A District of Vancouver
North America > Canada > British Columbia > Lower Mainland > Vancouver > Vancouver/Commercial Dr-Hastings Park

Commercial Drive-Hastings Park makes up part of "East Vancouver" (or East Van). Its main draw is Commercial Drive (known locally as The Drive), which is one of the most interesting areas of Vancouver in terms of ethnic and culinary diversity. There is also a strong artistic and activist community located in the Commercial Drive area. For the purposes of this guide, the district covers everything from Gore St in the west to Burnaby in the east, and everything from the Burrard Inlet in the north to King Edward Ave/25th Ave in the south.

Understand edit

East Van is traditionally the more working-class area of Vancouver. However, the area has become more gentrified as the Vancouver housing market develops.

Get in edit

See Vancouver for options to get in the Vancouver area by plane, by bus, and by train, and by boat.

By car edit

Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway) passes through East Vancouver heading east from West Vancouver via North Vancouver, and heading west from Surrey via Burnaby.

Get around edit

Map of Vancouver/Commercial Dr-Hastings Park

By public transit edit

TransLink, +1-604-953-3333. The main public transit network in the Vancouver area, including: Bowen Island, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Delta, Langley, Lions Bay, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Port Moody, Richmond, Surrey, Vancouver, West Vancouver, and White Rock. Its network includes buses, SkyTrain (rail rapid transit), SeaBus (ferries), West Coast Express (commuter rail), and HandyDART (door-to-door shared-ride service for those who cannot ride public transit without assistance).    

 Passengers can pay for fares using Compass Cards ($6 refundable deposit), Compass Tickets, or tap-to-pay using contactless credit cards (only American Express, Mastercard or Visa) or mobile wallets. Passengers using Compass Cards and Compass Tickets pay discounted fares. Passengers can transfer for up to 90 minutes, except if taking West Coast Express, in which case they can transfer for up to 120 minutes. On bus and HandyDART, passengers can also pay in cash, but in that case will not receive change and are not eligible for transfers.  Zone based fares apply between Monday and Friday for trips starting before 6:30 pm, if travel involves SkyTrain or SeaBus. Outside of those hours or for travel on only bus or HandyDART, a single zone rate applies. If traveling by West Coast Express, a higher cost zone based fare system applies regardless of time of travel. Children 12 and under can ride for free. People aged 13 to 18, and 65 and older pay discounted concession fares.

By SkyTrain edit

SkyTrain has a number of stations within the district. The main stop is Broadway/Commercial Drive station, which is close to the heart of Commercial Drive and has connections to bus routes. Broadway/Commercial Drive station serves SkyTrain's Expo Line and Millenium Line. The Expo Line connects to Vancouver's downtown, Gastown-Chinatown and Yaletown-False Creek, and beyond Vancouver to Burnaby, New Westminster, and Surrey. The Millenium Line connects to Burnaby, Coquitlam, and Port Moody.

By bus edit

There are a large number of bus routes servicing Commercial Drive-Hastings Park. The following are some of the most useful ones for getting in and around the district:

  • #9 runs the length of Broadway, connecting to UBC.
  • #14 & #16 share the same route along Granville Street then on Hastings Street. Both of these busses can be taken from Downtown Vancouver to the PNE.
  • #20 starts in the central business district and runs along Commercial Drive.
  • #135 travels between Burrard SkyTrain Station and Simon Fraser University. While in Vancouver, the 135 is an express bus and can be used to go to the PNE.
  • #99 B-Line is the express version of route #9.

By car edit

Driving is certainly doable, and likely faster than public transit, but it can be slow with the traffic and lights (remember, there are no expressways). Coming from the City Centre or Gastown-Chinatown, both Hastings St and Georgia St intersect with Main St, with Hastings continuing on to cross the district from east to west in the north end. Broadway or 12 Ave/Grandview Highway are good connectors if driving from Kitsilano or Mt Pleasant.

By bike edit

The Adanac bikeway (along Union St then Adanac St) goes from Downtown to the district, and connects to Burnaby's bike routes.

See edit

East Van Cross monument
  • 1 New Brighton Park, 3201 New Brighton Rd (head north on Commissioner St from McGill and make a left onto New Brighton Rd just before the checkpoint to the port), +1 604-298-1847 (pool). Good-sized park tucked on the shore of the Burrard Inlet between port facilities. It provides an interesting, grittier view of the North Shore mountains with the port facilities and Second Narrows Bridge in sight. Amenities include playing fields, a children's playground, a beach and a trail along the shore. There is also the New Brighton Pool, a heated outdoor pool that is usually open from the Victoria Day long weekend to Labour Day (late May to early Sept). The park is free, $3-6 for the pool.    
  • 2 Hastings Racecourse, 188 N Renfrew St (within Hastings Park enter at PNE Gate 6, off Renfrew St), +1 604-254-1631, . Horse racing on most weekends.    
  • 3 Momiji Garden (At the south-west side of the PNE.). Small Japanese garden built as an apology for Japanese internment. Free, except when the PNE is open during the second half of August.
  • 4 East Van Cross (East 6th Avenue at Clark Drive). This artwork installed in 2010, looks like a Christian cross, and is a reference is to the city’s Eastern half, which is traditionally less wealthy and harder-edged. Ironically almost half of Greater Vancouver residents identify as not having a religion, a fraction that is higher than any other large city in North America. This artwork is easily seen when looking south, while taking the SkyTrain Expo Line between Main Street-Science World station and Commercial-Broadway station. It is also a located a block east of VCC-Clark station on the SkyTrain Millenium Line.    

