Talk:Downtown Eastside

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Canada / British Columbia / Geography / Communities (Rated C-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Canada, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Canada on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by WikiProject British Columbia.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by WikiProject Geography of Canada.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by WikiProject Canadian communities.
WikiProject Vancouver (Rated C-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Vancouver, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and the surrounding metropolitan area on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
This article is not specific to any one area of Vancouver.

Archive 1: 2004 - 2010

Refocused Demographics section[edit]

Hi everyone, I've started to work on trying to expand how this article covers the deep, significant issues of the DTES, and am removing some relatively unimportant details to try to keep it focused. Here are things I've recently cut from the Demographics section:

In the same year, 43% of the population were immigrants, with 23% of those being from China, 5% from Vietnam, 2% from Hong Kong and 14% from all other countries. One percent of residents were on visas or had refugee status. = I've replaced this with the statement that the DTES has fewer immigrants than the city as whole. Given that immigrants are a relatively small part of the population and not a huge point of discussion in the sources that cover the DTES, I think these details are unnecessary.

These include cooks and kitchen staff, paramedics, police and firemen, social service and employment agency representatives. Mental health workers, doctors and alternative therapy practitioners, educators, priests, nuns and other members of the clergy also make up a significant portion of the population. This was unreferenced and I don't see a reason to include this much detail.

Cheers, Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 04:04, 4 April 2016 (UTC)

Content removed from Mental Illness section[edit]

I've removed the following content:

"The city has established programs such as Project Civil City and the Safe Streets Act to address some of the issues associated with visible homelessness and related deviant activity.[1] "

Project Civil City has been cancelled. The Safe Streets Act is a provincial law rather than a city program. I also removed:

"Criticism of these programs suggests that they have displaced individuals and focused them into a concentrated area where social programs do not have the capacity to aid them."

I don't understand what "a concentrated area" here is referring to. There is a point of view that the social programs in the DTES core lack capacity, however everyone seems to agree that it has more capacity than the immediately-surrounding areas. Cheers, Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 19:23, 5 April 2016 (UTC)

I've also removed the following sentences, as they are not specific to the DTES:

Dr. Michelle Patterson has suggested that mental illness leads to homelessness, rather than the other way around, especially when social support is lacking. Vancouver's homeless with mental health issues face social stigma, which is reported as being a large limiting factor to their quality of life and opportunity.[2] The homeless and mentally ill also face social obstacles related to disability, race (many are members of visible minorities), and gender (see intersectionality).[citation needed] In what Dr. Christian Schutz terms the "homeless treatment paradox," individuals most in need of care - such as those with fetal alcohol syndrome - are often the least likely to receive it, and thus are likely to become homeless.[3] There is a lack of institutions adequate to serve the LGBT community, which suffers from prejudice and physical assault. Common psychiatric services are often insensitive to these individuals' extra stress.[4]

Removed Events section[edit]

Hi everyone, I've added a new section on Culture, and removed the section titled, "Events held in the Downtown Eastside." This kind of section ends up being a directory, which is unsuitable in an encyclopedia article. Here's the content I removed:

