Known colloquially as "Kits", this neighborhood is home to many young families and students as well as yoga studios, organic markets, cafes and Vancouver's Greektown. The primary type of residence is multi-unit housing. In recent years, this area has developed some of the highest housing prices, as well as the some of the highest accommodation rental rates, yet lowest availability in Vancouver.
Kitsilano is bordered to the north by two beaches, Kitsilano Beach and Jericho Beach on the shores of English Bay and extends south to 16th Avenue. It is bordered on the east by Burrard Street and on the west by Alma Street.
In addition to its residential areas and beaches, Kitsilano is home to two distinct commercial strips with shops, restaurants and other services. The first is along West 4th Avenue between Burrard and Balsam Streets, while the other, sometimes known as West Kitsilano, is located along West Broadway between Larch and Blenheim Streets.
As of 2006, Kitsilano is situated mostly within the Canadian federal electoral district of Vancouver Quadra (the easternmost part of Kitsilano lies within the electoral district of Vancouver Centre). Provincially, Kitsilano lies within the B.C. electoral districts of Vancouver-Point Grey and Vancouver-Fairview.
The name 'Kitsilano' is derived from 'Xats'alanexw', the name of a Sḵwxwú7mesh chief. The area has been home to the Sḵwxwú7mesh (usually known in English as the Squamish) for thousands of years. There is still a small amount of Indian reserve land at the foot of the Burrard Street Bridge, called senakw (usually spelled Snauq historically) in the Sḵwxwú7mesh language, where Xats'alanexw, also known as August Jack Khatsahlano, lived.
The city's streetcar lines used to have a "loop" at Arbutus & Cornwall, which made "Greer's Beach", as the area first became known after the holdout settler who lived there, easy to get to from the new city, then still mostly contained on the downtown peninsula. With the opening of the Lulu Island Railway interurban line from Granville & Pacific to Richmond via Seventh Avenue and Arbutus Street to Kerrisdale in the 1890s, more of Kits was put within easy range of downtown and housing and commercial areas carved out of the forests and swamp. The lowland area beyond MacDonald, from 4th Avenue to King Edward, was known as Malaria Flats because of its swampy air. Like most of Vancouver, it had only a few decades before been covered in dense West Coast forest.
The area was an inexpensive neighbourhood to live in the 1960s and attracted many from the counterculture from across Canada and the United States and was known as one of the two hotbeds of the hippie culture in the city, the other being Gastown. However, the area became gentrified by 'yuppies' in subsequent decades. Close proximity to downtown Vancouver, walking distance to parks, beaches and popular Granville Island has made the neighborhood a very desirable community to live. One of the main concert venues in the city in the days of the counterculture was the Hard Rock Cafe, near 4th and Maple, later rebuilt into a modern shopping complex containing a new Soft Rock Cafe, the location of which is now a gym, Kitsilano Workout.
One remaining artifact of the 1960s is the Naam Cafe at 4th and Macdonald, providing vegetarian, vegan, and natural foods. The area is also known for having the first of certain kinds of restaurants, such as the California-style Topanga Cafe. Three of the first neighbourhood pub licenses in Vancouver are still located on 4th Avenue - Bimini's at Maple (Currently closed due to fire, as of Oct. 01st 2007), Darby D. Dawes at MacDonald, and Jerry's Cove - the original name of Jericho - near Alma.
Greenpeace was founded in Kitsilano, with its first office opening there on Cypress Street just off Broadway in 1975. The first offices of the Green Party of British Columbia were originally located in the home of longtime party leader Adriane Carr and her husband Paul George on Trafalgar Street, near 6th, in early 1983, before being moved by the summer of that year to offices near Broadway and Cypress, which also became the first offices of the Green Party of Canada.
As of 2006, Kitsilano has 40,595 people, a 2.5% increase from 2001. 12.6% of the population is under the age of 19; 45.3% is between 20 and 39; 33.1% is between 40 and 64; and 9.1% is 65 or older. 75.0% of Kitsilano residents speak English as a first language, 4.5% speak a Chinese language, and 3.2% speak French as a first language. The median household income is $53,455, and 21.3% of its population lives in low-income households. Its unemployment rate is 4.2%. 
