On June 30th I was invited to a tour of Strathcona a long standing Vancouver neighbourhood that’s ready for a comeback. The goal is to make the neighbourhood and East Hastings the most walkable street in Vancouver by 2021. For more information on Strathcona check out the Strathcona Business Improvement Association website.
The goal is an ambitious one but when you dive into the neighbourhood and tour around, you recognize both its potential and admire it’s history.
The Heatley Restaurant a popular live music spot in the neighbourhood is on the corner of the historic Heatley Block building built in 1931. The Heatley has been everything from a druggist, confectionary, burger bar, ice cream parlour, paint and hardware store. It has breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as DJ’s and live music almost every night of the week.
Strathcona is currently a home to some of Vancouver’s most popular craft breweries a hot commodity right now. These include Luppolo Brewing, Postmark Brewing and Strathcona Brewing where we dined on pizza and beer made at the brewery. It’s also home to Pat’s Pub, a popular live music venue which I have played and promoted many shows at. Pat’s will be promoting its Hastings Mill Brewing Company as well now and its beer is very good.
Art is a big focus of the neighbourhood with galleries as well as decorated tree planters and street murals. The street murals in Strathcona are nothing short of spectacular and while it’s tempting to think of them as graffiti they are actually designed to enhance the neighbourhood and combat taggers. My favourite was one that contains several characters from the original Transformers cartoon tv series from the 1980’s.
Over the summer, 4 pop up shops will be in Strathcona between June 23 and July 16. The one that caught our attention was the XCAPE VR Gaming pop up shop. We had a chance to try one game with the XCAPE team and we were sold. We’ll be doing a followup post with the XCAPE people regarding their virtual reality gaming.