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Love Where You Live: Commercial Drive

Love Where You Live: Commercial Drive

mural on commercial drive, vancouver

It’s Valentine’s Day, so today more than ever, we’re all about helping you love where you live. Our contributor Michelle Carchrae shares a love letter to her Commercial Drive neighbourhood, all about what makes it (and the whole city, really) a great place for families.

Love Where You Live: A Letter to Commercial Drive

Dear Commercial Drive,

We’ve been together five years now, and I just want to tell you how glad I am that I’ve been with you all this time. I love everything you have to offer – shops, organic groceries, a community centre and several playgrounds. My kids and I walk all over you and we never have to use the car to run our regular errands. It’s so great.

When I first arrived in Vancouver as a young mom with a one-month-old baby, my husband and I looked at a few apartments in different neighbourhoods while we tried to decide where we should set up house with our growing family. The first time we came to visit you, Commerical Drive, I thought it wasn’t going to work out between us. I looked around and saw hippies with long dreads and guys playing steel drums on the street, and I thought living here would remind me of my pre-kid party life. I was afraid I’d be miserable thinking of all the great events I wasn’t going to be able to go out to.

But then I looked closer and saw the parents pushing their babies on the swings, and noticed how many houses had strollers parked on their porches, and how many greengrocers there were to choose from, and I realized that my hangups were more about me than you. When we drove past the amazing house that was for rent, I knew this neighbourhood was perfect for us. We moved in and have stayed ever since. In fact, we’ve lived here longer than any other house my husband and I have ever lived in together.

It turned out that the party atmosphere that I was worried about is one of the things I love best about you. There is a party in the streets all year round, from the Winter Solstice Festival to the Car-Free Day in the height of the summer. There are costumes and music and dancing to be had, and the best part is that the kids are welcome too. There is a real sense of community here, the same friendly faces at every event. Parents talk to each other at the playgrounds. Instead of being a regular at the bar, I’m a regular at the swings, and I’ve gotten to know more people around the sandbox than I ever expected to.

It’s not all rainbows and unicorns, of course. Sometimes there are machete-wielding weirdos on the street. There is a decidedly gritty, urban feel sometimes. But the vibe is almost always an accepting, live-and-let-live one. We all share the streets, parks and library, and for the most part, everybody gets along.

Thanks for being there for us, Commerical Drive. You’re fun and quirky and strange sometimes, and I love that about you.

Yours always,

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