Vancouver’s Downtown Association

Downtown ‘Couve: The Inside Scoop

The numbers are telling a story about downtown Vancouver, and the story is this: business is good. The North Bank’s largest city is catching the eye of investors and visionaries, and they’re bringing their dollars and their ideas to the city center. Companies are relocating to the ‘Couve, retail shops, restaurants, high-end cocktail lounges, brewpubs and galleries are choosing downtown venues, new buildings are in the works, old buildings are being beautifully refurbished, and other positive-impact projects are springing up like tulips.

Vancouver’s Downtown Association (VDA) invites the public to get the inside scoop about what’s happening during its next Open Quarterly Preview from 7:45 to 9 a.m. on Thursday, April 9, at the landmark Kiggins Theatre. Presenters will give attendees “inside” information about housing, mass transit, population growth and demographics, and Vancouver’s miles of bike trails (take THAT, Portland!). The event is free and open to everyone. An RSVP to admin@vdausa.org is helpful for planning but not required. VDA is a nonprofit organization focused on the good health of Vancouver’s city center. It works with businesses, residents, visitors, and property owners to make downtown Vancouver AMAZING. To learn more, visit www.vdausa.org, or “like” the VDA’s Facebook page to get updates on all the fun and interesting things happening in the heart of the city.

Above photograph: an ice cream cone from Ice Cream Renaissance on Main Street

Game Changers in the ‘Couve

Vancouver’s Downtown Association recently held its annual Game Changer Awards Breakfast at the Hilton Vancouver to recognize the people and businesses that are “making good things happen,” to echo the VDA’s slogan. Executive Director Lee Rafferty thanked the 2014 donors who had helped VDA reach its fundraising goal through the Main Street Tax Credit Incentive Program, and noted that downtown Vancouver is the highest performing downtown in the entire state of Washington when it comes to accessing this vital funding tool. (Bigger than Seattle, Bellingham, Spokane, Tacoma, Everett, and Olympia? Yup.) VDA has, in fact, brought over 1.3 million dollars to projects in the city center since 2007. (You can learn more about this fabulous nonprofit organization at www.vdausa.org.) Here are 2014’s biggest contributors:

But that’s not all. There are many, many individuals and businesses who work together to make Vancouver’s city center beautiful, enjoyable, accessible, and simply a fun place to hang out. The public voted for its favorite business last fall, and the VDA announced the winners:

  • Outstanding Volunteer: Steve Bader of Bader Beer and Wine Supply
  • Outstanding Corporate Partner: Great Western Malting, which gave the largest single contribution to VDA in its nearly 25-year history
  • Peoples’ Choice Award for favorite event: Recycled Arts Festival
  • Golden Broom Award for outstanding storefront: Tommy O’s
  • Downtown Visionary Award: City of Vancouver’s Events Manager Stacey Donovan
  • Cash Register Ringer Event Award for the event with the greatest economic impact: Vancouver Farmers Market
  • Outstanding Façade Improvement: Hurley Development, for the former Sparks Furniture Building
  • Favorite New Business: The Grocery Cocktail and Social

Vancouver’s Downtown Association Annual Awards Breakfast

Vancouver’s Downtown Association is making good things happen in downtown, helping to create a more beautiful, vibrant downtown area through projects like tree planting, public art projects, façade improvement, hanging flower baskets in the summer and tree lighting in the winter. And that’s just what you can see; but VDA is also busy behind the scenes, helping its members create a strong downtown identity, a thriving retail sector, and a world-class Arts District. But wait, there’s more—the VDA also organizes and assists with popular events like the First Friday Artwalk, the Wine & Jazz Festival, the Recycled Arts Festival, Art in the Heart, and the winter and summer Brewfests. We’re only skimming the surface here, but the point is, the VDA rocks.

