; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: Victoria Drive

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Victoria Drive

I wanted to blog about this neighbourhood in Vancouver because I grew up around here and it's neat to see how much it's changed over the years. I also wanted to spotlight it for locals who don't get over to this side of town much and to say, hey it's worth a visit! For tourists, you probably have other sights to go and see, but if you like to travel and visit little pockets of the city, here's one in Vancouver you may want to seek out.


Someone once told me that he liked neighbourhoods that organically and naturally became a unique area, as opposed to places that are forced upon the public through gentrification and city laws.

I think Victoria Drive is slowly and organically finding its own. Back in the day, I remember growing up with my Portuguese neighbours, who would brew moonshine in their backyard and bring home carcasses of venison that they'd gotten from hunting trips. The area had Portuguese, Italian and Chinese stores throughout. Some are still there, but the Asian influence is definitely a lot more these days.


On a cloudy Sunday morning, I took a walk, took some photos, and thought I'd share some fun places for you to check out in the hood. There's a lot of restaurants, even though I didn't want to turn this into a food blog, but it just goes to show that there's an eclectic selection of cuisine over here that may or may not surprise you!

For instance, there's a lot of Vietnamese places you can pop into for a quick Vietnamese sub, or perhaps a steaming bowl of pho.



Recently relocated to V-Drive, is the Vietnamese vegetarian spot, Chau Veggie Express (transplanted and reworked here from Robson Street's Chau Kitchen & Bar, if you can believe it!)


Victoria Drive also has its usual amenities that you'd be looking for: laundry mats, drug stores (including the big London Drugs on 41st), Starbucks, medical clinics, etc.

One of the many staples of this corridor has to be all the delicious Chinese bakeries that spring up every other step!




If "dan tats" and BBQ buns aren't your thing, maybe you want to check out the Italian bakery Calabria? Or the institution that is Bon Bon's? (Apparently, they do male/female anatomy b-day cakes if you so please!)



Getting to Victoria Drive can be KIND OF a pain. Only because the traffic is a bit of a bottleneck. I guess that's what happens when you put a crosswalk or a stoplight on every other block! However, if you do drive there, parking is pretty plentiful and free. If you're bussing it, your best bet is to take the #20, which is NOT for the faint of heart. Alternately, you can take the 41st or 49th busses as well. Skytrain stations that you can bus from include Joyce, Broadway, Cambie, and 29th Avenue (if you take the 33rd Street bus).


If you decide to take the Kingsway route, that could be a good starting point for a visit to Victoria Drive. Anything below Kingsway is pretty much Commercial Drive territory. The intersection of Kingsway and Victoria have a few gems of its own. Technically located on Kingsway proper, there's The Tipper Restaurant & Review Room, a few Indian places, some hot Shanghainese spots, and Green Lettuce which serves up Indian style Chinese food for the indecisive.




If you rather something more European, there's always schnitzel and beer over at the Vancouver Alpen Club.


There are diners, butcher shops, Halal Meat shops, and fruit stands aplenty.




You can't talk about Victoria Drive without talking about all the little hole-in-the-wall dim sum places, which fill up on weekend mornings with lineups spilling out onto the sidewalk. Here a few that I snapped photos of:



There's Golden Swan restaurant, which has been around since I can remember.


Kalvin's Restaurant serves Taiwanese, Szechuan and Hakka, while Angkor specializes in Cambodian. Meanwhile, Sweet Chili zeroes in on Thai and Indonesian cuisine. Fatty Cow has hot pot for those who like to work for their food!




In recent years, the street has seen an increase in Mexican eateries, including the wildly popular relocated Dona Cata.



Even though I've blogged mainly about restaurants, there is more to do here than just eat!

I remember growing up here and going past the building that everyone called the "abortion clinic" because people knew abortions were performed there. I still recall the protestors standing on the corner on the weekends, with their signs trying to get drivers to honk for support. The clinic is now gone, and replaced by an art studio.


You could go get a tattoo at one of the parlours that have opened up, like LD Tattoo or 40 Days 40 Nights. Or maybe you want to join in a game of soccer at the local park?




Feel like treasure hunting? I often like to check out the SPCA thrift store or Value Village for amazing finds. If you visit the SPCA thrift store, you may want to bring some treats for their resident kitty cats! Here's one who came to say hello when I popped in.




And every Thursday night there's BINGO to be played!


Victoria Drive is waiting for you!!

2 comments:

  1. Halal Meat VancouverHalal Vancity is the food resource for those looking for halal restaurants, butchers, grocery outlets caterers, and banqueting facilities in beautiful Vancouver British Columbia

    ReplyDelete
  2. Halal Butchers VancouvertWescadia Halal Foods is a long established wholesaler of Halal foods in the Vancouver area. We specialize in meat and seafood products, in particular lamb, goat.

    ReplyDelete