Working in this area has shown me what New Westminster has to offer, and I can't wait to call it home.
As a summer ambassador working at the Downtown New West BIA, I came to embrace the area fully. I have my favourite cafes, favourite lunch spots, and favourite areas of solitude for when I needed a break from the office. New West is a place I call my home…except not. I am a fraud. I’m like that guy who says he went to an Ivy League school when in reality he only went for a one month exchange but came back with more campus sweatshirts than an actual Ivy school grad. I’m that guy.
Before I took the job, New West was always a place I imagined resembling Gotham City pre-Batman. Overrun with criminals, sketchy neighbourhoods, secret underground lairs housing nuclear bombs, etc. It wasn’t until I started working here that it dawned on me that everything I knew about New West was wrong (that is to say, I didn’t know much). The historic buildings juxtaposed with the modern condos really exemplify what this area is about. New West is moving forward towards being the next big thing in Metro Vancouver, but it is making sure to keep the historic parts intact.
Working here really opened my eyes to what New West has to offer to everyone, even a fraud like myself. So here is a list of my personal favourite things about the Downtown New West core.
1) The people. The residents here have a passion for their city that I have not seen anywhere else. Whether this passion stems from their need to prove New West is more than its stereotypes or it comes from their love of the area, it truly sets this city apart.
2) The food. Obviously this area isn’t quite at the level of places like Gastown (although it can easily compete toe-to-toe in terms of charm). However, with its abundance of food choices and excellent places for a cold beer, the culinary scene in New West is only going to get better as more upcoming restaurateurs recognize that setting up shop here is an equally viable option as anywhere in Vancouver.
3) Cost of living. At the rate the housing market in Vancouver is going, chances are I am going to have to settle for living in a cardboard box when I am older. It is refreshing then to find out that housing prices in New West are not only affordable, many of the apartments in the downtown core area offer beautiful views of the Fraser River. Affordability in an area that is going through a massive revitalization? Sounds good to me.
4) Public Places. The city is full of places that you can go and relax. My favourite is Begbie Square by the Law Courts. It’s shaded, has a fountain with a small waterfall, plenty of seating, and is often quite. It’s a great place for me to catch up on my readings (or most likely playing Plants vs. Zombies on my iPhone). Others include Westminster Pier Park, Hyack Square, and the Quay Boardwalk.
5) The Charm. The Downtown New West area has a rustic feel that still feels welcoming. There are hidden cafes and shops around every corner that beg you to discover them. The buildings and proximity to the water makes New West one of the most visually interesting cities in Metro Vancouver.
While my term is over, my fascination with this city will continue. I look forward to hopefully calling New West my new home one day.