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All about Kitsilano

Kitsilano is a unique neighborhood located on the west side of Greater Vancouver. Kitsilano is home to many professionals, young families and students as well as yoga studios and organic markets. The area is also considered home to the cultural “Greek Town” and boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Greater Vancouver. Along with Kits Beach and Jericho Beach, Kitsilano is home to some well known actors and actresses. Kitsilano is also well known for its variety of events that the area hosts during the summer.

History of Kitsilano

The word Kitsilano is derived from the native language “Xats'alanexw”, the name of a Squamish Chief. The area has been home to the S?wxwú7mesh (also known as the Squamish Natives) since the early 1800’s to start working in saw mills and other industrial buildings started by the early settlers. In the 1890’s, the forests and the swamps in the Kitsilano area were carved out to make way for residential and commercial buildings. With the introduction of the Lulu Island Railway which ran through the area, Kitsilano was easily accessible from what is known today as Downtown Vancouver. Since the 1890’s, Kitsilano is home to the prestigious Vancouver Lawn Tennis Club, which has attracted several successful Canadian Tennis players. The 1910’s-1920 saw many houses being built along McDonald Street. Known as the McDonald Street Heritage Houses, some of these houses still remain today and are considered to be the only houses of its kind in Vancouver.

The Kitsilano area was an inexpensive place to live during the early 1960’s. Therefore the area was transformed into a cultural neighborhood that was considered one of many hotbeds in Canada for hippies and similar cultural beliefs. However as the decades wore on the Kitsilano area, the area became extinct for the hippies and became an area for professional workers and urban residents. The area was a close walk to Downtown Vancouver and included several parks and beaches within walking distance of each other.

Several notable organizations were formed in the Kitsilano area. Greenpeace was founded in the Kitsilano area in 1970-1971, with its first office opening in the area on Broadway and Arbutus Street. Also the Green Party of British Columbia was originally located in the home of longtime party leader, Adrianne Carr and her husband Paul George.

Geography of Kitsilano

Kitsilano is bordered by Kits Beach and Jericho Beach to the north along the shore of English Bay. The borders of Kitsilano extend south to 16th avenue, Burrard Street to the east and Alma Street to the west. The main commercial strip of Kitsilano is located on West 4th ave between Burrard and Balsam Street, which many people refer to as West Kitsilano.