Since we toured the Central Lonsdale village in January 2013, the area has taken on much more of a big-city feel.
Controversy over tower development around Lonsdale village divided the residents of the City of North Vancouver in the November 2014 municipal election. The incumbent pro-development mayor, Darrell Mussato, was returned with just 52.5 per cent of the vote, but landed a full slate of council supporters. In my view, this part of Lonsdale Avenue is turning into one of the finest urban high streets in Western Canada, and the pedestrian traffic on the pavements tends to prove that — with the qualifier that the competition, looking out to Surrey, Calgary and Regina, is sparse.
I visited recently with co-tourist Robert J. Smarz, and we spent a nostalgic moment gazing at a townhome he owned for a time when he was young and carefree. We found new shops and restaurants on the high street, some testifying to the relative affluence on Metro Vancouver’s North Shore. I have never paid so much for cheese. We noticed that tower development has been kept to the side streets, so that much of Lonsdale itself retains an old-timey single-story look, and (for now, at least) a balance of local, independently owned businesses.
We ate lunch at the Jack Lonsdale pub, and the food and the beer was fine. The service was memorably bad, with three twenty-year-old employees drifting about the mostly empty space in a collective trance. In my experience this speaks to indifference on the part of the owners, which is bizarre given that the Jack Lonsdale has just undergone a top-to-bottom facelift.