Kitsilano is home to a number of Vancouver's annual festivals and events:
Along with the Commercial Drive area on the East Side of Vancouver, Kitsilano is one of the main centers of artistic production in Vancouver (and Canada). Well known artists and writers who have lived in Kitsilano include the following:
The Kitsilano Showboat has been operating since 1935. The showboat is essentially an open-air amphitheatre with the ocean and mountains as a backdrop. All summer long, the showboat hosts free performances from local bands, dance groups, and other performers. Its main goal is to entertain residents and tourists, showcasing amateur talent. It is located on the south side of the Kitsilano pool along Cornwall Avenue. Weather permitting, shows typically start at 7:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays.
Beatrice Leinbach, or Captain Bea, has been playing an active role in maintaining the showboat since the mid 1940s. As of 2006, she is the president of the non-profit Kitsilano Showboat Society.
Busy Macdonald Street and some quiet, leafy adjoining streets still have some 1910s-1920s craftsman houses that cannot be found anywhere else in Vancouver. According to Exploring Vancouver, an architectural guide to the city,
"Kitsilano developed as a less expensive suburban alternative to the West End. Endless rows of developer-built houses lined the grid of streets, their gabled roofs picturesque and not boring. Many (...) resemble West End houses of preceding years, but have the wider proportions, broad verandahs, and wood brackets popularized by the newer and trendier California bungalow."
Kitsilano (often referred to simply as Kits) is the northern part of the Vancouver west side. In the 1960s it was a neighborhood where hippies "tuned in and dropped out" but today it has some of Vancouver's most expensive properties. It is situated right on the beach and very close to downtown.
Technically Kitsilano is the neighborhood between Burrard and Alma, from the beach to 12th Avenue. For the purposes of this guide we will also include the northern half of western Vancouver, from about King Edward Street Ave in the south to the water in the north, and from Alma Street in the west to Fir Street in the east, in the "Kitsilano area". This includes the neighborhoods of Kitsilano, West Point Grey and portions of Dunbar and Arbutus Ridge. To the west and south is UBC and South Vancouver, to the east is South Granville, and to the north, across the Burrard bridge, is Downtown.
Kitsilano is well served by Vancouver's bus system. A few good buses to get around the area:
Bus fare travelling in and around Kits would be $2.50, whether travelling one stop or from end to end.
It is also possible to take little aquabuses from a number of locations on the downtown side of False Creek to the dock at the Maritime Museum on Kits Point.
There are a trio of museums in Vanier Park on Kits Point, the peninsula forming the mouth of False Creek just west of the Burrard Street bridge. There is some free parking in front of the Space Centre, and it's an easy walk from Translink bus #2 and #22 at Cornwall and Cypress streets. You can also walk down from the 4th avenue buses (such as #4), or over from Granville Island about 1000m away.
An ExplorePass offers admission to the Vancouver Museum, the Vancouver Maritime Museum, and the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre for $30 (adults), $24 (students), including tax.
4th Avenue formerly had many different eclectic shops, but now features more mainstream retailers. Compared to decades past 4th Avenue is now a bland strip similar in appearance to any strip mall anywhere, stores with bare cement walls/floors predominate. Street parking can be challenging along 4th Avenue. There is an underground parking lot in the 2200 block under Capers Market (east of Safeway).
Broadway makes for nice walking and shopping and has mature trees that line the street. It's here that you will find the heart of the Greek community, featuring several Greek bakeries, coffee shops and restaurants.
Dunbar is a local shopping area along Dunbar Street south of 16th Avenue. There is also a cluster of shops at along Alma Street between 10th Avenue and Broadway, and another cluster at Alma Street and 4th Avenue. The Point Grey shopping district stretches along 10th Avenue from Alma up the hill to Blanca, on the border with UBC.
The Kitsilano area has one of the highest densities of restaurants you will find anywhere. There are a huge number of restaurants of virtually every ethnic food you could imagine. Most of them are along 4th Avenue, Yew Street, Broadway or Cornwall Ave.
There are a few nightclubs in Kits, but most of the nightclubs in Vancouver are Downtown.
There are few lodgings in the Kitsilano area. People tend to stay Downtown.
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