The Downtown Eastside (DTES) is one of Vancouver's oldest neighbourhoods, and the historic heart of the city.
The DTES has many assets, especially for its low-income residents, who appreciate feeling accepted and at home, and benefit from living near health and social services. Many volunteers contribute countless hours to help improve the community and work for social justice.
In recent years, the Downtown Eastside has struggled with many complex challenges including drug use, crime, homelessness, housing issues, unemployment, and loss of businesses in the community.
This area has a community plan that was completed in 2014:
Discover the historic districts of Strathcona and the Downtown Eastside
Neighourhood history and heritage
The Downtown Eastside (DTES) encompassed two distinct areas within its boundaries. The original civic centre, centered around Main and Hastings with City Hall, the City Market, the Carnegie Public Library and numerous theatres, while farther east it was home to much of the original industry of the new city including the Hastings Mill. Along the waterfront of Burrard Inlet was, as today, the port.
The City is co-creating a Community Economic Development Strategy with Downtown Eastside communities to help meet the goals of the DTES Plan.
In the Downtown Eastside (DTES), there has been a call for more public toilets. Homelessness, drug addiction and mental illness place even more pressure on the limited resources that are available, and result in laneways being used as alternatives to public toilets. Great Beginnings teamed with community partner the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) to respond to this need.
A 2009 study by researchers at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia found that a small strip in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) was the most dangerous place for pedestrians in Vancouver and that 10% of all pedestrian injuries happen in this neighbourhood. Great Beginnings engaged with DTES residents to make the community safer for pedestrians.
Improving public spaces in the Downtown Eastside
This project will make it safer and easier for people to navigate the area along Powell St just west of Clark Dr. It will also expand and improve the rail network that supports cargo movement to and from Vancouver's port.