Downtown Revival with a Youthful Twist

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

We are becoming the go to place to set up shop

More young people continue to set up their lives and businesses in Downtown New West, one of our Summer Ambassadors offers her take.

The Downtown New West Area is home to amazing tradition and heritage, but it is also becoming the launching pad for young adults starting out their careers. I got to spend a few minutes with one of these young and bright individuals, Lauren Melton, a UVIC student working in Downtown New West as one of the managers of the Tourism New Westminster Visitor’s Centre located in the FRDC.

Studying to achieve her Bachelor’s of commerce (specializing in Entrepreneurship), Lauren found the position through UVIC’s co-op program; a program that allows students to find jobs relevant to their post-graduation career goals.

Happy to have found this Downtown New West Job, she cites that it’s allowed her to gain managerial and promotional experience, as well experience managing social media in a professional matter; all extremely valuable skills that she will be able to take with her as she moves on in September.

This job has also allowed her to discover what a gem the Downtown is. When asked about the things she’s discovered while working here, she tells me that the Pier Park is a scenic area to visit, and that walking all the way down the boardwalk into the residential areas is another beautiful place she’s discovered steps from her desk. Lauren tells me that she also loves working in Downtown New West for all the different festivals that are put on, and enjoys going to all the different community events. “It’s nice that New West has so many different celebrations” she says.

In the past while, much has been written about the revitalization of Downtown New West. Earlier this year, both the Vancouver Sun and the Georgia Straight profiled the revitalization happening here, talking to locals and discussing exciting developments like the Pier Park, condos, the Civic Centre, and new businesses opening up every month.


 Photo Credit: Techno Monkey Media Inc. (A super cool Downtown New West company!)

But one of the changes that both articles touched on was the growth and changing demographics of the Downtown, as they found that more young people continue to set up their lives and businesses in the Downtown. Reading this made us come with our own list of why this is:

1. Affordability: For young individuals, buying a house in Vancouver and many other desired neighbourhoods is a near impossible goal, even for couples with two full time incomes. Doing so leaves many house-poor with little room for much else in their budgets. Downtown New West and its surrounding neighbourhoods offer a variety of great home options (whether you’re looking for modern condos or heritage homes) in a great location that is much more affordable and kind to your wallet.

2. Transit: Many Downtown dwellers do not need cars because of the conveniently located sky train stops in the heart of Downtown, and the numerous bus routes connecting it to the rest of New West and the Lower Mainland.

3. Location in the middle of the GVRD: The saying “location, location, location” really does apply in this case, as Downtown New West is seen as the geographic centre of the Greater Vancouver Area. It’s easy and fast to get where you need to go by car or transit. By transit, it’s a 25minute train ride to the Downtown Vancouver core, and 10 minutes to Surrey’s City Centre. By car, it’s easy to reach many of further cities like Langley, Maple Ridge, Port Moody, North Van, etc in less than an hour.

4. Accessibility and Convenience: The Downtown itself has a variety of amenities and everything you could need already located in it. Grocery stores like Donald’s Market, IGA and Safeway, as well as a variety of restaurants, a new park, a beautiful boardwalk and shops providing every kind of service are located within a few blocks.


5. The “Downtown” feel and sense of Community: Downtown New West gives young people a unique and urban Downtown feel, with its mix of old and new, eclectic businesses, and beautiful location in front of the river. It’s also big enough to feel like a fast-paced city, but small enough to provide the sense of community that many are looking for.

Victoria Macaulay, Summer Ambassador

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