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Point Grey

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Point Grey's business district along 10th Avenue upholds the look common to Vancouver's wealthier neighbourhoods: high-end jewellers and cannabis shops, sushi takeout and dentist offices, pubs with British-sounding names and bakeries selling bread according to the day. There are at least two banks on every block, there is a library branch, there is a not-too-overpriced produce stand. The pharmacy sells watercolours by a local painter.

In the mornings, people are out, though no one, except UBC students, seems to be in a rush to be anywhere else. People converge on one of the two cafes, sitting in the street parklets, working at laptops, sunglasses in the sun. Here the day begins at the speed of individual purpose, with that urgency appropriate to private obligations to the self.

Walking the three or four blocks, one begins noticing then counting the vacant storefronts alternating with Greek restaurants and hair salons, and no one can be blamed for thinking that Point Grey has seen better days. Instead of being charmed by the dishtowels hanging in the Tuscan-themed decor shop, you think, "Just a matter of time..." The half-block where the demolished Safeway anchored the neighbourhood's west end for decades is now empty. Paper hearts cut out by school children are tied to the chain-link fence surrounding the lot.

But then, seeing a doorway papered over with brown butcher sheets gridded with bright blue tape, you stop and wonder if the construction worker is also a graphic designer. Is this an optimistic sign for the 4500 block of 10th Avenue?

Perhaps the cycle of grand openings and decay cannot be prevented. Balancing on the edge is in Point Grey's nature: you can walk west along 10th Avenue through the university campus to wild deep ravines where Vancouver slides into Georgia Strait.