The Arbutus neighbourhood has come a long way from the days it was known as “Asthma Flats.” What was once swampy marshland is now a lovely residential community. The MLS® is quite narrow in its definition of the neighbourhood, setting the boundaries at 16th Avenue to the north, Arbutus Street to the east, King Edward Avenue to the south and Quesnel Drive to the west. But crammed within that area are some fabulous amenities and features. Here are five wonderful aspects of this area of Vancouver’s West Side.
1. Lots of Public Green Space
The former CPR railway land along the Arbutus Corridor is now City of Vancouver property, and is being transformed into a greenway for walking and cycling (see rendering above) that stretches nine kilometres, all the way from False Creek to the Fraser River. Running right along the Arbutus neighbourhood, this creates newly accessible green space and recreational opportunities for neighbourhood and city residents.
The Arbutus area also includes Trafalgar and Carnarvon parks, which offer fields for football soccer, baseball, and even Ultimate Frisbee and cricket.
2. Wide Range of Single-Family Home options
More than 40 per cent of the residences in Arbutus are single-family homes, compared with only 18 per cent in the city as a whole*. Those homes range from small bungalows built in the 1940s to very large, modern homes with all the latest amenities and features.
3. A Diverse Mix of Age Groups
It’s no surprise that a neighbourhood with lots of single-family homes also has lots of families. Almost a quarter* of the neighbourhood’s residents are 19 and under. But it’s not all young families: nearly a fifth* of community residents are senior citizens. With a good age mix, Arbutus offers the opportunity for strong community ties for residents in all stages of life.
4. Great Local Eateries
While Arbutus is primarily a residential neighbourhood, the pockets of commercial activity are populated with local shops and places to eat. Local favourites include La Buca for Italian food, Glory Juice Co. for cold-pressed juices, and The Patty Shop for Jamaican Patties, all tucked into a little retail corner at MacDonald Street and 24th Avenue.
5. Well-Connected Transit – and More Coming
Major bus lines border the neighbourhood on three sides, along Arbutus Street, King Edward Avenue and 16th Avenue. Buses also run north-south along MacDonald Avenue. It takes about half an hour to get downtown using transit. The area is also set to benefit greatly from the new Broadway SkyTrain extension (when it is eventually built), which in its first phase is planned to run from VCC-Clark to a new Arbutus SkyTrain station.
*Data from Statistics Canada, Arbutus-Ridge Census Data and National Household Survey (2011), provided by the City of Vancouver. The information applies to the entire Arbutus-Ridge area.