Denman is one of my favourite streets in Vancouver. Maybe it’s the seaside resort feel, drawing you past cafés, restaurants and gelaterias to the beach at English Bay. The palm trees next to the beach only reinforce the holiday feel.
Like the rest of Vancouver’s West End, Denman Street was laid out at the end of the nineteenth century. As the surrounding neighbourhood became popular with Vancouver’s monied classes, the English Bay end of Denman became a popular recreational area. Sand was added to the beach in 1898 and a handful of apartment buildings, along with the Sylvia Hotel, were built near Denman.
Denman’s commercial district arose in the 1920s when residential development in the West End intensified with the arrival of middle-class families and European immigrants. I’m not sure when Denman acquired its present character, though. Its particular mix of retail seems to cater equally to tourists, visitors from other parts of town and the West End’s own transient population.
Evening — just after dinnertime, around eight or nine o’clock — is the best time to stroll along Denman. It’s one of the few streets in Vancouver where people seem to promenade after dusk, strolling for the sake of strolling.
Tags: Exploring the City, Vancouver