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Vancouver For Better or Worse: Robson Street

DH Vancouver Staff Dec 08, 2008 5:06 pm

Talk to tourists about Robson Streetand you’ll hear mostly praise. However, engage in the same conversation with locals and the responses include the typical hipster, yuppie type responses to ones of great pride in the street.To sum it up, Vancouverites seem to have a love/hate relationship with Robson Street. Some despise the chain stores (because we all know they are the root of all evil in this world), others despise it because they simply can’t afford (excluding The Gap) to shop or eat there. Whatever their gripe with the street, you can’t deny its urban vibrancy. There is no other street like it in Western Canada, let alone the Lower Mainland.

Whats not to love, Robson Street has it all, chain stores, The Vancouver Public Library, VAG, hotels (high and lower end), great restaurants, independent shops and much, much more. What more could you ask for on a single city street? Don’t just think of it as 3 blocks between Hornby and Bute Street.

The women that parade up and down Robson are arguably the some of the best of the best. In discussions at the water cooler with some of the U.S and Quasi-U.S. (see Toronto) suits in our company, they will attest that on a nice summer day Robson Street has the highest ratio of beautiful people per capita than any other place on this continent, except maybe the Vegas Strip. Definitely a great place for people watching.If you are into cars than this is the street to sit back and enjoy a caffeinated beverage at one of the local Blenz Coffee shops and watch the streets. You’ll see Ferrari’s, Lambo’s, Bentley’s, but you’ll also see the classics such as the Impala and Lincoln Continental drive by. On the odd occasion you’ll see a bizarre car adorned with one too many bumper stickers or sea shells.

Some of the bad about Robson has more to do with city planning. The sidewalks definitely need to be wider. Places like Cafe Crap heavily infringe on to the sidewalk it’s ridiculous.

Being a prime tourist destination a day won’t go by where groups of 3, 4 or more will be walking down Robson ever so slowly. You can usually spot the locals as they zig-zag their way through the pedestrian chaos. At the same time, the crowded hustle and bustle of the street gives its unique vibe. Wider sidewalks are necessary, there is plenty of parking in the alleys behind it for shoppers and businesses alike.

Many gripe about the big American chains and how the street is nothing more than an outdoor mall. That may be true, but some people prefer American chain stores. It should be noted that not everyone is hell bent on trying to be unique. In fact the people that often make those comments/claims are also part of a crowd that dresses just like them, that’s so unique of them is it not? Egregious.

Losers that pump their music and constantly stroll up and down the street in a pathetic attempt for attention definitely need to go. I just don’t get that, but then again I’m not 18 anymore, but come to think of it neither are they. They definitely need to go.

Robson Street is eclectic and funky to some and a major source of hatred for others (See Beyond Robson). In the coming years with Granville and Alberni also slowly becoming prime retail locations, look for the focus of the retail core to be highly concentrated within those 3 streets as the crowds tend to feed off of Robson on to the other streets.

The angry Vancouverites motto: We hate what we don’t have and don’t appreciate what we do. To them I say there’s always Windsor, I hear its quite the boomtown over there.

DH Vancouver Staff
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