Just a few blocks south of the bustling city centre of Vancouver, you can find serenity in Shaughnessy. The silent neighbourhood full of well-maintained greenery and old oak trees is the perfect getaway from the chaotic city life. Due to its central location, it grants easy access to both the shopping and entertainment districts in the city centre, as well as the Vancouver beaches or the airport for your next trip. The wide roads facilitate enough space so that two large sized cars can drive in opposite directions. The traffic density is low so that it is safe for everyone to cycle around in the neighbourhood. The classical-looking houses, some of which are heritage buildings, are built on a fine size of land, surrounded by either hedges or gates, allowing you to have a private space. Indeed, the houses in this neighbourhood are all detached houses with sufficient space in between each house. As the purpose of this neighbourhood is mainly living, you will not see many commercial activities. Instead, you can entertain yourself in and around your own property by taking a dive in your private pool or host a neighbourhood party on the weekends. Alternatively, you can become part of the various church associations or the Arbutus club, an exclusive club for members-only which already hints towards segregation of ‘normal’ people living in Vancouver. The neighbourhood does, however, have both elementary as well as junior and senior private schools making quality education available for younger generations at the highest price. This again excludes many people from accessing such education. Though there are no public transportation connections going through the neighbourhood itself, at the edge of the neighbourhood, one can easily access the bus to downtown Vancouver, which also runs during the night. This indicates that if you rely on public transport because you do not have the means (i.e. own car or pick-up), this neighbourhood might not facilitate your needs.
Description of the greenery
Surrounded by clear cut strips of grass you will find a wide sidewalk dividing the private properties from the public space. Old trees provide shade in the neighbourhood while little parks facilitate for a rest during your walk with the dog. The private gardens are all well-maintained and neatly organized, not allowing for any weeds to overgrow. Nevertheless, there is a lack of public green spaces where encounters can take place. This again adds to a sense of individualism which is existing among the people living in their neighbourhood.
One of the first characterizations that spring to mind when entering Shaughnessey is that of a wealthy residential neighborhood. As has been described, the neighborhood is the site of many large detached houses, with ample living space. The characterization as a wealthy urban neighborhood has several consequences for the diversity rating. Firstly, as a site primarily for residence, the streets were generally quiet. As a consequence, this lack of encounter meant that it was hard to grasp behind the facades of the large houses to gain insight in the residents and their diversity. This influences diversity in some sense as people tend to only be bothered with their own household, rather than merging with other people from different backgrounds. Secondly, although it was hard to grasp the diversity of the actual people, there was one unifying factor: wealth. The luxurious neighborhood, filled with greenery and strategically located in between the city centre and the airport, meant that housing was certainly only accessible for the average Canadian. In fact, Shaughnessy is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods of Vancouver, alongside West-Vancouver. Consequently, diversity was certainly limited along indicators of income. This indicates a negative trend of further segregation of Vancouver as the entry barrier of wealth limits a diversity of people to be attracted to this neighbourhood. Instead, it only attracts similar people who have a steady amount of capital. Thirdly, in our neighborhood exploration, we noticed a high number of Canadians of Asian descent. Although this may be circumstantial, it does indicate that the neighborhood is not limited to residents with an Anglophone-Canadian background. This would increase the diversity rating as it indicates that a mix of Caucasian and Asian people are living here. Nevertheless, we did not observe any other ethnicities living in Shaughnessy. SInce Vancouver as a city attracts a great variety of ethnicities, we have to conclude that Shaughnessy is not very diverse on this aspect as it only facilitates homes for two ethnicity groups, ignoring hispanics, black people, or the indigenous citizens. However, overall, given Shaughnessy’s pompous status and exclusivity, diverse is unlikely to be one of the adjectives used to describe the neighborhood in guide books and travel guides.
Shaughnessy certainly exudes luxury. Large houses accompanied by sidewalks lined with trees convey a sense of tranquility as you stroll through the neighbourhood. It seems almost like you’re walking through a hidden grove in the middle of the city when it is sunny outside. However, this sense of peacefulness also entails a quietness that is quite surprising for a city as large and as vibrant as Vancouver. As previously mentioned, there are no public transport routes through the neighbourhood itself which adds to this quietness but may be inconvenient when you do not have a car at your disposal. You will find some dog-walkers scattered around the neighbourhood, but for the most part, there appears to be little activity. This makes the sense of community less and adds to some anonymity in the neighbourhood. Additionally, no neighbourhood event posters or billboards were to be found nor was there a community centre. Nevertheless, there is community to be found in the local schools, considered to be prestigious, and the churches that are dotted around the outskirts of the neighbourhood. This immediately shows that it excludes a big portion of Vancouver’s population as the tuition fees skyrocket. For those who wish for all things lux in entertainment, the Arbutus Club might just be the perfect location for glitzy gatherings and social sporting. Overall whilst some others it may seem like the neighbourhood is lacking spunk, for others this quietness might be very welcomed and highly valued. At a glance, Shaughnessy can provide refined serenity at the heart of the big city but it immediately excludes many people due to high costs of being part of this privileged society.
During a walk through the neighbourhood, one quickly gets the impression that money is not an issue for the residents. Luxury cars are parked in front of the garages, the front gardens are well-maintained and the condition of the houses is impeccable. Shaughnessy is a place for people with money, for those who want to invest in real estate, and for those who want their children to grow up in a neighborhood that is free of financial restrictions or problems. It seems that the residents living in Shaughnessy are privileged and that they likely assume a larger share of wealth as well as income distribution. Indeed, the discovery of a cheaper car or a small house is rather rare. This indicates clearly that these people are living in a somewhat exclusive world in which ‘normal’ people are excluded. One might get the feeling that you do not belong in this neighbourhood if you do not have a comfortable amount of capital. Critically speaking, this makes this neighbourhood less inviting.
Kind of people
As a highly residential neighborhood, Shaugnessy is characterized by the lack of people on the streets making this neighbourhood come across as very anonymous. Most are hiding in their houses and sheltered by their high hedges and guarded gates. However, the occasional person we did observe appeared to be affluent, and commonly of Asian origin or heritage. Overall, the kind of people we observed in Shaughnessy followed logically from the economic status of the neighborhood. ‘Lively’ is not a word used to characterize the neighborhood, and hence our observations as to the kind of people in Shaughnessy are limited, although the expected resident can be determined based on the neighborhood’s general affluence. Therefore, we think that this neighbourhood is not including a variety of people as it fails to welcome people who are not living in the neighbourhood. This is shown by the non-existent passing people. Rather, people only come in this neighbourhood if they live here.
You would fit in here best if you fit these criteria:
- Value privacy
- Asian or Caucasian
- Have a family or are older in age (>30)