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Places to avoid in Vancouver

Folkestone, United...
Level Contributor
50 posts
787 reviews
423 helpful votes
Places to avoid in Vancouver

We recently took the hop on off blue loop and got off at Chinatown all OK but beware walking to Gastown the roads Columbia and Pendleton are full off crack heads I was terrified and horrified. In a tourist area what are the Police and authorities doing about tourists being harassed - shame full, would I recommend Vancouver NO

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
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71,411 posts
66 reviews
93 helpful votes
1. Re: Places to avoid in Vancouver

Hi gardenofengland ~

I am sorry you wandered into the Downtown Eastside. This is NOT a tourist area and we regularly advise people who ask to avoid the area along Hastings for a few blocks. The Downtown Eastside is home to many homeless people. They form a community of similar unfortunates. In my experience, they do ask for money but if someone walks on by, that's the end of it. These are people without any 'power' in society at all.

The truth is that every city has its seedy neighbourhood. Except for about 700 metres of Hastings St and a couple of streets off Hastings St, Vancouver is an exceptionally pleasant city to visit.

The best way to be informed about any city is to ask on the forum about any neighbourhoods that one should avoid. Not asking is how you ended up in this part of downtown. Ending up in this part of town from not asking is a poor reason to not recommend Vancouver. Please don't blame Vancouver for your lack of research.

Again, I am sorry you wandered, as a tourist, into this neighbourhood. I am sure you were quite uncomfortable and did not enjoy anything while you were walking through.

Edited: 1:59 am, June 28, 2013
SE Ontario
Level Contributor
28,846 posts
16 reviews
13 helpful votes
2. Re: Places to avoid in Vancouver

If you want to visit a controlled environment where everyone is healthy, happy, and wise go to Disneyland. Every city has its problems.

I could say I'll never go back to London because the last time I was there I encountered a bunch of binge drinking louts vomiting on the street ... would you say I'd be justified in recommending people never visit?

Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
679 posts
3. Re: Places to avoid in Vancouver

It is just one tiny little area of a wonderful,pleasant and perfectly safe city but judging by your words, gardenofengland(what a fitting name) you even begrudge the less fortunate that little space they call "home".

I've ended up a few times in this area, and no it's not a comfortable place to be, but apart from some begging for food and money I have never been harassed, threatened or otherwise endangered.

You could, no, should, have asked beforehand on this forum, which you apparently know how to find for your complaints, or your travel agent, or your hotel, or the visitor centre.

It's completely ridiculous to blame an entire city for something you'll find in every city the world over, including the UK. Or have you never been to London, Liverpool, Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, etc.?

Just count your lucky stars you're living in the garden of england.

vancouver
Level Contributor
2,767 posts
4. Re: Places to avoid in Vancouver

I once encountered some aggressive pan handlers in East London and now I will NEVER EVER go back to England again

Folkestone, United...
Level Contributor
50 posts
787 reviews
423 helpful votes
5. Re: Places to avoid in Vancouver

In hindsight maybe I was a bit harsh on not recommending all of Vancouver as it had only just happened and we were and still are quite shoked, but nowhere or nobody had advised on this area as if it is a secret. Cape Town seemed like Disney next to this and yes we were aware so knew what and where to avoid. But still the lack of police was very noticeable.

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
237 posts
127 reviews
129 helpful votes
6. Re: Places to avoid in Vancouver

That particular area is one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Canada. And located only blocks from some of the richest. A tour through that area should be a staple of any visit to Vancouver, so that the current state of affairs round here isn't whitewashed. Ok. I'll put away my soap box now.

The downtown eastside, however, is no secret. It's too bad you weren't prepared for what you encountered, but you're surely not the first to wander into that area by mistake. Aside from the shocknig poverty and substance abuse and homelessness, it's not a particularly unsafe place. I'd be more concerned walking down Granville at closing time.

Folkestone, United...
Level Contributor
50 posts
787 reviews
423 helpful votes
7. Re: Places to avoid in Vancouver

I just never realised Vancouver had such a drug, homeless problem.I suppose that is why I was so shocked. You expect it in SA see it in Paris, London, Eastern europe I am from Liverpool so nothing usually rattles me maybe I just had rose tinted glasses of my visit to Canada. Well we are off to Kelowna today for a week any areas to avoid? Lol

Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
679 posts
8. Re: Places to avoid in Vancouver

Well.....now that you mention it..................

Enough said.

Enjoy.

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
2,220 posts
88 reviews
66 helpful votes
9. Re: Places to avoid in Vancouver

Thanks for coming back and giving your views. I had to laugh though at

"Cape Town seemed like Disney next to this and yes we were aware so knew what and where to avoid. But still the lack of police was very noticeable."

Considering ( from capetown.gov.za )

"The murder rate dropped considerably between 2002/2003 and 2003/2004. Over the next three years the rate increased but remained constant in 2007/2008. The figure is still high with 5.5 murders on average reported daily in Cape Town. The murder rate for Cape Town is significantly higher than the national rate."

Vancouver maybe gets 20 in a bad year.

Also the Vancouver main police station is right on Main Street in this area, so they are close by. However there is really no danger in the area for a super high police presence.

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
36,278 posts
63 reviews
52 helpful votes
10. Re: Places to avoid in Vancouver

I know they have some issues in Kelowna. Rapidly growing cities are prone to this sort of thing. Unfortunately, I don't know where those areas are.

We discuss the downtown eastside on here quite frequently, particularly in context of people asking about Gastown and Chinatown. My attitude is that you need to know its there, you need to know that's is a fairly contained neighbourhood, that its uncomfortable, but its actually surprisingly safe. Callicles was spot on with his comment - the place to avoid is Granville at closing time!

I checked your posting history and I always think its a shame that people don't come on until they've had a negative experience. The DTES is not a secret, its just such an accepted part of our community that we don't make a big deal out of it. There's some amazing things going on down there to build a supportive community for society's most down-trodden. Its a very contained area and easy to avoid - when you know its there.

I'm glad you have stepped back a bit from your initial position and recognized that it was just a reaction to your experience. The weather is supposed to warm right up over the next few days; I hope you have a great trip.