Every Sunday a privately organized educational tour is conducted in East Hastings
A number of events have been happening in DTES in the recent past, beginning with Opera Brevé's series of short opera held at the Four Corners Savings Bank.[5] A grand piano was brought in for each event and full costumes and interactive singers put on shows inside the bank at no cost. In 2003 Vancouver Moving Theatre partnered with the Carnegie Community Centre to put on the Heart of the City Festival, the City of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside Revitalization link which attracted thousands of visitors from outside the area. It was the 100th anniversary of the Carnegie Centre. The festival was made an annual event during the years 2005 to 2008.
The Crab Park Festival is an annual, volunteer run, outdoor concert that's been held every 1 July since 1984 at Crab Park at Portside. The festival features Vancouver acts, provides food and beverages for residents of the Downtown Eastside, and creates awareness in keeping Crab Park a greenspace for the people in the neighbourhood.[6]
The Japanese Festival, known as the Powell Street Festival, is held each summer in Oppenheimer Park, and at the Japanese Language school nearby. In 2008, the 32nd annual Powell Street Festival was relocated temporarily to Woodland Park, 700 Woodland Drive ( 2 & 3 August 2008). The Jazz Festival also comes to the area in early summer each year, with both renowned and local performers. Gastown is a hotbed of activity and music during this time. Contemporary dancers perform annually at the Dancing on the Edge Festival.
Every Labour Day since 2004, a volunteer-run outdoor concert featuring Vancouver bands has been held in Victory Square Park. The Victory Square Block Party raises money for charities in the DTES.
City Opera of Vancouver has produced numerous events in the DTES since 2006. All have been free to the residents and general public, and have included recitals, concerts, and lecture-demonstrations. These have been given at numerous DTES venues, including the Carnegie Centre, the Pantages Theatre, Jacob's Well, the Evelyne Saller Centre, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, the Interurban Gallery, Building Opportunities with Business, 319 Main, the Strathcona Community Centre, both years of the Fearless Festival at Pigeon Park, and both years of the Homeground Festival at Oppenheimer Park. Several have been videotaped for re-broadcast on Fearless Television over Shaw TV Vancouver.
The Women's Memorial March is held annually in the district on Valentine's Day, to call attention to missing and murdered women. The event was initiated by First Nations women in 1992, when the body of Cheryl Anne Joe was found dismembered at the corner of Powell and Salsbury streets. The march has become an annual event to protest the high numbers of women missing and murdered in the community.[7]

Cheers, Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 17:08, 7 April 2016 (UTC)

Hi, Clayoquot, and first of all congratulations on all that you've done to this article! It's in really good shape.
I do wonder, however, about the removal of all of this information. Because at present, the article essentially presents the DTES simply as a set of problems, with few redeeming features.
Without downplaying the severity of the issues facing the area's residents, I think some further discussion of other aspects of the area might be worth addressing.
I think also about the Hope in Shadows project, in which DTES residents portray themselves not so much as victims, but as agents.
--jbmurray (talkcontribs) 07:35, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
Excellent perspective and suggestions. I'll look into the Hope in Shadows book and project. Thanks Jbmurray! Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 05:26, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
I've been busy with some family stuff for the past few weeks. I think I'll be able to do this this week. Clayoquot (talk | contribs)
I've started by moving the Culture section and mentioning some notable events in it. I'm planning to eventually retitle the Culture section to something like "Culture and Strengths" and expand it with some concepts from Hope in Shadows. Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 22:16, 24 September 2016 (UTC)

Removed Significant Locations section[edit]

Hi again,

I've briefly summarized the following section in the Geography, and removed the section as I think it's excessive detail and overly directory-like:

The final roll over demolition of the Woodward's building on 30 September 2006, taken from across ::Cordova street facing south. Only the original 1903–08 portion of the building remains standing behind the cloud of dust and debris.

The demolished Woodward's Building, (only the original 1903–08 portion of the building remains) was at one time a central retail and social epicentre of the neighbourhood, and had sat empty for many years.[8] The City Hall driven process was led by then City Councilor Jim Green and was designed by local architect Gregory Henriquez. Almost the entire block is now being redeveloped by Westbank Projects to contain the Simon Fraser University School for Contemporary Arts, 200 units of social housing, 536 units of market housing, a drugstore, a foodstore, a daycare, National Film Board, Federal offices, City offices, a bank and 31,500 square feet (2,930 m2) of Community Space for DTES Non-Profit organizations which includes AIDS Vancouver and W2 Media Collective.[9]

Woodward's W43 tower in 2009
Vancouver's historic Chinatown (Pender and Keefer Streets run through its center) and Gastown Historical District (Water Street) are popular tourist areas in the Downtown Eastside. Gastown is home to many high-end restaurants, lofts and boutiques. Some see this creeping eastward gentrification as a promising development while others are concerned that this will only force many of the poorest from the only housing they can afford. Vancouverites do not traditionally see Gastown and Chinatown as Downtown Eastside locations although they do fall within its borders according to the City of Vancouver.[10]
A number of art galleries, artist-run centres and studios have located themselves in the area. The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is also situated within the boundaries of the Downtown Eastside. The flatiron Europe Hotel sits at the crux of Water, Powell, Alexander and Carrall Streets.
The Strathcona neighbourhood lies within the DTES[11] and is a historic working-class neighbourhood that has avoided many social problems, despite the decline of areas nearby. Some people believe that this sense of community was threatened by the growing number of wealthy land speculators buying up the neighbourhood in advance of the 2010 Winter Olympics.[12]
In 2001 17 mosaics[13][14] were laid, employing local artists and residents. Tours of these mosaics and the Downtown Eastside[15] are conducted by various groups. The Vancouver Walkers Meetup group has posted some photos of the mosaics.
The area hosts several public parks, including Oppenheimer Park, Portside (CRAB Park), and Wendy Poole Park. Portside Park,[16] or CRAB Park as it was named during the campaign to Create a Real Accessible Beach,[17] provides a haven for dogs, fowl, and human elements. It is attached to a small beach of sand and pebble that has views over Burrard Inlet. A local group, the Central Waterfront Coalition is trying to build support to retain it for Vancouverites, as it is being considered for development.

