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What is Genuinely Vancouver?
Since 1923, Kitsilano's West 4th Avenue has been Vancouver, British Columbia’s preferred destination for shopping and services on the city's West Side.
And since 2001, the Kitsilano 4th Avenue Business Improvement Association has been responsible for marketing, promoting, beautifying and advancing a thriving, sustainable business district for its residents, guests, its 240+ business members and more than 150 commercial property owners.
Our Association is responsible for the annual 8-block KHATSAHLANO! Music + Art Festival, as well as for category sales events as Fashion’s First Night (Spring & Fall), Feast of Fourth (Spring & Fall) and Miracle on West 4th (December).
Voted as “Vancouver's Best Neighbourhood” more than five years-running by the readers of the Georgia Straight, as well as “Neighbourhood That Best Represents Vancouver” in the WE West Ender Newspaper, and “Best Shopping Neighbourhood” by the Vancouver Courier, Kitsilano's not-for-profit West 4th BIA represents 8 blocks of the area's finest collection of unique fashion stores and award-winning restaurants, the largest selection of outdoor and active lifestyle retailers in the city, luxurious day spas and salons, plus leading-edge shops for home decor, baby & family - east to Fir Street and west to Balsam Street.
We offer our guests and our members the authentic Kitsilano lifestyle layered in a world-famous outdoor shopping experience that is Genuinely Vancouver.
Where is West 4th?
West 4th Avenue is located 5 minutes from downtown Vancouver, near world-famous Kitsilano Beach - voted one of the “Top 10 Sexiest Beaches in North America” by Forbes Traveler magazine. The area is accessible from the south end of Vancouver's main bridges, Granville Street Bridge and the Burrard Street Bridge. The Granville Street Bridge's right turn off empties right on to 4th Avenue; Off the Burrard Street Bridge, 4th Avenue is 3 blocks south.
We are completely accessible by BUS (
) and BICYCLE (
History of our ‘hood: Kitsilano
When the first Spanish explorers landed off the shores of Point Grey, they discovered a land occupied by a native population that had flourished for hundreds of generations. The Musqueam people lived round the mouth of the Fraser River and along the shores of Burrard Inlet and English Bay. The Squamish, whose main villages were beside the Squamish and Cheakamus rivers above the head of Howe Sound, also inhabited Burrard Inlet and English Bay. Most Squamish camps were used only in summer, but some were substantial and may have been populated year-round. There was much interaction and marriage between the two nations.
Kitsilano is named for Chief Khatsahlanough, a leader of one of the Squamish First Nations Bands that originally inhabited the area around Kits Point and the Maritime Museum. But his name is Musqueam.
The story goes that the Squamish Chief had an audience with the Queen, and for official purposes, required a name. But the Squamish did not issue names. So the Chief went to the Musqueum Band that occupied the area south, along the mouth of the Fraser River. He was so named Khatsahlanough, meaning “man of the lake” by the Musqueam elders.
By the late 1800’s, Kitsilano’s now famous beach, known as Greer’s Beach after the Irish settler who laid claim to the area, was a popular summer destination for residents of Vancouver. The First Nations summer settlement had become a newly designated reserve called Khahtsalano, after one of its most famous leaders. By the early 1900’s, Greer had been removed from the land by the CPR and Kits had become a suburb of the expanding city, with a streetcar line running along West 4th Avenue and to the beach. In 1905, the year the community was incorporated, the spelling was changed to Kitsilano by the CPR.
Kits’ now hip and happening personality started in the 1960’s. University students and hippies loved the cheap rents and character of the old homes. West 4th Avenue quickly became Canada’s “coolest” street and the epicenter of the counter-cultural movement in Vancouver. Nicknamed “Rainbow Road”, West 4th Avenue was home to vegetarian restaurants, alternative music, newspapers, health food stores and head shops. Greenpeace, the world’s largest environmental organization, was founded over beers at the Bimini Pub on 4th in 1971, while the internationally-renowned naturalist advocacy of the David Suzuki Foundation still comes from their head office at 4th & Yew.
