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Britannia Renewal

We are working with our partners to renew and revitalize Britannia Community Services Centre and the larger Britannia site.

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Grandview-Woodland is an ethnically diverse area full of eclectic charm and character. One of Grandview-Woodland's most popular attractions is Commercial Drive, known as The Drive by locals, which is a mix of old-world charm meets modern hipness, and one of the city's organic-food hubs. Grandview-Woodland is in the northeastern section of the city, east of the historic neighbourhoods, Chinatown and Strathcona, and west of the Pacific National Exhibition fairgrounds, at Hastings Park. The Grandview-Woodland area extends south to Trout Lake, a beautiful urban lake and park.

Neighbourhood history and heritage

Grandview might have remained a wilderness of stumps (it was logged off in the 1880s) if not for the Vancouver-New Westminster interurban railway which opened in September 1891; the same year the area's first house was built. It had hourly runs from Carrall and Hastings Streets along Park Drive (Commercial Drive). Construction of 2nd and 3rd Avenues, between Clark and Woodland, by chain gangs from the Powell Street jail in the late 1890s opened the area for development. Arrival of the city water system along Commercial Drive in 1904 allowed for more expansion.


Early settlement years saw business activity centre on Park (Commercial) Drive while industry claimed the area's northern fringe (largely influenced by the CPR line and the Port). In the early 1900's, "Park Drive" was renamed "Commercial Drive", and "9th Avenue" became "Broadway".After 1912, building in the area slowed due to a city-wide recession, and a new political and economic focus centered on westside neighbourhoods such as Kitsilano, Point Grey, and Shaughnessy.

Transportation has always played a central role in the areas history: in its origins, development and focus for community action. As early as 1907 residents organized to have Park Drive improved so children would not have to walk along rail lines to school. Ratepayers rejected the First Avenue viaduct three times before agreeing in 1934.

In the 1950s residents complained of: improper lighting, crumbling streets, poor drainage, no library and poorly equipped schools. The trolley tracks on Commercial Drive were replaced with new blacktop and brighter street lights in 1954. Motor buses took over from the electric trolleys. A library did not arrive until the 1970s.

The Britannia Community Services Centre was one of North America's largest facilities when it was built in 1975. Carefully planned not to overwhelm the neighbourhood, its innovative design integrated recreation, learning and social facilities to provide services to a very mixed population. The 1970s also saw residents join the successful lobby to prevent the construction of a freeway down Venables Street through to Downtown. The 1980s saw the arrival of Skytrain in the area.

The face of the community changed after the First World War when Italian, Chinese, and East European immigrants arrived in the area. After World War II, a second wave of Italian immigrants made the area home. They renovated old houses and noticeably changed the look of Commercial Drive with new shops and restaurants. Grandview's Chinese residents increased in numbers in the 1950s and 1960s as some of the earlier Italian and East European residents moved on to other neighbourhoods. In the late 1960s, Grandview's first East Indian residents also made the community home.

Did you know?

  • It is said the area's name originated around 1892, when one of the earliest residents nailed up the sign "Grand View" at the interurban stop near what today is the intersection of Commercial Drive and 1st Avenue.
  • Originally called Park Drive, because it headed straight to Clark Park at 14th Avenue, Commercial Drive was renamed in 1911.
  • Grandview became known as "Little Italy" after the Second World War, when the original Italian community near Union Street moved east and was joined by new immigrants from Italy.




Grandview-Woodland is characterized by a mix of buildings. Elaborate houses on large corner lots sit next to cottages on narrow ones.The largest houses date from the late 1890's and early 1900's, when Grandview-Woodland was initially promoted as a prestigious residential area. Several wealthy Vancouverites, including Professor Edward Odlum, Alderman J.J. Miller, and realtor Captain W.H. Copp, built in the area.

See detailed information on the city's heritage and a complete list of heritage buildings.

Additional information is available through the City of Vancouver Archives.


Initiatives in Grandview-Woodland

Grandview plan

Grandview-Woodland community plan

The Grandview-Woodland Community Plan sets out a thoughtfully-managed framework for future change and anticipated population growth of about 10,000 people over the next three decades.

Grandview-Woodland community profile

Learn about the key issues and aspects of Grandview-Woodland that contribute to its unique character.

Get the profile

Road closures and construction

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

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

Vancouver supports and promotes growing local food, through community gardens and other urban agriculture initiatives, promoting sustainability, and building stronger communities.

Broadway Extension

Our top transportation priority is extending the Millennium Line along Broadway to connect jobs and innovation hubs.