Marpole is a neighbourhood located at the southernmost part of Vancouver that’s known for its tight-knit feel and unpretentious vibe. It’s characterized by contrasts – filled with both aging walk-ups and high-rise towers, seniors and students, independents shops and big-box retailers. Its proximity to Vancouver and the airport coupled with more affordable housing prices make Marpole an increasingly popular neighbourhood to live in.
- West 57th Avenue (north)
- North Arm of Fraser River (south)
- Ontario Street (east)
- Angus Drive (west)
- Population: 4,460
- Hectares: 559
- Age groups:
- 19 and under: 16.5%
- 20-39: 31.1%
- 40-64: 37.0%
- 65 and over: 15.5%
- Number of private households: 10,875
- Average size of household: 2.2
- Medium household income: $53,782
- Language: 37.9% of residents’ mother tongue is English.
Source: 2016 Census
Marpole has a rich history that stretches back thousands of years. In fact, archaeologists have found evidence that Marpole was inhabited as far back as 3500 B.C, making it one of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhoods.
The Marpole area has been occupied for thousands of years by the Coastal Salish peoples. Evidence of Musqueam settlements can be found in the remains of the Marpole Midden, which extends from 70th Avenue to the Fraser River. Marpole was settled by non-natives in the 1860s and 70s and called “Eburne Station” after Harry Eburne, the area’s first storekeeper and postmaster. At that time, it was a small town separated from the rest of the city by many miles of forest.
At the turn of the 20th century, Eburne was thriving with the construction of the Vancouver Lulu Island Railway and the BC Electric interurban train line. Business people quickly took note of the riverfront’s potential and Marpole became a neighbourhood of sawmills and canneries.
By 1929, when the community amalgamated with Vancouver, Marpole had become one of the city’s major industrial centres. When the Oak Street Bridge opened in 1957, the historic business district along Hudson and Marine suffered a serious decline as much of the traffic shifted east.
In the 1960s, the area south of 70th was rezoned and low-rise walk-ups began to replace the original homes. In 1975, when the Arthur Laing Bridge opened to airport traffic, commercial activity focused once again on Granville Street.
In Marpole, you’ll find a mix of residential housing (including single-family dwellings and low-rise apartments) along with a variety of rental accommodation. About 50% of dwellings are apartments less than five storeys, 20% are single-detached houses, 11% are detached duplexes and 9% are apartments five storeys or more. This diversity in accommodation reveals itself in diversity of neighbours: Marpole attracts students, seniors, newcomers and young families.
Over the last few years, there have been many new high-rise developments, like the tower above Safeway at Granville and 70th.
Since Marpole’s busy thoroughfares make it a high traffic area, it’s less expensive than most other areas of the city. Current Marpole MLS stats indicate an average house price of $1.7 million. The average rent of an apartment in Marpole is $1,113.
Marpole has received a lot of attention in the news lately. The City of Vancouver recently unveiled a modular housing development for the homeless in the area. The units will provide accommodation to 78 people who are currently living on the street or in shelters. At 250 sq. ft, they offer a small kitchen and bathroom with a shower stall. The project has drawn the ire of many local residents, who argue that the homes are being built across the street from two schools. They are slated to open February 2018.
There’s plenty of parks and green space in Marpole. Winona park is the largest in the area and boasts three terraced fields for football, rugby and frisbee, along with a beautiful view of the Fraser River.
Located at 59th and Oak Street, the Marpole-Oakridge Community Centre is the city’s oldest community centre (it opened in 1949) and offers childcare facilities as well as amenities like a fitness centre, racquet courses and saunas.
The Vancouver Parks Boast recently approved a new outdoor pool at the Marpole Community Centre. A plan for a new community centre is currently in the works, too.
Marpole is also known for it’s selection of golf courses – minutes away, you’ll find Langara Golf Course, McCleery Golf Course and Point Grey Golf and Country Club.
Shops and restaurants
Granville Street serves as the main neighbourhood centre for Marpole, and is packed with a variety of coffee shops, restaurants, banks and clothing stores. The street has mostly smaller, independent shops but there are also larger chains, like Safeway.
Did you know? White Spot, Vancouver’s own popular chain of hamburger restaurants, opened its first location in Marpole in 1928. The original building, located on 67th Avenue and Granville Street, closed permanently after a fire in 1988.
Marpole is known for its top-ranked schools, including:
- Sir Wilfrid Laurier Elementary
- David Lloyd George Elementary
- Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School
Marpole is well-served by major arteries running through the community and public transit, with almost all TransLink buses going to the Lower Mainland’s southern suburbs passing through Marpole. Marpole also boasts several Canada Line SkyTrain stations.
While being close to the Oak and Arthur Laing Bridges mean it’s easy to get around, it also means traffic jams are common in the area.
What’s next for Marpole?
The City of Vancouver revealed a plan to guide growth and change the neighbourhood over the next 30 years. Here’s what’s in store:
- 9,500 new jobs
- 478 new childcare spaces
- 10-acre waterfront park
- Renewal of four facilities: community centre, library, neighbourhood house and family place
- Better walking and cycling routes
We hope you enjoyed this snapshot of Marpole! If you want to know more about their neighbourhood, or any other areas in Vancouver, drop us a line.