I can honestly say “I liked Main Street before it was hip”; but only because we happened to buy a house 2½ blocks away in 1996 and were introduced to its motley charms back then.

The neighborhood these days is pretty well folks like us who bought in before it caught on, plus hipsters and immigrants rejoicing in the still-sane rents which are mostly a function of most of the buildings being 90 years old, beat-up, and not very upscale when they were built.

Having said that, the commercial rents right on Main itself are whiplashing the interesting merchants. But let’s focus in on some surviving low-rent Transpacific flavors.

A-1 Bike Shop has appeared here before. They must have a long-term lease because I can’t see it as a high-margin business. Appropriately, they subordinate design elements to typography.

A-1 Cycles on Main Street in Vancouver
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Thai Produce store on Main Street in Vancouver
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Multicultural corner store on Main Street in Vancouver

We may be hip but we’re still extremely immigrant-heavy and immigrant-friendly, and I just don’t see any downsides to it. People naturally want to move around; why would getting in the way be a net benefit in the big picture?



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From: BWJones (Mar 21 2011, at 10:05)

The amazing thing (one of the many...) about Vancouver is that the diversity brings *excellent* food. The absolute hands down best Chinese meal I've ever had in my life was in Vancouver (and I've been to China). The best Vietnamese meal and the second best Indian meal I've ever had were also in Vancouver.... I need to get back some time soon.

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From: Alex Ball (Mar 21 2011, at 16:12)

What stretch(es) of Main are you thinking about? I'm looking at relocating to Vancouver; sane rent and diversity are very appealing traits in a neighbourhood, and I'd like to add it to the must-see list...

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From: Matt (Mar 23 2011, at 21:32)

Alex: The "hip" part of Main pretty much stretches from 8th all the way to 33rd these days, there are very few gaps without anything interesting to see that entire length. So if you want to be in the centre of it, anything affordable in that stretch would be good (my personal favourite but out probably be about 18th to 28th).

Of course the bus service along Main Street is VERY good, averaging 12 minute headways or less most of the day (I'm talking 7am-10pm) and even then I don't think it dips below 20 minute service until after 11:30pm. So anywhere along the street is a good place to live and very easy to access the rest.

I too can say I was in to The Main before it was hip, having spent all but the last 6 years of my life a block and a half from the street, and heading back to that same property in about a year (Thank you Gregor for legal laneway houses). It's definitely a neighbourhood people don't leave easily. :)

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