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Living in Dunbar

Point Grey, where I live, is right next door to Dunbar. So far as neighbours go, Dunbar is not a bad place to live beside. And, for families, it’s an excellent place to be. The playing fields, the proximity to Camosun Bog and Pacific Spirit Regional Park, and the predominance of detached homes create an idyllic place to raise a family.

The one drawback is that the three primary hubs of the Dunbar retail village have yet to host the number of apartments that similar areas in Kitsilano have. While the low-density character of the neighbourhood is attractive, more apartments would broaden the range of housing types available to new residents. This could infuse fresh vibrancy into an area known for a resilient, engaged neighbourhood character.

This character is best experienced in the numerous small shops, galleries and cafes along Dunbar Street, between West 16th and West 41st Avenue. The scale of the shops is a throwback to an earlier era in Vancouver’s history, providing intimate interiors where you get to know the shopkeepers and neighbours by name. This is one of the appeals of Stong’s Market, which – despite being one of the larger local merchants – has managed to cultivate a strong local following because it puts a premium on knowing its customers, and what they want.

Personally, I’ve enjoyed nights with friends at the English-style Cheshire Cheese Inn and coffee at the Blaq Sheep after cycling the trails of Pacific Spirit. I’ve lost friends inside Lawrence Books at the neighbourhood’s south end, something of a throwback in an age of e-readers and the Internet. Yet it survives, like the neighbourhood, precisely because it hearkens back to a simpler era.

I look forward to what the future holds for Dunbar. The area has seen a significant makeover of its single-family homes in recent years, something that’s provoked much debate. But the rejuvenations of the area, with its tree-lined streets and fragrant gardens, is giving it fresh appeal to a new generation of families. Transit connections are decent, making it convenient for students and young professionals, too. These are the people who will bring fresh life to the area.

Dunbar may not be the next Kitsilano – it’s too far from the beaches, and lacks the apartment stock – but if you’re looking for a genteel, family-oriented neighbourhood that’s more affordable than West Point Grey or Shaughnessy, this is it.

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The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.
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