Mount Pleasant and the Neighbourhood House
In the Canadian City of Vancouver, British Columbia, City Hall on 12th Avenue at Cambie Street is on the west margin of the neighbourhood of Mount Pleasant. Beginning at City Hall, the neighbourhood boundary runs south on Cambie Street to 16th Avenue, turns left and runs eastward to Clark Drive, turns left there and runs to the north as far as 6th Avenue, where it turns left and runs westward on 6th Avenue, Great Northern Way, and 2nd Avenue to Main Street, where it runs north to Terminal Avenue, makes a left turn to the west to the south shore of False Creek as far as the Cambie Street Bridge, and from there runs south on Cambie Street back to City Hall. The neighbourhood hub is several blocks to the northeast of City Hall around the intersection of Main Street, Broadway, and Kingsway.
In 2006, Mount Pleasant had 23,615 people, a 3.8-percent decrease from 2001, with 62.0 percent of residents speaking English as their first language, 10.0 percent speaking Chinese, and 5.1 percent Tagalog. Median household income was then $37,782, and 31.7 percent of the population lived in low-income households. Once working-class, Mount Pleasant has seen a considerable rise in its standard of living since the early 1990s.
From 1888, when the first of them appeared, through the first decade of the 20th Century, several breweries came to the neighbourhood to make use of the waters of Brewery Creek. In 1890, the first streetcars ran south on Main Street to 1st Avenue and to Kingsway by 1897 to serve the substantial population centre around Broadway. An ability to commute quickly to the Downtown city centre drew many working families to the area south of Broadway. In that sense, Mount Pleasant was one of Vancouver’s first suburbs.
Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House
The Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House has a mandate to make the neighbourhood a better place to live. Its community service began in 1976 with a youth leadership program operating from a local church basement, a free mobile income tax clinic operating from a trailer followed in 1977, and later that year the neighbourhood house opened a storefront building on East Broadway. Finally in 1995, came the spacious building at the busy corner of Broadway and Prince Albert Street. There the dedicated staff serves and assists more than 3,000 needy people annually.
Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House is a member of the Association of Neighbourhood Houses of British Columbia, founded in 1894, one of the oldest nonprofit societies in the province. Neighbourhood houses developed from the 19th Century settlement house movement to minister to the needs of migrants from the countryside seeking employment in the cities, often leaving behind everything they knew. The settlement house movement established the first daycare nurseries for working parents, classes in English as a second language and adult literacy, and academic standards for the social work profession. The Association of Neighbourhood Houses of British Columbia participates in programs of the United Way of the Lower Mainland.
The Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House leads a community literacy planning project, a community development outreach program to help new immigrants find and resources to enhance the lives of their families, and a Mandarin parenting program for grandparents who care for children regularly.