Yahoo! Burnaby Heights has progressed to the Fraser River Quadrant final round of the CBC Best Neighbourhood Contest. Check out the contest here, and please vote for our district.
The Burnaby Heights community has a long history: originally a gathering place for the Tseilwaututh peoples, then following being logged, it was settled originally by mostly Brits in the 1910s first as a suburban cottage-farming community with an already burgeoning vibrant shopping district on Hastings Street. Later, it became more of a bedroom community for Vancouver – but a real urban village in its own right.
Legendary long-time businesses such as Helen’s Children’s Wear (Helen Arnold) and the Dutch-owned Valley Bakery (Jack Kuyer), not to mention the Robinson and French families of Home Hardware (who ran it for more than 75 years), helped set the foundation for the strong community it remains today. Other European and Asian immigrants all worked together to create a cohesive, multicultural whole. Institutions such as Anton’s Pasta and Cioffi’s Meat Market & Deli helped give the Heights Italian flavour, and well-known Portuguese Fortuna Bakery, Chad Thai Restaurant, Sfinaki Greek Taverna, plus others that have come and gone through the years that were German, Ukrainian, Mexican, etc., in turn, put a real international stamp on Burnaby Heights. We are also home to Glenburn Soda Fountain and award-winning French restaurant The Pear Tree Restaurant (which we just learned is sadly shutting its doors on Aug. 15), not to mention Swiss-owned Chez Christophe Chocolaterie et Patisserie. Today, our business owners come from nearly every continent, and more nations than we can count.
The residents are also tremendously mixed: from more than 30% Chinese-Canadians, to 12% Italians, 9% Slavic, and many other cultures as well: Greek, Portuguese, Croatian, German, Korean, South-Asian, Central American, and so many others. The most remarkable aspect of our community is how tight-knit it is, and how much support our community has for one another, regardless of where we all come from.
We are indeed a mélange of cultures on the Heights, and all of us are deeply proud of our community. It is well known that those who move here, never leave. And the neighbourhood retirement home is full of seniors who were born and grew up only a few blocks away.
This is a neighbourhood where neighbours help each other, say “hello” to one another on the street, and keep an eye out to keep our district safe.
No matter where we originally came from, we are all proud to call this neighbourhood our community and our home!