Commercial Drive is located on the East Side of the City of Vancouver.
Commercial Drive, commonly referred to as “The Drive” by locals, is home to a diverse mix of cultures. While “The Drive” is considered Vancouver’s “Little Italy”, it has been the destination for many immigrants, having significant African, Asian, Latin American, East Indian and Italian communities.
There is a strong bohemian and creative vibe, with many artists/designers and an eclectic mix of independent, owner-operated businesses.
Throughout the year, there are a number of festivals, with the car-free festival being one of the best in Vancouver during the summer.
– From the corner of Granville and Georgia, take the 20 Victoria heading Northbound. Get off at the corner of Commercial and Graveley.
– From the corner of Burrard and Georgia, take the 22 Knight heading Northbound. Get off at the corner of West Pender and Granville. Then, transfer to the 20 Victoria at the corner of Granville and West Pender. Get off at the corner of Commercial and Graveley.
– From the Burrard Skytrain Station, located at the corner of Burrard and Dunsmuir, take the train from the “Expo Line to King George” platform and get off at Commercial Drive.
– From the Vancouver City Centre Station, located on the corner of Granville and Georgia, take the train from the “Canada Line to Waterfront” platform and get off at Waterfront. Then, walk to the corner of Hastings and Seymour, and take the 20 Victoria heading Eastbound. Get off at the corner of Commercial and Graveley.
The Georgia Straight Newspaper calls Commercial Drive the #1 Best Argument Against Mega Shopping Malls.
Attic Treasures (944 Commercial) – One of the best mid-century modern inventories in the city. Here you will find furniture and decor that will evoke a sense of nostalgia. The pieces are from the 1930s-70s, in top condition and require little to no refurbishing. The showroom is well-organized for your browsing comfort.
Ten Thousand Villages (1204 Commercial) – Ten Thousand Villages is a non-profit Fair Trade Organization (FTO), meaning it is designed to benefit artisans, not to maximize profits. Selling beautiful and unique artisan handicrafts from developing countries around the world.
Dream Designs (956 Commercial) – Eco-minded owner-operated business offering quality sleep, spa, meditation and decor items crafted from sustainable fibers. If you are big into comfort, you must check out their loungewear. For the ladies, I recommend the nightie – playful, and made from 100% SKAL certified organic cotton. They also offer a selection of night gowns, robes and unisex pajama sets.
Barefoot Contessa (1928 Commercial) – The prettiest women’s fashion boutique around! The clothing and accessories are unique, feminine and very beautiful. I especially recommend shopping here if you are in the market for a dress (or two!) They have an amazing selection of locally designed jewelry and fun items for the home. The prices are a bit on the higher end but still reasonable. If your wallet is tight, go during the end of the season to find good deals.
Mintage (1714 Commercial) – At Mintage you will find something old and something new. True one-of-a-kind vintage pieces are perfect for mix-and-matching with their selection of brand new items. Always a fun place to shop!
Spank (1027 Commercial) – Trendy women’s fashion boutique featuring Canadian and independent labels, including their house brand “Lost & Found”. They carry everything from the basics to more seasonal and unique items. Don’t forget to visit Spank Shoes at 1181 Commercial.
Figaro’s Garden (1896 Victoria) – Charming boutique garden centre carrying a wide variety of ornamental and edible plants and accessories. Be sure to stop by during the Christmas season – not only is the store decorated beautifully, but they offer an amazing assortment of high quality decorations and real Christmas trees.
The Flower Box (1704 Charles) – Multi-award winning boutique flower shop offering a fabulous selection of fresh, locally grown flowers and potted plants, in addition to exotic flowers from reputable farms around the world. The flowers are beautifully arranged with a focus on rustic elegance with a modern twist. Online ordering and delivery services are available.
High Life World Music (1317 Commercial) – This owner-operated music store offers a comprehensive hand-picked selection of music from around the world. In addition to CDs, vinyl and DVDs, you will also find a unique variety of instruments and accessories. They also sell tickets to upcoming concerts – check out their website to see what’s coming up.
Electro Lady Lux (876 Commercial) – Popular award-winning female owned and operated tattoo studio. Check out their website for a sampling of their work.
Womyn’s Ware (896 Commercial) – Discreet award-winning female-owned boutique offering a comfortable and relaxed shopping atmosphere for sex toys, accessories, books and more. The knowledgeable sales staff will be happy to help you (or leave you alone, if you prefer). Online ordering is available.
Daily Catch Seafood Company (1418 Commercial) – Quality seafood store that believes it is vital that all their suppliers are practicing sustainable fishing practices. As a result, they only offer 100% Ocean Wise seafood that can be directly traced to its place of origin. Open 7 days a week from 10:30 AM – 7:00 PM.
La Grotta Del Formaggio (1791 Commercial) – Popular deli/cheese store that is known for its delicious sandwiches. Not only are they generously sized, they are also full of quality ingredients such as artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers. During lunch hours, there is a line-up of regulars and for good reason!
