The Canadian Pacific Railway developed this well-to-do neighbourhood between 16th and 28th Avenues in 1907. Now expanded to 41st, Shaughnessy remains the city’s poshest subdivision, combining families from the city’s pioneering past with a smattering of Hollywood movie stars, renting for the duration of a local film shoot or adding a Shaughnessy mansion to their stable of swanky properties.
The area is an important Vancouver heritage landscape, with curving streets, generous lots, lush gardens and manicured properties that harken to a lost-era of stylish wealth. Architectural themes reflect Tudor England, Colonial America and Dutch settlements found along the Hudson River.
To walk or bike along Shaughnessy’s blossom-lined streets in spring is a story unto itself. The forest-like grove planted on the grassy oval formed by the Crescent represents nearly 50 different plant species. South Granville Street, also known as ‘The Rise’, from 16th south to Broadway, provides the area’s lively, upscale shopping options. The city’s leading gallery district carries off its sophisticated style with a blush of elan. That flair may be in the food, which everywhere you turn, is French-kissed. For contemporary French cuisine, there are few who match the talents of West Restaurant chef David Hawksworth. But taste treats with a Gallic influence are also available in smaller bites, from quick crepes to omeletes and sandwiches tucked into fresh baguettes. Complete picnic fare is also available at the local grocery emporium.
Well sated, one can explore the myriad showrooms displaying imported treasures of multiple Asian heritages, or languidly gaze at exhibitions of local artisans both known and new. Treasures from the past are also well represented in the antique shops whose wares tend to be more Edwardian than eclectic. For those with a decorative bent that is more personal, outstanding smiths craft and vend jeweled creations that range from high modern to classic and contemporary. High fashion outlets and home decor emporiums reside side by side each with the low slung walk-ups and terraced modern apartment blocks that characterize this very sophisticated city enclave.