Residential Vancouver

For tourists, Vancouver, BC looks like this picture-postcard scenery with mountains, sea and skyscrappers:


It shows Downtown Vancouver scattered with towers. Nevertheless, most of the city rather resembles that:

maisons à Vancouver maisons à Vancouver

Miles and miles of residential neighbourhood. A long series of facades, all similar. They must be impeccable. Lawns must be bright green and cut short. Appearance is important.

However the front door is not often used. We are in North America, in a car culture. People get around by car and you access the car via the back door that overlooks the alley.

ruelle à Vancouver

In Canada, an alley is a narrow street used by residents to drive home. This secondary street has no name. For example you can see the alley between 63rd and 64th Avenues on this satellite image from Google Maps:

ruelle à Vancouver (source : google map)

I walk the alleys and look at the backs of the houses which are less impersonal than the faces. There is a garage for the car or rather the cars. There is often a terrace.

maisons à Vancouver

The terrace is indispensable to Vancouverites’ favorite activity: the Sunday barbecue

maison à Vancouver

There is enough space to dry laundry and grow a few tomatoes.

maison à Vancouver maison à Vancouver

The back of the house is also used for storing garbage and sometimes hiding the mess.

maison à Vancouver maison à Vancouver

I look the houses and I wonder what kind of life their inhabitants live. Are they as conformist as their residences? Can a single-family house, which is a dream for many people, bring happiness? I rather imagine lives stuck in a never-changing routine. I would not be surprised if these polished facades accomodated some desperate houswives.


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One thought on “Residential Vancouver

  1. I dont know where you got those photos, or when, but the streets in Vancouver are not nice and wide and roomy, like those above. All the streets where I’ve lived in Kitsilano, Dunbar, Commercial, are those horrible narrow streets, where 2 cars cannot pass each other. Instead the cars are constantly fighting each other as to who will proceed, and who will have to wait.
    Some idiots at city hall, in the 1970’s decided to narrow the streets and plant trees. Now the trees are a huge expense, a nuisance, block out the sun for pedestrians, and rot the roofs of nearby houses.
    Now I live on 29th street in Dunbar in the 3800 block. Its pure hell everyday especially when school gets out because the busses and parents picking up children, on a single lane street, plugs up traffic everywhere.
    Also the local citizens have become largely such politically correct, environmental suck-holes, that they wouldn’t dare suggest that ‘maybe’ the streets should be widened, and the trees cut down. Instead they torture themselves everyday fighting the traffic. Anyway I’m happy now because I am moving next month to Coquitlam for good, where there is not a single, narrow, one-car, street.

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