Main Street One of Top 15 Coolest Streets in North America: Retail Survey

Main and Broadway “ground zero” for the coolest district in BC, and one of only two in Canada, according to retail real estate report

June 30, 2016

— lliao

The Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, focusing on Main Street in particular, has been named one of North America’s top 15 “cool streets” by a Cushman & Wakefield report.

The Cool Streets of North America report added that the Main and Broadway intersection is “ground zero” for the super-hip shopping and cultural district, which was one of only two in Canada highlighted by the North America-wide survey, the other being Toronto’s West Queen West.

Cool streets are defined as being “bohemian enclaves and focal points for local arts, music or the LGBT community”, says the report, but also characterized by “an explosion of unconventional new retail concepts.”

Leyda Molnar, who has managed Kingsgate Mall at Main and Broadway for 10 years, told’s sister publication Western Investor that she has seen massive change in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. “We see a lot more young people because of all the new condos,” she said. She added that the aging mall is seeing revived interest, with a new local boutique fashion store, Lolli Pretty, just opened and Home Highlights, a start-up interior design accessory outlet, opening this month.

“If retailers live and die by cool, the same also holds true of shopping centres and entire neighbourhoods,” said Garrick Brown, vice-president of retail research at Cushman & Wakefield. “And in an age of frugality, e-commerce encroachment and vast gaps in shopping-centre performance, cool matters now more than ever.

“Independent retailers remain the heart and soul of the cool street phenomenon,” Brown added. “Small chains, start-ups and little guys are those most thriving in those locations, and this is largely driven by rents, which stand at roughly 55 per cent of the average asking rate of the nearest Class A mall or high street shopping district.”

Millennials make up 31 per cent of the population of Mount Pleasant, where the average household income is $85,689, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

The report cites the other 14 coolest North American shopping districts as:

  • Sunset Park in Brooklyn, New York;
  • Logan Square in Chicago, Illinois;
  • Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati, Ohio;
  • RiNo in Denver, Colorado;
  • Silver Lake in Los Angeles, California;
  • Wynwood in Miami, Florida;
  • North Loop in Minneapolis, Minnesota;
  • Roosevelt Row in Phoenix, Arizona;
  • Carytown in Richmond, Virginia;
  • East Village in San Diego, California;
  • Jackson Square in San Francisco. California;
  • Delmar Loop in St. Louis, Missouri;
  • West Queen West in Toronto; and
  • Shaw in Washington DC.

However, the same report describes Vancouver’s Gastown neighbourhood as “up and coming” so perhaps its findings should be taken with a grain of salt.

Joannah Connolly has been editor and content manager of since May 2014. Joannah has appeared on major local TV outlets as a real estate commentator, and has moderated and spoken on several industry panels. During this time, she also spent two years hosting the Real Estate Therapist radio show on Roundhouse Radio 98.3FM. A dual Canadian-British citizen, Joannah has 20 years of journalism experience in Vancouver and London, with a prior background in construction, architecture and business media.
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