Holiday Photo Series: Robson Street in Downtown Vancouver

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Retail Insider resumes our annual tradition of sharing holiday photos of Canadian retail areas for 2022. Both landlords and merchants have rolled out the red carpet for holiday shoppers and the staff at Retail Insider wanted to share their efforts for those on a mission as they plow through their Christmas shopping, those who haven’t seen their favourite retail haunts over the holiday season for a while, or for those who like to thumb through festive holiday photos like we do!

This instalment of the ‘Holiday Photo Series’ takes us to the Robson Street in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia. Robson Street was one of the first streets in Vancouver and was named in honour of John Robson, Premier of British Columbia from 1889-1892. Its commercial traditions date from 1895 when street car tracks were laid along Robson Street to Jervis Street. The 1940’s saw businesses begin to move west towards the 900 block of Robson, which became the market center, and very quickly they crossed Burrard Street to the buildings in the 1000 block. In the 1950’s and 60’s, Robson Street became known as Robsonstrasse, as the area became populated by European shopkeepers, most notably Germans, who arrived in Vancouver post World War II.

Looking down Thurlow Street at Robson Street in downtown Vancouver on December 19, 2022. Photo: Lee Rivett
Oomomo and CinCin on Robson Street in downtown Vancouver on December 19, 2022. Photo: Lee Rivett
Laduree on Robson Street in downtown Vancouver on December 19, 2022. Photo: Lee Rivett

Many European delicatessens, markets, bakeries and high fashion boutiques lined the street in years past. Robson was bustling and becoming international in character, with the inexpensive housing attracting many new Canadians. In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, Robson Street’s unique retail character became threatened by redevelopment. Many of the older buildings were redeveloped, rents started to increase and several small merchants were forced to close their doors. In the 80’s and especially after Expo 86, international recognition of Robson Street continued to increase. The street was still home to smaller independent retailers, including Welch’s Candy, Murchie’s Coffee and Tea and a Busy Bee grocery store, to name a few while a few national and international chains began to appear like London Drugs and Starbucks, the latter of which infamously occupied the two corner properties kitty corner to one another at Robson and Thurlow.

Now Robson Street is a busy area with a mix of national and global brand retailers lining the street. This tour takes you along Robson Street as well as adjacent areas.

Aritzia on Robson Street in downtown Vancouver on December 19, 2022. Photo: Lee Rivett
Banana Republic and Aritzia at Thurlow Street and Robson Street in downtown Vancouver on December 19, 2022. Photo: Lee Rivett
Robson Street in downtown Vancouver on December 19, 2022. Photo: Lee Rivett
Lush and Understance on Robson Street in downtown Vancouver on December 19, 2022. Photo: Lee Rivett
Herschel, COS Browns Shoes, Zara on Robson Street in downtown Vancouver on December 19, 2022. Photo: Lee Rivett
Club Monaco on Robson Street in downtown Vancouver on December 19, 2022. Photo: Lee Rivett
Zara on Robson Street in downtown Vancouver on December 19, 2022. Photo: Lee Rivett
Roots on Robson Street in downtown Vancouver on December 19, 2022. Photo: Lee Rivett
la Vie en Rose, Sunglass Hut and Rocky Mountain Chocolate on Robson Street in downtown Vancouver on December 19, 2022. Photo: Lee Rivett
Athleta on Robson Street in downtown Vancouver on December 19, 2022. Photo: Lee Rivett
Burrard Street at Robson Street in downtown Vancouver on December 19, 2022. Photo: Lee Rivett
Lululemon on Robson Street in downtown Vancouver on December 19, 2022. Photo: Lee Rivett
Hudson’s Bay on Georgia Street and Granville Street in downtown Vancouver on December 19, 2022. Photo: Lee Rivett
Christmas tree at Vancouver Art Gallery in downtown Vancouver on December 19, 2022. Photo: Lee Rivett

We hope you enjoyed our holiday tour of Robson Street in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia. Don’t forget to check out our other retail photo tours on Retail Insider. Thank you for taking this tour with us.

Lee Rivett
Lee Rivetthttps://retail-insider.com
Lee Rivett, based in Vancouver, supports the digital distribution and technical backend operations of Retail Insider. This includes providing technical support for the editors during the digital publication cycle, streamlining virtual tools for the cross-country team and a variety of other duties which keeps the publication running smoothly.

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