Aerial photo of the site at 501-533 Powell St in the Oppenheimer District of the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood

501-533 Powell St Community Economic Development Hub: in-depth

Supporting low-income artists

As part of the CED Hub, we're also considering how to support low-income artists at Pigeon Park through community-based arts- and cultural events.

To do this, we're working with cultural organizations to develop a plan based on the 2006 DTES Public Realm Program Plan.

That community-based planning process was designed to bring forward arts program- and event ideas for the DTES public realm.

This work will help the DTES Street Market transition to the CED Hub.

Our plan for the hub

We aim to:

  1. Provide additional safe vending opportunities for street vendors
  2. Connect DTES residents with social enterprises in the neighbourhood
  3. Encourage connections between street vendors and available social services
  4. Enable new opportunities for community capacity-building like providing more:
    • Maker spaces and garden spaces for people to create, grow, invent, and learn
    • Opportunities for art-making
  5. Connect DTES residents to supportive and green opportunities, like sustainably growing and accessing safe, healthy, and culturally-appropriate food
  6. Provide – in the next few years – social housing on upper floors and accessible, low-barrier economic activity and amenities on the ground floor

How the hub links to the DTES Plan

Local economy

The 2014 DTES Plan identifies the need for a permanent, legal, and safe vending site, like the CED Hub, for the street market to operate.

For low-income residents, the plan prioritizes economic development through social enterprise, local hiring, and providing opportunities for those in the survival economy.

Street vending is an important part of the survival economy, along with binning for recyclables.

Many residents receive social assistance – $610 per month for a single person – and need to supplement these earnings with vending, volunteering, and sharing.

While the DTES has many assets in its people and businesses, it also has the:

  • Highest unemployment rate in the city (13 per cent compared to six)
  • Lowest median income per household ($13,500 per year)

Over 5,000 people were consulted during the creation of the DTES Plan, including residents from all backgrounds.

Most supported the plan's directions for the local economy, including the survival economy.


The hub's future social housing component will help meet the plan's objective to create 4,400 new social housing units in the DTES in thirty years.

Events leading up to this project

Date Event 
2015  We consider viable legal vending options and scope options for vending sites to secure a permanent market site in the DTES. We also identify the need for vendor connections to outreach and programming, and referral to social enterprises.
2014 The DTES Street Market Association improves market security and management with vendor registration, security guards, and additional volunteers.
2014 A court decision rules in our favour, stating that our street vending bylaw doesn't violate the constitutional rights of street vendors.
2014  The DTES Social Impact Assessment describes the need for informal economies in vulnerable populations.
2014  City Council approves the DTES Plan to guide positive change, development, and public benefits in the area. 
2012 The DTES Street Market Society operates 62 E Hastings as a tool library and maker space in partnership with Hastings Crossing BIA.
2010  We enable the street market on Carrall Street between Hastings and Cordova, in order to provide safe, legal vending for low-income DTES residents and prevent ticketing.
2009  We review our ticketing process after organizations complain about police enforcement of street vending bylaw in the DTES.