Downtown East, Vancouver

Christina Newberry
April 8, 2015

The MLS®-defined Downtown East Vancouver covers a compact area between Main and Carrall Streets from the waterfront to Pacific Boulevard. This bustling part of town includes the eastern portions of both Chinatown and Gastown, two of Vancouver’s most up-and-coming neighbourhoods for real estate, as well as a corner of the buzzworthy Railtown.

This area is an interesting mix of high and low, old and new. It’s a historic area of Vancouver dotted with heritage buildings, and there’s a buzzing nightlife scene as young people move in to the area and hot new restaurateurs take a chance on the lower rents.

But it also overlaps the Downtown Eastside, an area known for being the poorest postal code in Canada, and the many social challenges that go along with urban poverty. Debates are raging about the gentrification of the area, and not everyone is pleased about the neighbourhood’s move upscale.

It’s definitely a neighbourhood that’s not for everyone, but those who live here tend to love the character of the neighbourhood, the plentiful options for dining and drinking, and the easy walking distance to downtown.

The price of real estate in Downtown East Vancouver is downright reasonable compared with many other areas of the city, although prices have increased dramatically in recent years. For now, it’s still possible to find a one-bedroom condo for less than $280,000, but you can spend well north of a million for a large, higher-end loft in a heritage building. View Downtown Vancouver East MLS® listings and upcoming open houses.

Downtown East Vancouver Amenities


The northern half of the Downtown East Vancouver neighbourhood has a few fashion, home, and vintage stores, and it’s located directly east of the main Gastown shopping corridor. The southern half, which overlaps Chinatown, is dotted with Chinese shops selling everything from herbs to luggage.

Schools and Education

There are no schools within the boundaries of Downtown East Vancouver, except for the Downtown East Education Centre, which offers secondary level courses for adult learners. Lord Strathcona Elementary School is located nearby.

Cafés and Restaurants

This area is known for its cocktails at locations like Chill Winston, the Alibi Room, and the Keefer Bar. The Irish Heather is a classic neighbourhood bar and restaurant that offers a popular communal long table dinner series, and the neighbourhood is a hotbed of new restaurants and cafés.

Sports and Recreation

At the north end of the neighbourhood, Crab Park at Portside offers an off-leash dog area, playgrounds and a kids’ water park along with stunning water views for the adults. At the south end, Andy Livingstone Park offers another off-leash dog park, plus courts for basketball, field hockey, football, soccer and tennis.

Arts and Culture

The Dr. Sun-Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden, built in the 1980s, is the first classical Chinese garden outside of China. The garden offers public programs and exhibitions. 

The area is also home to the Wing Sang gallery, which showcases the Rennie Collection, a private collection of artworks belonging to Vancouver’s “Condo King,” real estate marketer Bob Rennie. Tickets are available for guided tours of the works, and are always snapped up quickly.


Downtown Vancouver East is an easy walk to the downtown core and is well connected to the rest of Vancouver by several bus lines running along Hastings, Main and Pender. It’s also close to the Main and Stadium-Chinatown Skytrain Stations for easy connections to New West, Burnaby and Surrey via the Expo Line. 

Downtown East Vancouver Property Statistics

Average home price1



Rental information2

Average rent for a private apartment


Private apartment vacancy rate



Makeup of dwellings3

Single-detached homes


Row homes


Apartments, under five stories


Apartments, five or more storeys




Downtown East Vancouver Demographics

Population4                              6,500




55 to 64


45 to 54


35 to 44


25 to 34


15 to 24


14 and under



Neighbourhoods Surrounding Downtown East Vancouver Interactive Map, incorporating data from the Chilliwack & District Real Estate Board, Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, and Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, April 2015.

2CMHC Rental Market Report, Vancouver and Abbotsford-Mission CMAs, Fall 2013. The information is based on the entire East Hastings area as defined by CMHC, which includes Downtown East Vancouver.

3Statistics Canada, Census 2011. Household Type (17), Household Size (9) and Structural Type of Dwelling (10) for Private Households of Census Metropolitan Areas, Tracted Census Agglomerations and Census Tracts, 2011 Census.The information is based on Census Tract 0059.06, which includes much of Downtown East Vancouver.

4Statistics Canada, Census 2011. Age (131) and Sex (3) for the Population of Census Metropolitan Areas, Tracted Census Agglomerations and Census Tracts, 2011 Census. The information is based on Census Tract 0059.06, which includes much of Downtown East Vancouver.

Christina Newberry
Christina Newberry is a Vancouver-based writer and editor who writes lifestyle and travel stories for publications both online and in print. When she's not travelling, Christina can be found exploring Vancouver's unique neighbourhoods or puttering in her community garden plot.