From 7:45 to 9 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 12, join the VDA, its members and supporters at the Hilton Vancouver as they celebrate all they’ve accomplished in 2014 and reveal some of their plans for 2015 during the VDA’s Annual Awards Breakfast. Tickets are $25 each and include a delicious buffet breakfast with a special musical guest. The VDA will also honor the volunteers who keep the downtown ‘Couve humming, as well as presenting its Game Changer Awards to the people, businesses, and events that have made a positive difference in downtown Vancouver.

For more information, visit www.vdausa.org.

VDA Awards Breakfast

Vancouver’s Downtown Association is making good things happen in downtown, helping to create a more beautiful, vibrant downtown area through projects like tree planting, public art projects, façade improvement, hanging flower baskets in the summer and tree lighting in the winter. And that’s just what you can see; but VDA is also busy behind the scenes, helping its members create a strong downtown identity, a thriving retail sector, and a world-class Arts District. But wait, there’s more—the VDA also organizes and assists with popular events like the First Friday Artwalk, the Wine & Jazz Festival, the Recycled Arts Festival, Art in the Heart, and the winter and summer Brewfests. We’re only skimming the surface here, but the point is, the VDA rocks.

From 7:45 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 12, join the VDA, its members and supporters at the Hilton Vancouver as they celebrate all they’ve accomplished in 2014 and reveal some of their plans for 2015 during the VDA’s Annual Awards Breakfast. Tickets are $25 each and include a delicious buffet breakfast with a special musical guest. The VDA will also honor the volunteers who keep the downtown ‘Couve humming, as well as presenting its Game Changer Awards to the people, businesses, and events that have made a positive difference in downtown Vancouver.

For more information, visit www.vdausa.org.

First Friday Artwalk Downtown Vancouver

Vancouver is putting on the sparkle for First Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 5. Take a tour on the fabulous Loci Locomotive while it’s all lit up and playing Christmas music. About 15 passengers can climb aboard and take the round trip ride…starting and ending at Gallery 360 at the Slocum House on the southwest corner of Esther Short Park. So…grab your friends (but gently, so as not to frighten them). Put on your warm gloves, your hand-knit-by-a-local-artisan scarf and your silly Santa hat. Roam around the ‘Couve’s downtown and enjoy the creativity and art that make our city center beautiful. Have a drink. Enjoy a lovely dinner. And go shopping! For a complete list of what’s happening downtown, as well as a walking map, check out the Vancouver’s Downtown Association First Friday Hotsheet.

Downtown Vancouver Spring Clean-up

Downtown Vancouver's annual Spring Clean-up is slated for Saturday, May 10, from 8 a.m. to noon. If you're handy with a broom, a rake, a shovel, and clippers, or if you've got elbow grease to spare, Vancouver needs your get-up-and-go to get our downtown looking ship-shape. Come on your own, bring your family, or join one of the many civic groups, churches, and businesses that are sprucing up our fair city for summer events.

Volunteers will meet at Turtle Place in downtown Vancouver (on Seventh St. between Main and Washington). Vancouver's Downtown Association (VDA) asks that you bring your tools and your can-do attitude. Online registration is helpful, but not required; you can also sign up on the morning of the event. Click here to see more details: http://www.solv.org/get-involved/events/vda-annual-downtown-clean.

 

Downtown Vancouver Spring Clean-up

Downtown Vancouver's annual Spring Clean-up is slated for Saturday, May 10, from 8 a.m. to noon. If you're handy with a broom, a rake, a shovel, and clippers, or if you've got elbow grease to spare, Vancouver needs your get-up-and-go to get our downtown looking ship-shape. Come on your own, bring your family, or join one of the many civic groups, churches, and businesses that are sprucing up our fair city for summer events.

Volunteers will meet at Turtle Place in downtown Vancouver (on Seventh St. between Main and Washington). Vancouver's Downtown Association (VDA) asks that you bring your tools and your can-do attitude. Online registration is helpful, but not required; you can also sign up on the morning of the event. Click here to see more details: http://www.solv.org/get-involved/events/vda-annual-downtown-clean.

