Commercial Drive in East Vancouver is perhaps not in the most traveled tourist area of the city, but it’s worth the effort to find. Follow your nose to “The Drive,” as it’s affectionately known, as the heady aromas of food and coffee permeate this area.
Eat your way around the world on Commercial Drive with a full representation of cuisines from the Middle East, Ethiopia, Greece, Japan, Italy, the Philippines, the Caribbean and, of course, the West Coast. Meet local residents who eat here and enjoy an eclectic setting of what was once collectively known as Vancouver’s Little Italy. One large section still has an obvious Italian presence.
Sit down and spend some time beside Trout Lake in John Hendry Park. Buy a tasty snack in the park at the farmers market, which is open from May to October. At the opposite end of Commercial Drive is Grandview Park, a popular venue for impromptu sessions by street musicians, and a great place do some people-watching.
Continue exploring this area’s 22 blocks of businesses, from Venables Street to East 12th Avenue, with something for every taste and whim. Step into the many stores that offer unique items made by local craftspeople, as well as artwork that perfectly captures the atmosphere of this lively street.
Quench the inevitable thirst you will create from walking by ducking into one of the many coffee shops. At one intersection alone you have a choice of coffeehouses on three corners. Down a draught or a craft beer from a large selection of ale houses. Nights on Commercial Drive offer a variety of entertainment keeping this part of Vancouver alive around the clock.
Park your car on a side street, which is probably your best chance of finding a spot. Otherwise Commercial Drive is thoroughly served by public transit. Wear good walking shoes and take time to experience this diverse street.