Downtown Eastside

Downtown Eastside

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.

Initiatives in Downtown Eastside

Community Economic Development Strategy

We are co-creating a Community Economic Development Strategy with Downtown Eastside communities to help meet the goals of the DTES Plan.

Toilet accessibility in the Downtown Eastside (DTES)

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.

Pedestrian safety in the Downtown Eastside (DTES)

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

Improving public spaces in the Downtown Eastside

Powell Street overpass project

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.

Downtown Eastside Community Vision Plan

A Community Vision Plan is the result of a comprehensive, collaborative local planning process.

Review the Downtown Eastside Community Vision Plan  (25 MB)

We support and fund these community resources

Road closures and construction

Find information about road closures and traffic delays due to road construction projects and special events in Vancouver.

Downtown Bus Service Review

The City of Vancouver is working with Translink to develop a short term vision for the bus network in the downtown core.

Explore public art

Discover our featured public art. Go on self-guided walking tours. Find public art by neighbourhood, artwork, or artist.

Grants and awards

View information on grants and funding for arts and culture, strong communities, and sustainability.

Growing food

Learn about how we support residents to grow food through community gardens and orchards, urban farming, backyard hens, and honey beekeeping.