I spend a lot of time with my friends in the East Vancouver neighbourhood Hastings-Sunrise. While so much of the city has been been swallowed up by condo developments Hastings-Sunrise still retains a certain gritty charm.

There are no major box stores or malls so area residents still shop in many of the delis, markets, and others small business along Hastings. When I went there last week, however, I noticed something different. All of the yellow “Hastings-Sunrise” banners had been replaced by banners that read “The East Village”.

The new "East Village" banners along Hastings in East Vancouver.

The new "East Village" banners along Hastings in East Vancouver.

Apparently the change was made by the Hastings North business improvement association who rebranded the stretch of Hastings from Victoria to Renfrew “East Village”. The neighbourhood, from Nanaimo to Boundary and Burrard Inlet to Broadway, still retains the Hastings-Sunrise moniker.

Patricia Barnes, the association’s executive director, wants to create a separation from the grittier Downtown Eastside and attract notice to a long-forgotten neighbourhood.She admitted there’s a hint of New York-style chic in the concept. “Of course, there are East Villages in cities all over the world,” Barnes said. “We’re not a Kerrisdale or a Kitsilano. This is about conjuring up a positive image for the little things tucked away that people don’t know about.” -The Province March 22, 2012

I think the name of an area should be decided by the people who live and work there – not a “business improvement association”. ┬áThere are many reasons why we may call an area a particular name but I don’t think it’s acceptable to rename a community so that it sounds more marketable. My friend Andrew, for one, is not impressed with the new name. Here’s a short video we did about the area: