In Grandview, a rapidly gentrifying “streetcar suburb” from the Vancouver of a century ago, I have a neighbour who’s an obstetrician – evidence of gentrification in itself, I suppose. She made the comment one day that she could deliver all of ‘her’ babies to their parents on her way home from BC Women’s on Oak Street on the edge of Shaughnessy.
I imagine her driving north and east, dropping off babies in Mount Pleasant, Cedar Cottage and Grandview. For readers unfamiliar with Vancouver’s geography, these are mixed areas with some apartments, but are mainly old wooden houses – many pre-World War I examples are large enough to be divided into suites. The majority have basement suites, at the very least. They are medium density neighbourhoods, I suppose, with very diverse populations; they’re the kind of Edwardian-era districts that a respondent on PriceTags yesterday suggested I had ‘sentimentalized’ in books like Vanishing Vancouver.
My question is, what kind of neighbourhood do parents look for when they’re starting or expanding families? I am witnessing stroller gridlock on the sidewalks here, and notice it in Mount Pleasant and Strathcona, as I used to see it several years ago in Kitsilano before the infants aged out of their prams. Obviously this requires financial horsepower, whether it’s their own cash from condos they’ve sold elsewhere, their own significant incomes, and El Banco de Los Parentos. But it’s totally changing the demographic here.
You see it on The Drive, too. When bong and bead shops close, chances are they will be replaced by a tidy shopfront selling children’s clothes and toys.
Thomas Beyer’s post of March 10th showed a range of maps including this one:
Is any reader clever enough to find data about the age of children in different neighbourhoods?
In my opinion, you could learn a lot about (young) peoples’ vision of an ideal neighbourbood by analyzing where they want to raise their families; it is a period of life when you’re both fragile yet optimistic and hopeful. The evidence, based on the pram count, is that Vancouver’s old neighbourhoods, close to shops like Main Street and The Drive, not too crowded, are as close to utopia as they can get.