as having heritage value and/or heritage character and be at least 20 years old. The Register is a planning tool which provides a valuable record of Vancouver’s heritage.

How Was the Heritage Register Completed and How Are Buildings Evaluated?

A comprehensive architectural survey of the city was completed by a study team that looked at every street in the City to identify notable buildings. This work, together with additional historical research on the buildings, was used to evaluate each building according to the following criteria: (1) architectural significance; (2) historical significance; (3) the extent to which the original context of the building and its surroundings remain; and (4) the degree of alteration to the exterior of the building.

To be included on the Heritage Register, a site is evaluated as outlined above, and in so doing it must be identified as having heritage value and/or heritage character. Heritage value means historical, cultural, aesthetic, scientific or educational worth. Heritage character means the overall effect produced by traits or features which give a property or an area its distinctive quality. There can be different degrees and kinds of value and character. A rare example of a once-common building type may be of considerable value in one neighbourhood over a similar building in another area where that building type is more prevalent.

What do the “A”, “B” and “C” Evaluation Categories Mean?

These categories are general classifications and are based on any combination of historic, architectural, cultural, spiritual, scientific or social values.

A – Primary Significance
Represents the best examples of a style or type of building; may be associated with a person or event of significance.

B – Significant
Represents good examples of a particular style or type, either individually or collectively; may have some documented historical or cultural significance in a neighbourhood.

C – Contextual or Character
Represents those buildings that contribute to the historic character of an area or streetscape, usually found in groupings of more than one building but may also be of individual importance.

While the category is a useful reference, the key is that whichever category a building is placed under, it has heritage value.

Can Registered Buildings be Altered or Demolished?
Does a Building’s “A”, “B” or “C” Category Affect How It Is Treated?

A building which is listed on the Heritage Register can be altered on the exterior. However, when considering alterations, the way in which the exterior is treated should not depend on whether it is an “A”, “B” or “C”. In other words, the heritage value of each building on the Heritage Register is formally recognized and the elements that define its character should be afforded the same level of respect. If a permit is required for the alteration, it will be referred to heritage staff for comments as part of the permit process.

Council’s “Heritage Polices and Guidelines” describe Council’s intent with respect to heritage properties listed on the Vancouver Heritage Register (VHR). Before a permit can be issued to demolish a building on the VHR, development and building permits for the new development must first be obtained. In this period staff would explore retention options with the applicant. Often applicants do not know all the options and incentives/bonuses which are applicable if a heritage building is retained. These can include floor area bonuses and relaxations in height, setbacks, parking, etc. Heritage incentives are meant to be used to successfully find alternatives to the demolition of heritage buildings to the satisfaction of both the property owner and the city.

In addition to the process described above, Council policy specifies that if a building is listed in the “A” category on the VHR and demolition is sought by the owner, then:

“Council has instructed that, prior to consideration of a proposal for the demolition of an “A” building, a formal independent consultant’s report on the physical condition and economic viability of retaining the building should be reviewed by the Director of Planning. The consultant’s report is to be carried out at the expense of the applicant.”

The Planning Department’s practice in this regard has been to advise Council of the demolition request for an “A” listed building and seek their advice. For all other buildings on the Vancouver Heritage Register, if the development application is “outright” with respect to use and regulation, and there is no voluntary interest in keeping the building by the owner (or prospective owner) then the heritage hold would be removed and the demolition application process would proceed. The process typically takes one to three weeks.

For applications that seek a “conditional” development with respect to use or regulation, (e.g. a single family dwelling containing a secondary suite) the City is under no obligation to approve an application that seeks the demolition of a building on the VHR. Instead, Council’s policy instructs staff to give special consideration through applying zoning incentives to applications that seek the retention of a resource on the Heritage Register. It can take one to six months to complete the permitting process to retain the heritage building, depending on the complexity of the site, development requested and the level of negotiation.

In addition to the procedures described above, the Vancouver Charter (sections 583 and 589) permits Council to delay the demolition approval of a building either on the Heritage Register or a building that “may be heritage property”, through temporary protection for a period of 120 days. During this time, a heritage inspection may be ordered (at the owners expense) to assess the heritage value of the site.

How are Sites Added to the Vancouver Heritage Register?

When the original Heritage Register was adopted in 1986, Council supported a public nomination program whereby sites would be nominated for addition to the Register. Public nominations are reviewed by heritage staff who prepare an evaluation form for the site. The evaluation is then reviewed by the Vancouver Heritage Commission. If the person nominating the building is not the owner, then consultation with the owner must occur to determine whether or not the owner is supportive of the nomination. Sites with sufficient heritage value or character are forwarded to Council for consideration in amending the Register. If approved, the site is added to the Register.

Get in Touch with us to get more information about the Main Street Neighbourhood​


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