In response to some articles published in national newspapers about the challenges and deficits visible on the streets of the Downtown Eastside, Brennan Fitzgerald, Executive Director of the Hastings Crossing Business Improvement Association wrote this piece about a few of the positive things that make this a great neighbourhood to live, work and play in.
"In the recent Globe and Mail article, “What I saw in a day on the Downtown Eastside shocked me,” Marcus Gee’s description of his visit to the Downtown Eastside is certainly a common narrative we hear from many visitors to this unique part of our city.
He isn’t wrong with regards to what can be witnessed when walking down our streets and alleyways. He’s not wrong that governments have failed to adequately address the complex challenges that exist here nor provide for the most basic needs of some of our country’s most vulnerable citizens.
And he’s not wrong that the situation is unacceptable.
But allow us to showcase what else you will see and do on any given day in the Downtown Eastside once you open your eyes and heart a little wider.
You’ll see a neighbourhood filled with people from all walks of life. You’ll see teams from Mission Possible, a social enterprise transforming lives through meaningful work, keeping our streets clean and safe. Around every corner you’ll discover murals and public art that tell stories of the community. You might take in one of a number of events and festivals going on, such as the Eastside Culture Crawl or Heart of the City Festival. You can enjoy award winning chocolate at East Van Roasters, a social enterprise that employs and empowers women re-entering the workforce. You’ll have a great lunch at the renowned Ovaltine Cafe, which was just identified as one of the world’s top 50 cafés for its “noirish, Edward Hopper” charm. To end the day, relax at Skwachàys Lodge, an innovative Indigenous art hotel and gallery...."