A Main Street Community in Vancouver, BC
The Punjabi Market on Main Street, currently spanning about 4 blocks in the Sunset neighbourhood of Vancouver, is an area steeped in culture and tradition. Dubbed “Little India” by locals, the Punjabi Market has always (until recently) been considered the heart and soul of Vancouver’s Indo-Canadian community. In the market’s busier days, retail shops up and down Main Street offered a stunning array of traditional Punjabi items: rich and gorgeous silk fabrics with a plethora of patterns, beautiful gold bangles and jewelry in all colors of the rainbow, and fragrant (and delicious) traditional curries.
In the 1970’s, the area that is now known as the Sunset neighbourhood became home to a massive influx of immigrants from Punjab, a region in South Asia which sits upon the Indian-Pakistani border. With these immigrants came their culture, traditional food and dress, and traditions. More and more Punjabi-style retail establishments flooded Main Street, creating the infamous “Punjabi Market,” a place where tourists and locals could find gorgeous gifts, specialty items, clothing and fabric, stunning jewelry and delicious Punjabi Cuisine. Over the years, the market has changed significantly, with a large number of Punjabi individuals moving out of the area and people from a variety of backgrounds moving in.
As immigration increased through the 1980’s, a large number of Chinese immigrants moved into the area as well as other individuals from a variety of backgrounds. Today, the area is a cultural melting pot, comprised of individuals and families representing Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean and other heritages.
Recent City Initiatives and Changes to the Punjabi Market
Although the $2,000,000 “India Gate” project which was planned as a way to honor the Punjabi heritage of this area was canceled, more recent city initiatives have changed the market and sought to revitalize it. Affordable Home Ownership initiatives provide more living options for individuals who are unable to afford Vancouver’s pricy rent; typically in the form of multi-family homes like duplexes and co-op housing. These options have opened the doors to new opportunity as well; entrepreneurs and business owners from all backgrounds are excited to move into their own retail shop along Main Street. This has resulted in a more mixed selection from the market; while many of the traditional Punjabi shops are still there, visitors can now also find popular and sought-after goods and services that fall outside of the Punjabi culture and tradition.
While change is painful to some of the locals who remember the Punjabi Market at the height of its popularity and as the premier Indo-Canadian community, city leaders and business owners expect those changes to result in the flourishing of the area. In fact, some of the changes can already be seen; more and more people are out and about in the area on any given day, Vancouver residents are taking note of new businesses and the population is still increasing at a significant rate.
Why Invest in a Home Near the Punjabi Market
More and more families of all backgrounds, as well as young professionals, are being drawn to the Sunset neighbourhood where the Punjabi Market is located. From the vast number of “Vancouver Specials” – homes built in the 1960’s that are affordable and very easy to renovate – to the area’s location near all of the amenities Vancouver has to offer, the Punjabi Market and Sunset neighbourhood are returning to their former days of glory. Excellent schools and top-notch healthcare options are located right in the neighbourhood, and many residents have access to everything they need without even leaving their street.
Young professionals working in the downtown Vancouver area appreciate finding affordable homes with a commute that is less than a half hour by bus or car. Whether the motive is finding an excellent, historically-rich and multicultural community to raise a family or purchasing real estate with the intention of making profit, now is an excellent time to invest in a home near the Punjabi Market. ■