The lively 16-block area of Commercial Drive (between Broadway and Venables) is an enormously popular district with locals, but is often overlooked by tourists. The main reason for visitors to come here is to discover the most diverse mix of people, dining, shopping, and entertainment that Vancouver has to offer; in fact Commercial Drive might just be the most culturally diverse neighbourhood in Western Canada.

Any walk along 'The Drive', as it is known by Vancouverites, will quickly show you that there is an almost complete absence of chain stores and fast-food outlets, indeed the McDonalds went out of business and became a gym. Not that this will unduly concern you for too long as you will soon be open-mouthed at the abundance of culinary and shopping choices that this vibrant community has on offer.

If you fancy an ice-cream on Commercial Drive the selection, from the hundreds on offer, will include chili, Gorgonzola, or lavender. If you want a coffee, the options on Commercial Drive aren't small, medium, or large; they're Ethiopian, Vietnamese, or Cuban. There are numerous fruit and vegetable stores along 'The Drive' too, ideal if you want to buy supplies for a picnic.

Commercial Drive is easy to reach on the Skytrain. Get off at either Broadway or Commercial Drive stations and head towards the North Shore mountains. You may at first wonder if this rundown-looking area is the right place, but don't turn back. After a block or two you’ll begin to see shops, cafes, and restaurants that will pique your interest.


Traveler JulianJulian has written articles on Middle Eastern and European architecture for the US magazine Skipping Stones. He has written travel articles that were published in The Toronto Globe and Mail, Fate Magazine, National Catholic Register, and Northwest Travel. Julian has also written articles for the In The Know Traveler, Go Nomad, InTravelmag, and Go World Travel websites. He has also taken many photographs that have appeared in travel guides by National Geographic, Thomas Cook and The Rough Guides. Examples of his work can be found at