Ginny Evans remembers when Heather Street and West 16th was seen as a dodgy location.
The director of practice and education at the Shambhala Meditation Centre, Evens recalls comments by children of centre participants in the mid 1980s.
"I remember one night them talking about the neighbourhood being the kind where you could get your hubcap stolen," she said.
Ted Thomas, owner and director of the neighbouring Sourcepoint Shiatsu Centre, doesn't remember the area that way. He first tried a meditation class at the Shambhala centre in 1984 and moved his manual therapy practice there in 1991. Over the years, he's seen the neighbourhood evolve from a focus for Vancouver's French and Jewish communities to a low-key pocket of wellness services in the city just south of Vancouver General Hospital and medical offices along West Broadway.
Two short blocks are home to the meditation centre, the Vancouver Pilates Centre, Harmony Wellness, Chakra Wellness, Inner Evolution, yoga studios and Back on Track Fitness, which provides customized exercise programs for people overcoming a cancer diagnosis.
"It's great. There can be more of that inter-referring going on and one-stop shopping for the consumer, but also people in the neighbourhood can take advantage of that and be more able to walk to their sessions and incorporate that into their wellness," he said. "We have public transit along 16th now, which is relatively new, also the Canada Line is another benefit for people having access to the neighbourhood, [and] also us in our little pocket here."
The Jewish Western Bulletin, now the Jewish Independent, used to be published in the neighbourhood, and the area once was a hub for Vancouver's Francophone
"That community centre is now on Seventh and Granville," Thomas said. "I used to hear, back 15 plus years ago, more people speaking French in the street."
He added: "I love working here. I love living in this part of the city. It's got a real neighbourhood feel_ And of course Connie's [Cookin'], which is great. Again, that's part of the whole complimentary healing thing in terms of getting good organic food and well-prepared food and a great
Connie's Cookin' is the neighbourhood name for Granger Grocery, which has morphed over the past couple of years from a regular corner store into a beloved healthy grocer and homestyle caf‚ serving up Korean fusion food at wooden tables and benches.