Removed Community groups and social agencies section[edit]

I've added a summary of the types of services offered in the DTES, and removed the following section for the same reasons as above, i.e. Wikipedia is not a directory. If anyone would like to create a List of non-profit organizations in the Downtown Eastside page, I think that would be a more appropriate place for this type of information. Cheers, Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 04:40, 8 April 2016 (UTC)

The Ray-Cam Community Centre provides services and programs for children and families, including English as a Second Language classes, seniors programming, singing and sports opportunities, tutoring and computer stations. Another, the Strathcona Community Centre operated by the Vancouver Parks Board, offers fitness and martial arts classes, special events, a pre-school, after school care, general recreation, arts and crafts programs and free showers. The Carnegie Centre, located at Hastings and Main Streets, has served food since the early 1980s, and also offers live music several times a week, and free art sketching opportunities[clarification needed] since the early 1980s.
The LifeSkills Centre on Cordova Street, across from Oppenheimer Park, offers activities such as crafts, sports, and special community events and lunches. The IATSE, Local 118 puts on annual turkey dinners and clothing give-aways at the park just before Christmas. The Downtown Eastside Women's Centre at 302 Columbia St. at Cordova provides the Relocation Project/Bridge Housing aids women in need of emergency housing. The Evelyne Saller Centre, on Alexander Street, known to locals as The 44 (from a previous address on E. Cordova St.) provides low-cost meals, a TV room, pool table, laundry facilities, showers and out-trips. WISH, a drop-in centre for female survival sex workers located at 330 Alexander Street, is open Sunday – Friday evenings, and offers a hot meal, showers, a literacy program, makeup, clothing and hygiene supplies, and a safe space for women to gather. PACE Society (Providing Alternatives, Counselling, & Education) is a peer organization by sex workers for sex workers located at 148 West Hastings St. PACE offers peer support groups, safety workshops, outreach, advocacy, informal counselling, mentorship, and a Monday to Friday drop-in.
Churches such as the First United Church, one block east of Hastings and Main, Union Gospel Mission on Cordova Street, and Street Church, on Hastings St., provide assistance to area residents in the forms of advocacy in dealing with welfare offices, getting health issues met, dealing with drug rehabilitation, and providing entertainment through movies and outings. First United Church has given away thousands of donated books, articles of clothing and kitchenware. The Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement on E. Cordova St., have for years provided food and clothing for area residents.
The Salvation Army Church (Cariboo Temple) sends a Soup Truck and Volunteers to hand out hot soup, hot drinks and sandwiches every Tuesday and Sunday nights. Their counterparts, Vancouver 614, live in the neighbourhood and invite their neighbours into their homes for family meals and prayer. The Salvation Army also has institutions with detox, drug rehabilitation, shelters, drop-in centres, second-stage housing, and community services.
The Health Contact Centre on E. Hastings, in the alley, provides nurse services, information, and some forms of occupational activities. Vancouver Coastal Health was closed in Spring 2010, classified as a "duplication of services". A large number of the elderly population of the area used this as their primary source of medical and social contact.
The UBC Learning Exchange, sponsored by the University of British Columbia since the year 2000, opened up an outreach program at the north end of Main Street. It is used by local residents to improve their education.
Pivot Legal Society is a non-profit legal advocacy organization located in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Pivot's mandate is to use the law to address the root causes that undermine the quality of life of those most on the margins. Pivot's work involves addressing child welfare, addiction and health, housing, policing and prostitution.
Guru Nanak's Free Kitchen is a non-profit community organization that regularly provides thousands of meals to the needy and homeless in the area through events at sites such as the LifeSkills Centre and the First United Church. The concept is based on the Sikh principles of langar (free kitchen) and seva (selfless service) developed by Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji hundreds of years ago.
Murality is a non-profit organization that works to revitalize Vancouver's Downtown Eastside through street art. Its first project, Jump for Joy, is located in Chinatown. This temporary mural was initiated by Murality's founder, Amalia Liapis, and photographer Eyoälha Baker to bring life and vitality to nearby residents, as well as tourists.