Do edit

Summer fun at Playland
  • 1 PNE (Pacific National Exhibition), 2901 E Hastings St (corner of Renfrew & E Hastings, parking is accessed from Renfew St and Bridgeway; from Hwy #1 take exit 26), +1 604-253-2311, fax: +1 604-251-7768, . Open daily from 11AM - late during the second half of August. Two week exhibition where extra rides and events are added to the usual Playland activities. Gate ticket $15, Ride ticket $27-40.    
  • 2 Playland at the PNE (at the PNE grounds), +1 604-253-2311, fax: +1 604-251-7768, . Open daily from late June through August and weekends only in May and September. Hours of operation are generally 10AM-6PM; during the PNE hours are from 11AM - late. Playland is a medium-sized amusement park, like something you may find at a U.S. county fair, and activities include a wooden rollercoaster, games, shows for kids and perhaps 20 or so other rides that spin, throw and hurl you in various ways. $20 if under 4 feet, $30 otherwise. Parents of kids under 12 pay $13.    
  • Parade of Lost Souls takes place around Halloween in the Commercial Drive area. It is free to go, and features live music, fire dancers, lots of costumed revellers. Under-advertised, but one of the biggest yearly festivals in Vancouver.

Learn edit

Buy edit

East Van has a wide variety of multicultural shopping districts.

  • A funky shopping area is Commercial Drive (also known by locals as "The Drive"), which was once was the city's Italian neighbourhood but which is now amazingly multicultural. Buskers, dogs, babies, pierced people, office workers, grocery shoppers share the Drive. The shops are relatively inexpensive and eclectic -- lots of coffee shops, tie-dye, toys, trinkets, and organic groceries. It's a great neighbourhood to live in because you can go out on foot and do all your shopping -- produce, cheese, sausage, stationery, pet food, hardware -- within just a few blocks. Commercial drive spans along Commercial Drive from approximately East 12th Avenue at the south end to Venables Street at the north end. 1 Commercial-Broadway station   (SkyTrain Expo Line and Millennium Line) is located near the southern end of this shopping area.
  • 1 East Hastings. Between Renfrew St and Clark Dr, especially east of Victoria Dr. Offers some of the best hidden delights in the city, including produce stores.
  • 2 Farmers' Market at Trout Lake. There are a few farmers markets that occur in Vancouver, but this is the first, and probably the best. It is only open on Saturday mornings and only in the summer and the last market day of the year is around Canadian Thanksgiving (early Oct).
  • 3 Taiga Works, 3454 Bridgeway St, +1 604-875-6647. M-Sa 10AM-5:30PM. Sells outdoors supplies.

Eat edit

The Commercial Drive area is blessed with a huge number of different restaurants, many of them drawn from cuisines all over the world and very reasonably priced. Walk a couple of kilometres along The Drive north from Broadway to Venables, and you will doubtlessly find something to match your taste and your wallet before you get to the end.

Budget edit

  • 1 Britannia Sushi, 1016 Commercial Dr, +1 604-251-1155. Su-Th 11:30AM-9:30PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-10PM. This might be the best deal on sushi in the city. $4.95 for an 18 piece combo (including yam rolls) with miso soup, or teriyaki box. Decent quality and decor.
  • 2 Samurai Sushi on Fraser, 6428 Fraser St (at 49th Ave), +1 604-676-4479. 11AM-9PM daily. Well known for having huge portions for small prices. Take out available. There is another location at 1108 Davie in the West End, which is open until midnight. $10.
  • 3 Bon's Off Broadway, 2451 Nanaimo St, +1 604-253-7242. Bon's has a great atmosphere and excellent prices including $3 breakfast all day: 2 eggs, toast, bacon or sausage, and hashbrowns. Less than $10.
  • 4 La Casa Gelato, 1033 Venables St (at Glen Dr), +1 604-251-3211. 11AM-11PM daily. This gelateria is a little off the beaten path, but the over 200 flavours will reward you!
  • 5 Ba Le, 701 Kingsway (at Fraser), +1 604-875-0088. 9AM-6PM daily. A Vietnamese sandwich shop that is rather out of the way for most tourists but it regularly wins local awards for sandwiches and has delicious Vietnamese subs (including a vegetarian one) for less than $8.