Corporate and government sponsors for the Spring Clean-up are Waste Connections, City of Vancouver, Hilton Vancouver, and SOLVE Oregon. The VDA is a nonprofit organization that partners with residents, business owners, and property owners to create an attractive, welcoming downtown for everyone to enjoy. Learn more at www.vdausa.org, or contact VDA's Executive Director Lee Rafferty at director@vdausa.org or 360-258-1129.

 

First Friday: Exploring the Arts District

The Vancouver City Council recently voted unanimously to officially designate a portion of downtown Vancouver as "The Vancouver Arts Disitrict." Vancouver's Downtown Association is proud to have been a part of this effort, and the VDA invites you to celebrate this accomplishment at the First Friday Artwalk from 5 to 9 p.m.—a perfect time to explore everything that downtown Vancouver has to offer your art-loving soul. Click here for a walking map to help you plan your evening, or download this hotsheet to see a list of galleries, boutiques, restaurants, coffe houses, brew pubs, and cocktail lounges that are especially worth visiting this month.

To start things off in style, Pacific Continental Bank will host a reception in honor of our new Arts District in Marketplace Courtyard, at the corner of Evergreen and Columbia in downtown Vancouver. (The Marketplace is where downtown hotspots Java House and Art on the Boulevard are located.) RSVP for this event by clicking here.

To mix things up a bit, you might consider visiting "Uptown Village," another collection of shops and restaurants on the north end of Main Street. Drop in at La Bottega for a glass of wine, Mon Ami for Stumptown coffee and housemade crêpes, Mint Tea to sample from its bistro menu and browse through its Moroccan import giftshop, and be sure to visit the open house at Main Street Vintage Home for antiques and artfully upcycled vintage goods, open late to offer shoppers excellent First Friday sales as well as appetizers and wine.

Exploring the Vancouver Arts District

VAD_Logo_R-300x178The Vancouver City Council recently voted unanimously—and it's a ringing endorsement in that "unanimous" is still possible in contemporary political life—to officially designate a portion of downtown Vancouver as "The Vancouver Arts Disitrict." Vancouver's Downtown Association is proud to have been a part of this effort, and the VDA invites you to celebrate this accomplishment at First Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. on May 2. The First Friday Artwalk is a perfect time to explore everything that downtown Vancouver has to offer your art-loving soul. Click here for a walking map to help you plan your evening, or download this hotsheet to see a list of galleries, boutiques, restaurants, coffe houses, brew pubs, and cocktail lounges that are especially worth visiting this month.

To start things off in style, Pacific Continental Bank will host a reception in honor of our new Arts District in Marketplace Courtyard, at the corner of Evergreen and Columbia in downtown Vancouver. (The Marketplace is where downtown hotspots Java House and Art on the Boulevard are located.) RSVP for this event by clicking here.

MainStVintageHomeTo mix things up a bit, you might consider visiting "Uptown Village," another collection of shops and restaurants on the north end of Main Street. Drop in at La Bottega for a glass of wine, Mon Ami for Stumptown coffee and housemade crêpes, Mint Tea to sample from its bistro menu and browse through its Moroccan import giftshop, and be sure to visit the open house at Main Street Vintage Home for antiques and artfully upcycled vintage goods, open late to offer shoppers excellent First Friday sales as well as appetizers and wine.

April First Friday in Vancouver

What's extra-hot right now at Vancouver's Downtown Association? The First Friday "Hot Sheet," of course—that's the downloadable PDF that lists all the most awesome stuff to do during the First Friday Artwalk in downtown Vancouver from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, April 4.

Take a peek at the Hot Sheet and see, at a glance, what's new and what's happening: new art exhibits, new places to explore, and live music to enjoy. Plan your evening by choosing from among downtown Vancouver's hip galleries, wine tasting venues, restaurants, vintage shops, clothing and home décor boutiques, and theaters with live performances. A downloadable walking map is also available. The Art Walk is always free, although you'll want to come prepared—you never know what might catch your eye or tantalize your taste buds!

Here's a brief sampling of what you'll find:

Above: detail from painting of the Smith Building on Main Street in downtown Vancouver, by James Dunbar