Joyce-Collingwood Precinct – a brief history

Welcome to my hood. This is Joyce-Collingwood. I’m still not used to the long version of the Skytrain station name. I still just call it Joyce Station. However, Collingwood is the official name of the neighbourhood, hence the hyphenated name.

Joyce Collingwood 3D model capture

Well before I was ever around, this area of Collingwood was a lake where the Musqueam nation used to hunt and gather food. When colonial settlement happened, European settlers found that they could drain the lake and use the fertile soil for farming. In 1891, the Interurban tram opened along the very same alignment as today’s SkyTrain. The Interurban brought people, housing and businesses into the area.

As a kid growing up in the suburban southeast corner of Vancouver, Collingwood was the upper edge of my exploration area. The area surrounding what is now Joyce Station was an all  industrial part of town stretching from Joyce Road (it’s now called Joyce Street) to Ormidale Street and between Euclid and Vanness Avenues. It was home to mostly warehouses. It was also home to the photo studio where high school students needed to go get their GoCard Photos done if they missed photo day at school.

Joyce Road Industry ca 1990

When the SkyTrain arrived in 1985, the area started to transform. The warehouses were there early 1990’s because I clearly remember walking to the photo studio the one year I forgot about photo day at school.  Quickly, however, the industrial quadrant transformed into residential towers.

The first of these towers popped up just northwest of the new SkyTrain station. However, it was the rezoning of the industrial lands southeast of the station that brought huge changes to the area. Concert Properties had taken over most of the former industrial quadrant and started building residential towers there. Collingwood Village, as the developer called the new development, made the area around Joyce Station the first densified Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) outside of the downtown core.

Collingwood Village is now a collection of 20 buildings ranging from 4-storey wood frame buildings to 26-storey concrete high rises. There are 3 parks in the former industrial lands. There is also a neighbourhood school, day care, and neighbourhood house. There is some shopping along Joyce Street near the SkyTrain station, but the bulk of the businesses are actually south and up the hill along Kingsway.

Apart from Collingwood Village to the southeast of Joyce Station and the handful of buildings immediately northwest of the station, the rest of the area is predominantly detached single-family homes.

However, change in the city is ever-present. Just to the east of Collingwood Village, the new Wall Centre Central Park is taking shape. It’s a new 4 building development that took over 3 city blocks right on the eastern edge of the city boundaries. The Wall Centre, when done, will feature 3 high-rise towers ranging from 28 – 31 towers and one 8-storey low-rise. Promised neighbourhood amenities include an new space for MOSAIC immigration services and extra public space for the Collingwood Neighbourhood House.

I am grateful for the developments in and around Joyce Station. Without them, I probably couldn’t afford to live in Vancouver proper. That was 9 years ago. Nowadays, it’s even more important with $1-2 million homes in the area that there is more affordable housing available.

The City of Vancouver is now undergoing a review of the Joyce-Collingwood Station Precinct. More on the anticipated changes next post.

Further Readings:

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