Suburban community / urban neighbourhood / village feel
Single family dwellings (with the allowance for suites), plentiful parkland, community shopping districts, easy access to downtown and the Vancouver Airport – all these factors make Dunbar an excellent part of Vancouver to reside in. The population of this Vancouver Westside area has remained fairly constant since the early 70s but recent changes – mainly in the age demographic – have prompted new demands for such facilities as schools, recreation centres and parks.
Queen Elizabeth Annex, Kitchener Elementary, nearby Southlands Elementary (to the south), Queen Elizabeth Elementary and Jules Quesnel Elementary (to the north) and Carnarvon Elementary (to the east) are all easily accessible elementary schools catering to the young family demographic of the Dunbar area. Lord Byng Secondary School and Prince of Wales Secondary (to the east) offer the next level of education to the growing-up family unit. Immaculate Conception School, St. George’s School and Crofton House offer a private/independent school alternative within an easy commute of the Dunbar area.
Although the Dunbar district consists mainly of single-family dwellings, the early 1990s saw the adoption of new zoning that allowed for some rental suites.
There has been a recent push for increased density in the area in order to provide alternative housing for both residents who still want to stay in neighbourhood, or new comers looking to become a part of this community. The challenge has been how to try and satisfy both the concerns of the current residents and the needs of the new comers. It seems an equitable resolution is proving a success for everyone. The main corridors of the area will be lined with denser strata properties. The propensity will be for street-level commercial units with residential strata-titled properties above. There are many already finished and many “soon to be built” properties along the main arteries that have blended into the neighbourhood naturally. The success of this thinking is proving a boon to the Dunbar area as well as other areas with the same challenges.
Location & History
Dunbar is an eclectic mix of housing bordered to the north by West 16th Avenue, to the south by West 41st Avenue, to the west by Pacific Spirit Park and to the east by the zigzag routing of Quesnel Drive and Blenheim Street.
Dunbar began as a logged off area of Vancouver, basically uninhabitable in the early 1900s due to the left over mass of fallen, burnt timbers from logging. In fact, the first known settlers in what was to become Dunbar was a family known as the Mounts who lived where 3379 West 22nd Avenue is now located.
As town planning principles evolved and access to this Vancouver Westside area became available by the establishment of streetcar routes in the 1920s, homes began to be built. Early zoning bylaws required that houses be situated well back on their lots, easily identifying the “originals” that still stand today. Some of these early homes were designed in the English Arts and Crafts and Edwardian building styles. The Dunbar region has a rich architectural heritage and as of 1992, 21 structures of historical significance are on the Vancouver Heritage Register. One good example of this architectural heritage is the “Haigler House” at 3537 West 30th Avenue.
Most residents of this Vancouver Westside neighbourhood live in close proximity to one of the community’s many parks – Dunbar and the neighbouring Southlands area offer 2.07 hectares of parkland per 1,000 persons compared to the city average of 1.12. Some of the city’s finest golf courses – both public and private – are located in the Dunbar/Southlands area. This adds to the residential appeal of the area.
Dunbar also has its own distinctive shopping districts – one located near the junction of 16th Avenue and Dunbar Street, extending down Dunbar to approximately 30th Avenue. The second district lines the area around the junction of 41st Avenue and Dunbar.
Dunbar has easy access to the downtown core through public transit, cycling and automobile. No freeways are involved and there are three main arterial routes that can be used for vehicular commuting to downtown. As well as easy downtown access, these main arterial routes make it fairly simple to hook up with the main highway/freeway routes to the outlying areas of the Lower Mainland. The Vancouver International Airport is also an easy commute from the Dunbar area.