Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Event: Car Free Vancouver Day - The Drive! (Vancouver BC)

As promised on twitter, I went to car free day - at the original location - The Drive. Before Car Free Vancouver Day came to be, it started out as Car Free Drive Day, in a community defiance of Vancouvers' plans to make Commercial Drive a widened (no parking) through fare for cars on all days of the week.

As the flavour and energy of The Drive thrived (and still does!) on cafe patios, sidewalks, bike routes and pedestrian areas, one could see how such plans would ultimately destroy the life of Commercial Drive. And so Car Free Drive Day was born.

I attended Car Free Drive Days in 2007 and 2008 and I`ve seen it grown every year. This year it was *packed*.

Now the idea behind Car Free Vancouver Day has evolved - it is to promote alternative modes of transportation to cars by way of walking, public transportation, or bikes - hence the large bike valet area at 1st Avenue & Commercial Drive.

Last year at Car Free day, we vowed to try Stix, a satay / Vietnamese restaurant near Venables. They'd just opened but I believe that we had a birthday dinner or something to go to, so we passed. This year, we tried two pork skewers. M kind of swallowed his skewer whole, so I was left to take a photo of myself eating - using my reflection in a window...the skewers were hot, flavourful and "better than night market", as the vendor claimed. :)

Stix, Commercial Drive @ Venables, Car Free Vancouver Day, Vancouver BC Pork skewer meets my mouth at Car Free Drive Day 2009, Vancouver BC

After years of drooling over the rotating sardines at CFVD, we *finally* tried some. An order cost $6, whereas the chicken halves cost $10. The chicken wasn't nearly done when were to the end of the lineup, so we opted for the sardines. Here's a short video on the mesmorizing rotisserie of chicken:

Vender showing off his Portuguese pride - Portuguese Club of Vancouver, Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC Grilled sardine plate - Before! (Portuguese Club of Vancouver, Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC) Grilled sardine plate - After! (Portuguese Club of Vancouver, Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC)

After all that anticipation, I realized that I am not a sardine person. Granted, the grilled fish were really yummy. They had a nice hit of seasoning and the grill added lots of flavour. The light Portuguese bun offset the richness of the fish really well! M and I both agreed that while the fish was delicious, it wouldn't be something that we'd eat or order. But, when in Rome!

There were a number of bands and musicians along the way. It felt everyone came out to the Drive to enjoy the sun and take in the festivities - including some mimes (I'm thinking they're part of the "In the House" series of intimate plays and concerts that takes place in August.

There were drummers and percussionists galore. The African drum circle group kept the vibes going...

...and, believe it not, they complimented the Mariachi band that was close by. Musical synergy at its best. :)

We did eat more, of course - we had an appetizer at Tio Pepe's (blog about it later) and we also tried out Pagoda Vietnamese Cuisine.

M had the meat spring rolls while I had the beef wrapped in heart leaves. The spring rolls were a little soggy, but the beef in heart leaves were yummy. Slightly salty, with a touch of vinegar to even it out.

At this point, we were suffering a little bit of food coma and decided to head home. But not before snapping a couple photos of people and their pets!

The top pick for "like owner / like dog" goes to this lady:

And picks for cutest pups go to the laughing retriever, "Millie", who begged me to keep petting her by pawing me every time I stopped, and the cute poodle who snuggled in her owners' arms...

Another great event on The Drive, and another festive Car Free Vancouver Day!


  1. So you did end up queueing for the sardines! I usually do not mind queues, provided they move at a reasonable pace but that was not the case for the Portuguese club queue. In the end, I skipped that one...

  2. Car-free days are so much fun, especially on the Drive. Love the post!

  3. I almost made it to car-free day on the Drive since I had just finished playing morning ice hockey at Brit. But alas, I drove my big SUV right on by...

  4. Love car free day...not sure how I feel about the "car free every sunday" deal. I'm sure it would be a headache to residents and business owners alike after a fair bit.

    KimHo - it was something to try. I know a lot of people *love* grilled whole fish. Me and M agreed that while it was good, it just wasn't our thing. We'll probably make it a "once every five years" things. :p

    Curiousdomestic - thanks! I love the Drive...usually if there is an event happening out there I'll drag M out to it.

    Sherman - it was full on packed on car free drive day. It made me rethink going to it next year (I've been to it three years in a row). I might make it to one of the other locations next year. There's a lot of neat "freebie" event days in Vancouver!


Related Posts with Thumbnails