The First Ravioli Store (1900 Commercial) – This landmark store offers a delicious assortment of pastas, such as tumeric and asiago ravioli, wild mushroom agnolloti, and herb and romano gnocchi. Round out your meal by choosing from a selection of cured meats and olives. If you are in the area for lunch, stop in for a simple gourmet sandwich for just a few bucks.
Donald’s Market (2279 Commercial) – Popular grocery store that offers the freshest produce, in addition to a wide selection of food/drink, personal care and other household products. They carry both conventional and organic products at very reasonable prices. Check out their website for a general idea of their product mix.
Whole and Organic Food Retailers:
East End Food Co-op (1034 Commercial) east-end-food.coop
Drive Organics (1045 Commercial)
Sweet Cherubim (1105 Commercial)
Marcello Pizzaria & Ristorante (1404 Commercial) – Authentic Italian cuisine in a warm and inviting atmosphere. To start, order the delicious Chef’s salad and the crispy calamari to share. Then, choose from over 20 varieties of traditional thin-crust pizza that are baked in a Neapolitan style wood-burning oven in the shape of a sun. Their pasta is house made and the portions are generous. Great place to bring a date or your entire family!
Kishimoto Japanese Kitchen and Sushi Bar (2054 Commercial) – This recently opened Japanese restaurant has taken over as my favourite sushi spot in the city. Chef Akira Kishimoto demonstrates his creative flare in both his menu offerings and the presentation of each dish. Take a look at the photos on this Vancouver Sun blog for as no words can describe his artistry: /. The fish is very fresh and the prices are surprisingly reasonable. I recommend making a reservation on weekends as their space is small and it gets very busy!
Havana (1212 Commercial) – Latino fusion cuisine and authentic Cuban cocktails served in an upbeat atmosphere. On a sunny day, sit on their large patio and sip on an authentic Cuban cocktail over brunch. Or meet up with friends after work to catch up and share a few drinks and tapas. The staff are personable and accommodating. Always a fun (and delicious) experience!
Di Vino (1590 Commercial) – Award-winning wine bar with a modern yet comfortable dining atmosphere. For the full experience, I recommend their 5-course dinner menu with wine pairing for $85. The menu is based on simple and traditional foods, the ingredients are fresh and the dishes are well-crafted. Their wine list features 20 wines by the glass, wine flights and dessert wines. Half liters and bottles are also available.
Biercraft Tap and Tapas Bar – The most comprehensive beer menu I’ve seen in the city! The food is fresh and well-prepared and the service is friendly. I especially like sharing several plates from their tapas menu while dining with friends.
Authentic Italian cafes:
Abruzzo (1321 Commercial)
Continental Coffee (1806 Commercial)
Caffe Bella Napoli (1670 Commercial)
Cafe Amici (1344 Commercial)
Cafe Roma (1510 Commercial)
Joe’s Cafe (1150 Commercial)
Little Nest (1718 Charles) – This is the sweetest hidden gem in the neighbourhood. If you have young children, this is the perfect place for you to take your kids to for a play date. The coffee is organic and fair-trade, and the pastries and sandwiches are an absolute delight!
Federico’s Supper Club (1728 Commercial) – Authentic Italian cuisine served in a retro atmosphere with live music and dancing on weekends and select weeknights. They offer an a la carte menu (available on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings), a supper club menu (a fixed-price 3 or 4 course menu, available for groups of up to 10 people), and a group set menu (for groups of 15+ people on Fridays, Saturdays and high-volume seasonal periods/evenings). A truly unique dining experience!
Cafe Deux Soleils (2096 Commercial) – This quaint vegetarian eatery is well-known for its weekly live-music events and poetry slams.
Places to Dance:
Drive Dance Centre (1839 Commercial)
Mr. Dance(1739 Venables)
Tango a Media Luz (2155 Commercial)
Brittania Community Centre (1661 Napier) – The facilities include an indoor pool, sauna, whirlpool, steam room, gym, racquetball courts, fitness centre, as well as tennis and basketball courts at Britannia School. A wide variety of programs and services are also available for all ages.
Trout Lake Community Centre (3350 Victoria) – Facilities include: gym, playground, fitness centre, pottery studio, racquetball/squash courts, and tennis courts at John Hendry Park.
Car-Free Day – This annual community-driven car-free day is a day full of fun for all ages! During the festival hours, the entire stretch down The Drive from East 1st Avenue to Venables is blocked off to traffic. Live music, entertainment, shopping, good food and a massive sea of people enjoying themselves – you don’t want to miss this one!
Farmer’s Market at Trout Lake Community Centre (May to Thanksgiving weekend) – Featuring organic local produce, original art, jewelery, bedding plants, baked goods and coffee.
Parade of the Lost Souls (Hallowe’en walk)
Eastside Culture Crawl – November 16-18, 2012
Painters, jewelers, sculptors, furniture makers, musicians, weavers, potters, writers, print makers, photographers, glassblowers; from emerging artists to those of international fame. Shop for original gifts and art right in the artist’s studios.