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Vancouver's Yaletown Guide

By Edited Apr 20, 2014 0 0

The district of Yaletown in Vancouver BC is a trendy neighborhood of tall residential towers paired with funky renovated old warehouses converted into trendy eateries and upscale offices.  Yaletown took on the name of the now much smaller Yale in the Fraser Canyon when the CPR moved its works yards to the end of the line in Vancouver from their temporary base in Yale.

Yaletown's original core consists of low rise brick buildings that once served as rail served distribution warehouses and factories.  Ranging from 2 to 5 stories tall , many Yaletown turn of the last century buildings have been converted and renovated to preserve the brick walls and heavy timber beams while adding curtains of glass and steel accentuating the industrial character of the district.  The old loading docks were saved from removal and now serve as wide elevated sidewalks and outdoor patios for cafes and bars. Along with fine and casual dining, Yaletown boosts many bars, high-end retail and boutique shops catering to all (expensive) tastes.

Trains coming to the railyards and the historic roundhouse used to deliver railcars to these old warehouses, but the advent of better highways and trucks brought an end to moving general merchandise by rail.  The loading docks were not configured for semi-trailers and the city streets not conducive to large trucks so Yaletown's industrial and distribution business shifted to new highway accessible buildings outside the downtown Vancouver core.  Yaletown went into decline.

Expo 86 changed everything for Yaletown.  The World's Fair saw the tracks removed, the waterfront area flattened out and temporary structures erected for the millions of tourists that visited Vancouver in 1986 for the world's fair.  Once the fair was over, Concord Pacific started building new residential towers on the edge of Yaletown.  Developers snatched up the old warehouses and converted the buildings to dining, offices and retail uses.  The Roundhouse, used in the World's Fair for an exhibit hall saw a rebirth as a multi-use community center to anchor the Yaletown neighborhood.  David Lam Park was developed as a recreation area along the water and the new seawall path attracted young fit residents to the Yaletown neighborhood.

The old part of Yaletown centers on Hamilton and Mainland Streets, plus the Roundhouse Community Center. Additonal older buildings can be found Cambie and adjacent streets.

In contrast to the rejuvenated brick warehouses, skyscrapers of glass and steel provide homes to thousands of Vancouver residents all around the historic district.  These residential towers come with all the latest amenities - almost always a fitness room, Yoga space and often hot tubs, pools, movie theaters, guest suites and even squash courts.  The amenities and the views over False Creek abound in the Yaletown buildings.

Examples of the residential projects in Yaletown include The Max (two towers), Aquarius Mews (4 towers), Yaletown Park Towers (3 towers), West One (attached to the amazing Club Viva) and many more.  

The Yaletown/Roundhouse Skytrain Canada Line station serves the Yaletown area.  City buses come through the area, and two scheduled water taxis provide an easy way to move up and down False Creek. 




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