BC Electric Railway[edit]

I've just removed this, as it's a relatively insignificant fact in a long section, and has had a "citation needed" tag since 2010: "The headquarters of the BC Electric Railway Company was also in the area, making the DTES the hub of rail transit not only of Vancouver, but the entire region.[citation needed] " Cheers, Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 04:58, 15 April 2016 (UTC)

I found a ref for it and put it back (with rewording). Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 21:17, 21 April 2016 (UTC)


I've removed this from the History section: "After Eaton's moved its Vancouver flagship store from West Hastings in the 1970s, shopping traffic declined, a trend which was to last for many years." The Eaton's article says that its original Vancouver store now serves as the downtown Harbour Centre campus of Simon Fraser University. This is quite some distance from the DTES. Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 05:26, 15 April 2016 (UTC)

Extra refs[edit]

I removed the following references from the lead as they are non-specific (no chapter or page numbers) and we have other refs that say the same thing:

  • "'Milltown to Metroplis, Alan Morley
  • 'Early Vancouver, J.S. "Skitt" Matthews

Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 06:04, 15 April 2016 (UTC)

Terminology: "DTES core" vs. "DTES"[edit]

Hi everyone. I've tried to clarify what information pertains to the DTES area defined in the city's Local Area Plan (including Strathcona, Gastown, and Chinatown), and what information pertains to the DTES core. I think most things are sorted out, but after reading through a lot of sources it's becoming apparent that virtually everyone calls the DTES core simply the "Downtown Eastside." There is a very strong understanding among reliable sources that the term "Downtown Eastside" refers to an area in which a certain set of issues is most acute. There is some debate over exact boundaries, e.g. whether the corner of Hastings and Cambie is in the area or outside of it. But nobody, *including* the City of Vancouver, would consider La Casa Gelato or the Gastown Steam Clock to be part of the DTES, *except* in the context of certain very specific discussions around planning and statistics.

I'm proposing that we/I refactor the article to replace instances of "DTES core" with "DTES", and use the term "greater DTES area" to mean the wider area. Any thoughts on this? I'll make this change in a few days if there are no objections.

Cheers, Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 19:52, 15 April 2016 (UTC)

I'm going ahead with this now. Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 19:15, 18 April 2016 (UTC)
Done! Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 19:41, 18 April 2016 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Downtown Eastside/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

The article is very impressionistic right now, with no citations and only vague references and weasel phrases. Needs considerable work, but it does touch on many of the basic issues that the area gets attention for and has a basic structure in place, some links, and a photo.Bobanny 06:18, 18 October 2006 (UTC) I initially put the importance as mid, but changed it to high. It's a significant neighbourhood for a variety of reasons: historically it was the centre of town, it receives national coverage pretty regularly (Insite, Pickton case), and so on.Bobanny 06:18, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Last edited at 06:18, 18 October 2006 (UTC). Substituted at 13:47, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

Homeless + Mentally ill statistic[edit]

I've just removed this:

According to a City of Vancouver report in 2012, 40% of homeless people living in the DTES suffer from a mental illness.[18]

The link is broken and I can't find the paper anywhere else. I also question whether the city calculated this number specifically for the DTES, as opposed to for Vancouver as a whole. I will replace it with data from the 2015 survey. Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 19:05, 3 May 2016 (UTC)

Prostitution edit[edit]

