Monday, July 23, 2012
In 1902, Commercial Drive was known as Park Drive since it led to Clark Park, which at that time marked Vancouver's southern border.
H.V. Edmonds, Mayor David Oppenheimer and others started the Vancouver-New Westminster Interurban railway and this street was part of it. The rail line generated so much traffic that South Vancouver merged Cedar Cottage Road, Edmund Street and Norfolk Road into Commercial Street in 1910.
In 1982, there was a proposal to rename the street Via Garibaldi in recognition of the area's Italian population and honoring the revolutionary patriot Giusseppe Garibaldi. However, due to the expense, the idea was quashed. As well, there is a Garibaldi Drive in Champlain Heights.
I live in this area and I know first had that "The Drive" is a magnet for our city's counter cultural activity, political statements, unique shops and restaurants. If you go for a walk along Commercial Drive, you will see panhandlers, artists displaying their wares, second hand merchandise spread out and being sold. There is money here and there is poverty.
Thanks to the extensive logging of the area's forest - beginning in 1871 - a view to False Creek, which at that time reached today's Clark Drive, could be seen. Today, the downtown core of Vancouver shines brightly on a sunny day.
This little village grew quickly when the interurban line to New Westminster was completed in 1892. Its main growth happened after Professor Edward Odlum built his home on Grant in 1904.
So Grandview became a middle class area.
In the years after World War II, Vancouver's Italian population left the area around Union Street and settled in Grandview, giving the area the nickname "Little Italy".
Karen Magill, Vancouver, Grandview, Commercial Drive, Park Drive, British Columbia