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The real estate war on the west coast that’s tearing Vancouver neighbourhoods apart

By Joe Castaldo for Macleans

Garish wealth. Scarce rental housing. A government that sees the middle class as stinking rich. No wonder Vancouverites are at each other’s throats.

Across the street from a run-of-the-mill Starbucks in the Kitsilano neighborhood of Vancouver is a two-storey Ferrari and Maserati dealership. Locals will tell you with amazement that it is the highest-volume location in North America. Whether or not that’s true, the five homeowners gathered today around a table at the Starbucks want to make clear that Ferraris are not for people like them. Though their homes on the west side of the city may be worth millions of dollars, they do not consider themselves rich. “It’s really hurtful when someone says, ‘You live in a $2-million property, so that means you’re a wealthy person,’ ” says Mary Lavin, an English teacher. “Um, no. Not at all.” Lavin points to her car in the lot, a 1998 Toyota Tercel. “I’ve had one holiday in my life.”

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Premica Baines, a retired federal government worker, notes she walked here from her home in Point Grey, which is assessed at around $4.5 million. She even brought her own coffee. “The majority of the people who are not living in the neighborhood think we have lots of money in our accounts,” Baines says. “It’s not true.”


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