Kerrisdale, vaguely defined

Fraseropolis W 41 Kerrisdale

Classic one-story shopfronts on West 41 Avenue,  February 2019

This is an urban village with extensive services, a large stock of apartment housing, some of it pre-1960, and elegant streets with fine detached homes — as you would expect on the west side of Vancouver.  In case you’re interested, the detached homes currently sell for between $2,000,000 and $4,000,000, even with the recent subsidence in the luxury housing market related to foreign buyer taxes, speculation taxes, money-laundering investigations and the like.

Fraseropolis Kerrisdale redevelopment

A two-storey commercial building on the West Boulevard, possibly 1930s, set for demolition and redevelopment

Residential and commercial properties on the main streets are under redevelopment pressure with new condos on the southern arterial and visible retail turnover. There is an influx of shops catering to Asians; this does not necessarily mean big money, but it might when there are large number of expensive cars parked on the streets, and expensively dressed 40ish couples of all ethnic types pushing baby strollers. The City website does not show a neighbourhood plan; there’s a 2005 “vision” document for a wide area that includes Kerrisdale, basically a wish list based on conversations with residents, but it doesn’t provide insight on what’s happening now.

The City’s website links to an interesting set of Kerrisdale demographics from the 2016 federal census, although it provides no hint on where Kerrisdale’s boundaries lie. Wikipedia says the City’s definition of Kerrisdale is counter-intuitive, including maybe half of what the visitor sees on the ground.  I can’t verify that. Let’s assume that the census numbers have some value as a guide. They show a population of 14,000 — a smaller number than in in 2011, perhaps as the postwar male incomers die off — with only 50 per cent reporting English as their mother tongue compared with 35 per cent Chinese.  A third of this population are renters.

Co-tourist Robert Smarz and I visited Kerrisdale twice in early 2019. On the second visit we approached from the north on the Arbutus Greenway, a multi-use pathway and linear park reclaimed by the City from Canadian Pacific Railway after lengthy and undignified bickering. The sidewalks on the two commercial streets are lively on a Saturday morning and the shopfronts are engaging. The traffic, in this setting is too heavy and too fast. We saw plenty of opportunities for coffee, but saw nothing that appealed to us for lunch, so we retreated on both occasions to a pub in North Delta for beer and sausages.

Fraseropolis Kerrisdale demoviction


The southwest and northwest quadrants of Kerrisdale feature mid-rise apartment towers from the 1960s and ’70s, echoing the feel of Vancouver’s West Side near Stanley Park. Further east there are older and more modest rental buildings, part of the cross-Canada wave of 1950s rental construction.  Bob and I were a bit distressed to see redevelopment signs on buildings along the East Boulevard, indicating that the old affordable units will soon be replaced by fewer, larger, owner-occupied apartments. The City of Vancouver has been a leader in encouraging the development of new rental housing, but I am concerned that the residents of these Kerrisdale units will simply be put out onto the street, as they would be in most other parts of the Metro Vancouver region.

[This is post #41 in the our Urban Villages series.]


Fraseropolis Arbutus Greenway

The Arbutus Greenway, seen from the 45 Avenue crossing

Fraseropolis Kerrisdale apartments

1960s-era apartment buildings on the west side of Kerrisdale

Fraseropolis Kerrisdale townhomes

Fraseropolis Kerrisdale houses

Fraseropolis Kerrisdale Balsam

Homage to San Francisco at West 41 and Balsam

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: