This article is about stories my clients have told me regarding leaving and returning to Vancouver’s Kitsilano.
We lived in kits for nearly three decades and just loved it but when we retired we decided to sell our Kitsilano house and move to Vancouver Island. After a year of living on the island we got lonesome for Kits and found ourselves taking the ferry back to Vancouver more often than we had thought we would. We stayed a reasonably priced Downtown Vancouver Hotel but after a year we decided this was not a good way to be spending our money, so we decided to buy a Kits condo and use it as our pied-a-terre. That was a year ago and we are delighted with our decision. We now live in our former neighbourhood and visit our favourite coffee shops and restaurants, whilst watching the Kits condo prices climb!
Kitsilano is west of Burrard Street, north of West 16th Avenue and east of Alma Street. It remains a quiet and low density neighbourhood, boasting an 89 Walkscore, excellent public transportation which we use when going Downtown or to other Vancouver neighbourhoods to visit friends. Sometimes we use the car share program. If you are a cyclist there are also many bike share places and bike lanes. You can hop a ride on the little ferry and buzz around False Creek.
Kits has some of the best water views in Vancouver, you can see the North Shore mountains all the way to Bowen Island and the city and English Bay beach. We never get tired of looking at it.
If you like beaches Kits Beach has been voted one of the top beaches in the world! It is so relaxing to walk along the beach, sit and read a book, take your dog for a walk or partake in various beach and water sports including kayaks, paddle boards and boating. There is also basketball and volleyball.
Our neighbourhood has over 350 restaurants including many fine world class dining, including Italian, French, Greek, Mexican, Japanese, Malaysian, Indian, Thai, Chinese, farm to table and vegetarian/vegan. We boast a wide selection of grocery stores including Whole Foods and Choices. Jacksons Meat store is a tradition. High end bakeries such as Beaucoup Bakery. Don’t forget to attend the Kits Farmers Market. Don’t forget Thomas Haas Chocolate. Then there’s the very cool Blue Martini Jazz Cafe which has live music. There’s no shortage of coffee shops.
Looking for a place to hang out after work and have a cocktail? Kits has many fine pubs, some with patios. The Billy Bishop on Kits Point has been around forever. Yew and York also have a good selection of eateries, including Starbucks. Grab a coffee and go sit on a bench on Kits Beach.
Then there’s the shopping which includes many fine quality boutique stores such as Gravity Pope and JNBY whose clothes is natural fabric. Looking for funky shoes? Drop by Miss Mooz. You can buy albums at Zulu which has been part of the Kitsilano neighbourhood since the hippie days. Kids Books on West Broadway is one of the best children’s book stores in Vancouver. Kits has many beautiful flower shops.
Looking to get pampered? Try one of Kits’ many spas. A long time tradition is the annual Honda Celebration of Light which puts on an amazing fireworks display at the end of July. Enjoy movies? Fifth Avenue Cinema now has a bar and features the latest movies. For Shakespeare fans there’s Bard on the Beach under the tent in Vanier Park every summer, featuring wonderful plays.
Another of our favourite activities is to visit all the Kits Parks – Vanier, which is on the waterfront and a lovely walk down Kits Beach to Granville Island. Then there’s Hadden Park, Connaught Park, McBride Park, Almond Park, Tatlow Park on Point Grey Road and Jean Beaty. You’ll see many people flying kites in Vanier Park.
Kits streets are named after trees – cypress, maple, laburnum, walnut, arbutus, yew, balsam. Some street names connect to English history – Trafalgar, Blenheim, Waterloo
Outdoor sports are very popular in Kits – swimming in Kits Pool in the summer, or in the ocean itself and enjoy its many beaches or a walk along the waterfront. The neighbourhood also has many gyms and yoga studios, and a wide variety of sports store equipment and clothing. Don’t forget the good selection of tennis courts of which the most popular is right at Kits Beach. Or you can join Jericho Tennis Club which is situated on the waterfront next to Royal Vancouver Yacht Club – should you wish to have the boating experience. Both clubs are over a century old.
Kits has a great history, dating back to the early 1800s. It was originally settled by the Squamish Nation whose Chief was named Khatsahlano. It was a wild rain forest, which was perfect for a lumber industry.
The oldest building in Vancouver is the Hastings Mill Store at Alma and Point Grey Road. It was opened as a museum in this location in 1931 when it was moved from Gastown and boasts many artifacts from ye olde Vancouver in the 1800s. Are you a museum lover? Visit Vancouver Maritime Musuem, HR MacMillan Space Centre, Vancouver Archives.
If you work Downtown or at UBC, it’s a quick commute.
Regarding your options for real estate, Kits has it all! Houses, townhomes, half duplexes and an assortment of condos of which some were built as far back as the 1970s.
Contact Maggie Chandler and put my hyper-local Kitsilano knowledge to work for you!