Why do people insist on referring to all of the city of Vancouver as “downtown”?

Why do people insist on referring to all of the city of Vancouver as “downtown”?  I seem to have this equivalent of this conversation on a regular basis:

Me:                             Have you ever been to The Naam (or some other location in Vancouver that is not downtown) ?

Other Person:        No, I hardly ever go downtown.

Me:                            Oh, it’s not downtown. It’s in Kits.

Other Person:        ???

Then today, I saw this in an email from Groupon:

Kits does not equal Downtown

It’s called KITSILANO Laser and Spa Centre. Kitsilano is a neighbourhood in Vancouver that is *not* downtown.

There is a part of Vancouver – a very *small* part of Vanccouver, I might add – that is known as “downtown”. It’s written right on the map!

Here, I have annotated the map for you:


I trust this clears things up for everyone, yes?


Comments |10|

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  • I rarely hear this one, because most people I know either live or used to live in Vancouver. But my husband works with people who live all over the burbs – he knows one guy who drives in from Abbotsford to Burnaby every single day, FFS – and he says that he often hears this. Even our (very, very not downtown) East Van neighborhood is referred to as “oh, you live downtown, don’t you?”


  • Yeah, I only hear it from suburbanites too. But I still don’t get it – surely these people have been to Vancouver once or twice and have heard of the different neighbourhoods, no? (Clearly no!)


  • I think it’s because you work in Surrey. 😛

    Another “favourite” is when people say they live in Vancouver when they live in, oh, Richmond. Or Surrey. Or Maple Ridge. Vancouver ≠ the Lower Mainland. Or the GVRD. Or “Metro Vancouver.” Actually, I *really* hate “Metro Vancouver” (as opposed to GVRD) because as we’ve discussed, “Metro Vancouver” does sound like downtown more than “the greater Vancouver region.” Plus “Metro Vancouver” as an official entity gives leeway to those idiots who I mention above who say they live in Vancouver when they live in Belcarra. Or Burnaby. Or *shudder* Langley.

    And another Kalev-rant; I want to punch people who call Vancouver “Vancity” in the face. Nicknames should ideally be shorter than the full version. Van-ci-ty = 3 syllables. Van-cou-ver = 3 syllables. Plus VanCity is a credit union. And don’t even get me started on “THE Vancity.” GAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!


  • I remember when I moved from Pitt Meadows to Hope, my new schoolmates referred to anything West of Langley as “Van.” They’d be all “Oh, I went to Van last weekend. That Guildford mall sure is awesome.”

    They did not appreciate my confusion, then rebuttal that “dude, it’s still a long-distance phone call from SURREY where you were, to Vancouver.”


  • This bothered me more than it should have. 🙂

    In another city, I used to pass a “mid-town baker” located right next to a “east-end bike shop” every day on my way to work, and it bugged me. I was only slightly un-bugged when I learned that the “mid-town baker” was one location in a small group of stores, of which one just happened to be located kinda easterly.

    I don’t know why they say “downtown” in the Groupon ad… they don’t on their website (http://www.kitsilanolaser.com/). But the website does name one of their main products “microdermabasion”, and it also says “For all skin types who want to […] simply look there best!”. Cringe. Oh well, some people aren’t word people.


  • Oh yeah… Groupon! I was just looking at my offers for “Vancouver” and there’s one for fucking Langley. Listen, if I live in Vancouver, the last thing in the world I want to do is drive to fucking Langley to eat. Are you serious, Groupon?!


  • So wait a minute… I thought everything in The Vancity map you provided was downtown. Are you saying this is not the case?? Mind. Blown!


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  • and then there are those of us who live *downtown* and think your map was too encompassing. “Yaletown? I’m not really up to going that far away! I was thinking we could find something downtown instead.”


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