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Granville: regular street by day, low-rent Mardi Gras by night accompanied by police, ambulances, clean-up crews. Is this is good idea?

April 5th, 2013 · 34 Comments

Like most Vancouverites, I don’t usually go to Granville Street at 4 a.m.

But I did a couple of months ago, to find out how things have evolved on this street with such a roller-coaster past — Great White Way, theatre row, heroin users’ hood, sex-shop central, home to some of the city’s best live-music venues, bus route, clubland.

It was a scene, for sure. The two middle-aged women from Penticton who trailed after me for part of the evening were open-mouthed with astonishment at the party, the police wagons, the gang-squad cops, the general alcohol-fuelled mayhem. It’s a testament to how tame the city is, in many ways, that they merrily struck up conversations with various inebriated youngsters in my vicinity.

But they’re a rarity. Most people over 25 simply avoid the area — and that has even club owners’ worried, along with planners, police, and more as I found when I decided to write a story about it. But Granville is a unique Vancouver problem. In other cities, the solution might be to spread out the clubs.

But this city is so crammed with residential that it’s hard to find a place where noisy bars can go without provoking a rash of homeowner complaints. (And it doesn’t seem to matter whether the bar was there first. The Biltmore is going through a fresh round of griping from people who have moved into the new building next door, apparently unaware there was a club next door.)


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