Mid-range edit

  • 6 Red Wagon Cafe, 2296 E Hastings St (at Nanaimo), +1 604-568-4565. M 8AM-3PM, Tu-F 8AM-9PM, Sa 9AM-9PM, Su 9AM-4PM (brunch). Small neighbourhood restaurant kind of like a country diner serving hearty portions of sandwiches, burgers and all day breakfast. It's probably best known for its pulled pork pancakes and sandwiches. Popular over lunch, so expect to wait for a table if arriving between noon and 1PM. $7-15.
  • 7 Tacofino, 2327 E Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V5L 1V6, +1 6042538226, . 11:30-22:00 everyday. Taco chain that began in Tofino but now has locations all over Vancouver, the hastings branch offers a hip vibe and a large selection of craft-beer. 6$ for a taco, 13$ for a burrito.

Splurge edit

Drink edit

  • 1 Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood Pub, 3728 Clark St (Kingsway and Clark, just off of Knight St), +1 604-876-1411. Su-Th 11AM-midnight, F-Sa 11AM-1AM. Upstairs is a funky little coffee house with lots of comfy seating, downstairs is a friendly pub, popular with a lot of local sports teams. There is a patio adjoining, with heat lamps for those cooler evenings. Friday nights are almost always packed. $10-16 mains.
  • 2 Odd Society Spirits, 1725 Powell St, +1 604-559-6745, . Th 1-7PM, F-Sa 1-10:30PM, Su 1-6PM. Microdistillery with their own cocktails. They offer a tasting with a sample of each of their different liquors as well as small tours. $11/drink.
  • 3 St. Augustine's Pub, 2360 Commercial Dr (corner of Commercial and N Grandview Hwy), +1 604-569-1911. Su-Th 11AM-1AM, F-Sa 11AM-2AM. A pub that takes its beer seriously. The two page beer menu features craft beers from across Canada and U.S. and there are live reports on how full each keg is. The food choices are pretty standard for a pub — burgers, sandwiches, pizza and finger foods — but it's well done. There are also a number of TVs for catching the game. $10-20 for food, $6-10 for the beer.

Breweries edit

East Van now has several microbreweries to choose from. Many have tasting rooms and offer growler fills. There's even a tourist map available for free at some of them.

  • 4 Bomber Brewing, 1488 Adanac St, +1 604-428-7457, . Noon-11PM daily. Microbrewery that offers flights, snacks and sells canned 6-packs of some of their beers. Offers small tours too.
  • 5 Parallel 49 Brewing, 1950 Triumph St, +1 604-558-2739, . Noon-11PM daily. Microbrewery.
  • 6 Powell Street Craft Brewery, 1357 Powell St, . M-Th noon-8PM, F-Sa noon-9PM, Su noon-7PM. Microbrewery that offers flights, snacks and growler fills.
  • 7 Storm Brewing, 310 Commercial Dr, +1 604-255-9119. Tu-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 1PM-6PM. Oldest microbrewery in Vancouver. They don't offer flights, but will give you tastings of anything one at a time for free (small donation suggested).
  • 8 Off the Rail Brewing, 1351 Adanac St, +1 604-563-5767. Su-Th noon-8PM, F-Sa noon-10PM. Microbrewery with a large number of beers and some snacks. They've begun offering pint cans of some of their beers and offer growler fills.

Sleep edit

Street art in alley by Commercial Dr.

For such a large area, there isn't much accommodation in East Van. It is mostly older and in the budget to mid-level price range. The biggest concentration of motels/hotels is along Kingsway.

  • 1 Atrium Inn, 2889 E Hastings St (at Renfrew), +1 604-254-1000, toll-free: +1-888-428-7486. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. Standard motel room with wireless internet in each room and a complimentary continental breakfast. Located on a busy street so traffic noise can sometimes be a problem. Will provide complimentary shuttle service to downtown and some nearby attractions (although space is limited). $150 and up, suites start around $240 (summer rates).
  • 2 The Waldorf Hotel, 1489 E Hastings St (between Commercial and Clark), +1 604-253-7141. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. The Waldorf is a creative hub in the heart of East Vancouver where contemporary art, music, food and culture convene under one roof. The programming for the space will be both artistically expansive and thematically inclusive. The complex consists of thirty rooms, two restaurants (Nuba Cafe and The Leeteg Dining Room), a Tiki bar (restored and retrofitted with a vintage analogue audiophile sound system), a hair salon (run by Barbarella Hair), a gift shop, a nightclub and a live music venue. In the works are a multi-media theatre space and recording studio (tied to a residency program for visiting musicians).The Waldorf joins a new wave of Vancouver businesses that are conversing with the city, setting a benchmark for culture and hospitality. $99-120.    

Connect edit

Go next edit

Routes through Commercial Dr-Hastings Park
NanaimoNorth Vancouver  W   E  BurnabyHope
Kitsilano-Granville IslandMount Pleasant  W   E  BurnabyHope
City CentreFalse Creek  W   E  BurnabySurrey
END  W   E  BurnabyCoquitlam

This district travel guide to Commercial Dr-Hastings Park has informative status. It has detailed information about getting in the district, attractions and has multiple places to eat and sleep. It can be used by anyone, but please feel free to improve and make it a guide article!