Renfrew-Collingwood Up and Coming
People and Boundaries
Renfrew–Collingwood, the second most populous Vancouver neighbourhood after Downtown, had over 50,000 residents in the 2011 Census. A large, diverse eastside neighbourhood on the Vancouver-Burnaby boundary with substantial business centers and some fast-growing residential sectors, this neighbourhood had a population of 44,950 in 2001, 43.6 percent of whom then spoke Chinese as their first language. Canada’s 2011 census reported only 28 per cent of Renfrew-Collingwood residents as native English speakers. Chinese, Filipino, and Vietnamese are the languages heard most often on the streets.
Renfrew–Collingwood’s northern border is Broadway, East 41st Avenue is on the south, Nanaimo Street on the west, and Boundary Road on the east. Kingsway runs through the southern part of the neighbourhood, Grandview Highway through the middle, and the Trans-Canada Highway through the northeast corner.
In 1861, Colonel Richard Moody built a military trail through the area from New Westminster to English Bay. By 1891, Canada’s first electric interurban railway along Vanness Avenue connected Vancouver’s Downtown to New Westminster and opened the area to what became the thriving community of Collingwood near the present intersection with Joyce Street, and to the north the Renfrew district began to grow in the 1920s.
Over the years, the two areas grew together with commercial developments along Kingsway, Grandview Highway, and Boundary Road and growing numbers of condominiums and multi-family residential developments joining traditional single-family homes throughout. Two SkyTrain lines, five stations, and interconnecting bus routes now serve neighbourhood transit needs well. Many immigrants find Renfrew-Collingwood attractive for that reason.
Future Development/Collingwood Village
In 2007, the City of Vancouver announced several neighbourhood centre programs as parts of an Eco-Density initiative to rezone Renfrew–Collingwood from single-family to duplex with rowhouses along busy streets to increase density and encourage commercial development along Earles and Rupert streets. The plan is controversial; many residents want their neighbourhood to retain its traditional single-family home character.
The Collingwood Village community around the Joyce-Collingwood SkyTrain station is a story of successful redevelopment that might be instructive in the ongoing unrest over plans to redevelop neighbourhoods across the city. Renfrew-Collingwood once faced the unpleasant prospect of too many people packed into multifamily homes, but residents worked with the city government and a sympathetic developer to reach a satisfactory result. A new daycare facility was a welcome amenity.
Completed in 2006, Collingwood Village was the largest master-planned community in British Columbia at that time. The developer constructed 16 condominium and rental buildings of four-storey town homes and mid- and high-rise apartments. Since the 1990s, 2,700 new homes have gone up on what had been industrial land south of Vanness Avenue and east of Joyce Street. Kingsway shops and services are a few blocks south. More than a quarter of the community is parkland.
In 2011, the city council approved a rezoning proposal for 33 parcels of land east of Collingwood Village within Boundary Road, Vanness Avenue, and Ormidale Street to be developed as Wall Centre Central Park, three residential towers of 28, 29, and 30 storeys, all higher than any present Collingwood Village structure. In April 2013 the first 623 units went on sale, almost half priced under $300,000.