"...the majority of Vancouver's 1,000 to 1,500 sex workers work in the DTES, often in the streets". Vancouver has 1000-1500 sex workers? How do they get this number? After they have been arrested or in the hospital after an assault? That's inaccurate representation. I think it would be more accurate to state that most of Vancouver's 1000-1500 outdoor sex workers, work in the DTES. It is easy to look at the many adult entertainment websites to see that most Vancouver sex workers, indoor sex workers, work online. I will attempt to find a more recent source as opposed to the 2009 source that was provided. This is a topic that is hard to source for the simple fact that we are dealing with an occupation that is notoriously secretive. I think it would be prudent to add the word "outdoor" until I can find a more up to date source."...the majority of Vancouver's 1,000 to 1,500 outdoor sex workers work in the DTES, often in the streets." 31jetjet (talk) 01:35, 10 May 2016 (UTC)31jetjet

Hi 31jetjet. Just to recap for everyone else what we're talking about, the source I used for this sentence is a Vancouver Police Department publication from 2009 which is here: It says, "Current estimates suggest that there are between 1,000 and 1,500 sex trade workers in Vancouver and most work in the DTES." (p. 25 according to the document footer, or p. 26 in the PDF file).
With the footnote that's currently at the end of the sentence, adding the word "outdoor" to the middle of the sentence is really not good. When an article has a sourced statement, the statement should reflect what the source says.
Having said that, I looked more closely at the VPD's Project Lockstep document, and its source for the "1,000 sex trade workers in Vancouver" estimate is a 2007 report available at, which says "It is estimated that 1,000 women sell sex on the streets of the inner city." I was not able to locate the VPD's source for the 1,500 estimate. So it turns out that your hunch about the statistic including only outdoor sex workers is valid. However, we need to make the sourcing clear.
I'll change the article to say, "Vancouver has an estimated 1,000 street sex workers[1] and according to the VPD most of them work in the DTES.[2]. If you have something else to add that's reliably sourced, feel free.
Cheers, Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 05:08, 10 May 2016 (UTC)

Thank you, Clayoquot. I see now that you have put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this article, I appreciate the change as it is more specific and therefore more accurate. 31jetjet (talk) 21:44, 10 May 2016 (UTC)31jetjet

 :) :) Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 19:30, 11 May 2016 (UTC)


Empress Hotel evictions[edit]

Hi everyone,

I've removed this from the caption of the photo of the Empress Hotel: "In the fall of 2006, residents were issued eviction notices.[19] The referenced link is dead, but it appears that the hotel is still in operation with lowest rents at $375 to $425 per month.[3]. Here's another article on what became of the hotel after it changed owners in 2006: Cheers, Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 18:46, 31 May 2016 (UTC)

Ref needed for Aboriginal population figure[edit]

Nearly everything in the article is now referenced. I removed this sentence (hopefully temporarily) as I haven't found a ref for it yet: "Approximately 10% of the city's Aboriginal population lives in the area." Cheers, Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 23:19, 24 August 2016 (UTC)

Preparing for A-class reviews[edit]

Hi everyone,

FYI, I'm doing a final round of cleanup in preparation to nominate this A-class, and hopefully Featured Article status. If there have been changes or comments you've been meaning to make, please go ahead soon. Cheers, Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 23:22, 24 August 2016 (UTC)

DTES borders[edit]

Finding a reliably-sourced definition of the DTES borders has been very hard! I just added a new definition from the Georgia Strait. I removed the following passage which is from a less-reliable, undated source and says almost the same thing:

  • " Scout Magazine suggests that they could be roughly considered Carrall Street at the west, Jackson Street at the east, Pender Street at the south, and Cordova Street at the north.[20] "


Word salad in quotation[edit]

Like a hydra, direct enforcement paradoxically crowds the streets with the incarcerated dealers multiplying replacements.

On the other hand, this is a rare, literal use of the word "paradoxical" that I wholly endorse.

Like a hydra, direct enforcement paradoxically crowds the streets with the [supply vacuum due to] incarcerated dealers multiplying replacements.

Perhaps we should fill in the semantic elision. — MaxEnt 15:40, 13 August 2017 (UTC)

Hi Max. I agree it's something of a word salad. I'm not sure if the issue is fixable. I would read the fill-in you suggested, for instance, as saying that the supply vacuum is what crowds the streets. What about replacing the quote entirely with another sentence from the same source? There's this one: "Arrests are infrequent, and when they occur they are counterproductive, and result in pinch-hitting teams deployed onto the streets to make up for lost productivity." Cheers, Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 15:57, 13 August 2017 (UTC)