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How old is your (Metro) Vancouver neighbourhood?

May 31st, 2012 · 24 Comments

Are you knocked over by strollers every time you step out your door? Or do you find it hard to find a clothing outlet that caters to an under-60 set? Does the place empty out as everyone heads to work in the morning? Or does it come to life during the day, with everyone out puttering and toddler-minding?

As the census numbers roll out showing where the seniors, babies and worker bees are, I couldn’t help but think of my own neighbourhood and how young it feels these days. There is a stroller parade in this east Mount Pleasant neighbourhood every day. Plus lots of 20-somethings.

While the mournful news stories say the young are being driven out of the city, that’s not true here. Whether they’re doing it by living six to a house, getting money from the Bank of M&D, or they all secretly work as hedge-fund investors (while disguised in flannel shirts and toques), I don’t know, but there are loads of young adults in the ‘hood, thrilling oldsters like me with their enthusiasm for block parties and community projects of all descriptions.

It feels quite different from even a few years ago and hugely different from my previous, further-east neighbourhood. There, I had a feeling of complete security because the block was guarded 24/7 by the Italian, Serbian, and other retirees who spent the day in their gardens or the alley keeping an eye on everything. My neighbours would invite to get in on the seniors’ special at Swiss Chalet with them. but not exactly Yummy Mummy territory and teens seemed weirdly absent.

The Mount Pleasant vibe is also quite different from west-side neighbourhoods in Vancouver, where the numbers of children are steadily going down and the average age is going up. Young friends who live there say they feel isolated, marooned in a sea of businesses that cater to a more sedate set. (More detailed census-tract data should be proving that out in detail, when it arrives.)

That plays out across the region, with places like Abbotsford, Surrey and Mission booming with kids, while North Van, which was a teen heaven when I grew up there, slowly morphs into a retirement home.

I know city planners consciously look for ways to create balance in the city, so that it’s not so lopsided like this. But it seems as though they’re making slow headway. Which is too bad. I’d love to have more of those guard-dog seniors in my area again and I’m sure a few more kids, teens and young families on the west side would be welcomed.

Curious to know how others are experienced the population pyramid in their pocket of the region? Who’s your dominant age group?

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