No neighbourhood has changed as dramatically as False Creek South, one of the largest urban redevelopment projects in North America. And the transformation of this area continues long after the initial vision of the 70s, 80s and 90s.
The attempt to create a choice waterfront living space here began in the early 1970s when a steaming brew of industrial wasteland was transformed into a park-like development of strata-council apartments, co-operatives and live-aboard marinas.
This contributed to the runaway success of Granville Island, 15 hectares (37 acres) of public markets, craft shops, artisan studios, theatres and water-view bars and restaurants. For Vancouverites, Granville Island is to weekends what butter is to croissants.
Condos and townhouses were added to the area throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, notably on the Fairview Slope, which forms the southern edge of the False Creek bowl. In an astonishing range of architectural styles and colours, False Creek is now one of the city’s most desirable areas for residents and day-trippers alike. Mini ferries link the two shores, and boat charters, kayak rentals and dinner cruises are available for those who want to travel further a field.
And now with the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, the False Creek South area is once again seeing a huge transformation. Where light industrial manufacturing and low-slung warehouses once were, the area between Science World in the East and Granville Island on the West is seeing the erection of the new Olympic Village. Once completed the Village will house the world’s athletes through the games and become a combination of market and social housing after.
And to help connect the new Olympic Village (and the resulting condo developments) to the Granville Island scene the City of Vancouver is currently working on a test of a new streetcar or light rail transit along the existing rail lines in the area. The plan is to connect this streetcar to the new Skytrain line at the newly constructed Olympic Village.