"East Village" branding irks Hastings-Sunrise residents

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      It’s not so much the label that’s causing a stir in a slice of East Vancouver, but the way the branding was done.

      As far as the Hastings North Business Improvement Association is concerned, "East Village" is now the name of the retail and industrial area that runs along East Hastings Street from Commercial Drive to Renfrew Street. It also includes a section that stretches north on Commercial Drive to Powell Street, then east on Powell to Semlin Street.

      Although the area is located in the two neighbourhoods of Grandview-Woodland and Hastings-Sunrise, the association consulted only its members before announcing the new name. According to Hastings North BIA executive director Patricia Barnes, that’s because the name doesn’t apply to the residential streets.

      "Our mandate is business promotion and grassroots economic development for our commercial district," Barnes told the Straight in a phone interview.

      Hastings-Sunrise resident Linda Shuto noted that the East Village brand isn’t the issue. "If you’re part of a neighbourhood, you’d like to be consulted about what it’s going to be named," Shuto said in a phone interview. "It just seems a bit autocratic on the part of the businesses in the area to simply decide that they get to determine what the neighbourhood is called."

      Grandview-Woodland homeowner Rob Wynen, who is also a Vision Vancouver school trustee, pointed out that businesses shouldn’t separate themselves from the larger community. "The last thing that you want to do is create a name or brand somewhere and then have the community go and say, ‘Hey, this doesn’t represent me. How did this come about?’ " Wynen told the Straight by phone.

      Vancouver-Hastings NDP MLA Shane Simpson said he doesn’t think many locals will embrace the name. "They will keep calling it Hastings-Sunrise or East Hastings or all of the things that it’s been called," Simpson told the Straight by phone.

      Barnes maintained that the name was not necessarily taken from that of New York’s famous East Village. "We’re looking at this as a vintage neighbourhood with lots of history that we want to keep with our small, independent retailers," she said. "And it fits."

      According to Barnes, the city wasn’t involved in the naming process. She said her group asked for and received city hall’s nod to display East Village banners on street poles starting on April 1.




      May 3, 2012 at 6:56am

      Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the East Village in New York the predominantly homosexual area? We already got one of those its called Davie. No one I know will bite into this.


      May 3, 2012 at 10:17am

      It's historically always been the East Village. It's the DTES activists that are fighting it.


      May 3, 2012 at 11:21am

      If that's the "East Village" - where is the "Village" itself?


      May 3, 2012 at 1:11pm

      They can call it Oompaloompaland if they want to, won't make a difference if it isn't adopted by the residents.


      May 3, 2012 at 1:50pm

      I cringed when I first saw the banners but only because I was thinking "Wth! This is isn't New York.". Now with knowing a bit more of the history and that it was known as East Village once upon a time I think it's the perfect name. This is one of the oldest areas of Vancouver and has a rich and interesting history. I think it's fantastic to have a name for this area that reflects that. I love the "East Village" area where I have lived for almost three years now and it is the friendliest community area I have ever lived in. The "village" was already here, TrueConservative!


      May 3, 2012 at 4:10pm

      derivative provincialism....kinda pathetic.

      Ben Gazarra

      May 3, 2012 at 6:45pm

      It is pathetic. Trying to imitate or compare with NY as a regional experience is just plain stupid. We aren't NY, we are the middle of fucking nowhere but that should be a strength in developing an identity of our own.

      East Village is just plain stupid. There is no village. Just leave it alone. It won't be anything other than what it is whether you call it the East Village or a native name with a series of unpronounceable clicking noises.


      May 3, 2012 at 7:10pm

      What kind of village idiot thought of this name? Just because someone calls themselves "Brad Pitt", doesn't make them "Brad Pitt". You would think that we could use names from our local history as opposed to some kind of cheap and fake branding exercise.


      May 3, 2012 at 7:19pm

      Just because somebody said it was called East Village doesn't make it so.



      May 3, 2012 at 9:44pm

      I call this area "the gates of hell".
      Because I live here....