Much has changed since then, while much has remained the same. The heart of Kits is still West 4th Avenue. The tie-dyed clothing stores of the 60’s are gone, but the street is lined with over 240 shops and restaurants. Most are one-of-a-kind, and reflect the tastes and sensibilities of caring, committed local owners. Did you know that powerhouse iconic retailer Lululemon Athletica started right here on West 4th in Kitsilano in the 1990s, and still has their very first store here? You’ll probably also spot Lululemon’s international headquarters right around the corner from us – just steps away, on Burrard Street.
Kitsilano is a treasure that you can relax in and explore. And while the locals may shop here, it’s also a place for visitors to escape from the usual tourist destinations and big box stores.
Board of Directors
The West 4th BIA’s volunteer Board of Directors meet monthly to plan, guide and review the operations and promotions of the Kitsilano 4th Avenue Business Improvement Association. These business and property owners also generously devote their time to various Board committees and are proud West 4th BIA ambassadors, representing the benevolent work of our entire Association to our community, our City Hall and our guests who visit us from all over the world.
Commercial Property Owner
1755 West 4th Avenue
Crocodile Baby Store
2156 West 4th Avenue
Commercial Property Owner
Suite 100-2023 West 4th Avenue
The North Face Store
2140 West 4th Avenue
1972 West 4th Avenue
2041 West 4th Avenue
2190 West 4th Avenue
CEO – Kitsilano 4th Avenue
Business Improvement Association
202-1857 West 4th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V6J 1M4
Office: (604) 263-6443
Our Directors each volunteer to Chair individual BIA-formed committees that help advance our specific retail categories and initiatives, including Outdoor & Active Lifestyle, Restaurant, Fashion, Home & Specialty, Business-To-Business and the Khatsahlano! Street Festival.
We sincerely thank our Directors both past and present and our merchant members for their dedication and service to our BIA Board and organization in building our amazing neighbourhood… Your vision got us here. We encourage all merchants to take an active role and participate in the process (and by participating, in making your business better…) by joining one of our Board or our committees!
For more information on how to be involved or to take an active role in your West 4th BIA, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How West 4th BIA is Funded
The Kitsilano 4th Avenue Business Improvement Association is a not-for-profit organization entirely 100% funded by our commercial property owners and their merchants located on West 4th only between Fir Street and Balsam Street.
Each commercial property owner’s share of the annual BIA budget is proportionate to their share of the total taxable value within the BIA boundaries. In most lease agreements, commercial property owners pass on this cost to the business tenants.
West 4th BIA does not receive any government funding (civic, provincial or federal) to operate our organization. Absolutely no residential tax dollars from those who reside in Kitsilano, or elsewhere in Vancouver, fund our BIA. Every initiative, promotion and community enhancement project that we undertake on West 4th are directly paid for out of our own BIA members’ pockets.
Governance of our BIA
The official legal name of our organization is the Kitsilano 4th Avenue Business Improvement Association. We operate day-to-day under the shortened moniker of West 4th BIA at the web address of ShopWest4th.com, Shop West 4th on Facebook and @ShopWest4th on Twitter.
Our entire Business Improvement Association membership meets annually to review the West 4th BIA’s activities and accomplishments for the past year, to approve the minutes from the previous year’s AGM, to receive and approve the Auditor’s report for the previous fiscal year ending, to appoint an Auditor for the coming year, to receive & adopt a current year budget and to elect new Directors for available Board seats for the upcoming term. .
Membership in the West 4th BIA and eligibility to vote at the Annual General Meeting is open to any business or property owner who owns or leases a class “5” or class “6” property within the West 4th BIA’s boundaries along West 4th Avenue between Fir Street and Balsam Street - for six months prior to the date of registration, or have a lease for an unexpired term of no less than six months. You must also complete the annual BIA membership registration form and have returned it to the West 4th BIA office for filing five days prior to the AGM. .
The annual West 4th BIA membership form is available to download below.
The West 4th BIA’s areas of focus are on marketing & promotions, special events, member education, business advocacy, area branding, business recruitment, customer recruitment, street beautification and neighborhood enhancement. .
Our Association has created a 5-year Strategic Plan to direct the overall initiatives of the West 4th BIA.
Outdoor & Lifestyle
Home & Specialty
Copyright © 2011 Kitsilano 4th Avenue Business Association. All rights reserved.