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Living with Schizoaffective Disorder

Is Vancouver's Gastown Safe At Night?

Should I take the job? It's on the edge of the Downtown Eastside,
the poorest neighborhood in Canada and widely regarded as a dangerous place to be.

Michael David Crawford, Consulting Software Engineer
mdcrawford@gmail.com

August 23, 2006

Copyright © 2006 Michael David Crawford. All Rights Reserved.

I am considering an opportunity that would involve working on-site at a company in the Gastown district of Vancouver, British Columbia. The work would pay well enough to solve a lot of our problems.

It's close to the Burrard Inlet waterfront, the Waterfront Station and Portside Park. My question for Kuro5hin is: would I feel safe walking in that neighborhood at night?

This Diary Reminds Me of the Blues Song

It recites a litany of things that "you" can do to "me", take my money, take my job, take my house, take my wife, etc., then concludes:

"There's only one thing that you can't do You can't walk where I walk, and you can't take my blues."

I can walk anywhere man. I got nothing to lose.

-- Kuro5hin's trane

It's on the edge of the Downtown Eastside, the poorest neighborhood in Canada. While efforts are underway to revitalize it, it is widely regarded as a dangerous place to be. I will be quite close to West Hastings Street. The East end of that street is vividly described in the above-linked page as a really scary place. Downtown Eastside was once where a serial killer plied his trade.

I last worked on-site in the South of Market District of San Francisco in late 2000. I had to walk about a mile to catch the Bay Area Rapid Transit Train at the Powell Station. When I had to do so at night, it scared the living bejeezus out of me. I swore never to do it again.


Even if you think I'd actually be safe, my concern is more whether I'd feel safe. My overall objective in taking this job is to cut my stress level. There's plenty of work I could do from home in Nova Scotia, but it's always been very hard on me.

From what I'm able to ascertain via Google, Gastown as apparently quite a nice place during the day. It is a historic saloon district, the site where the city was founded, and quite a tourist attraction.

But throughout my career I have often had to work at night. I expect that to be the case with this job. I don't expect it to be an option to ensure I always get home before the Sun goes down.

Even if I never got into any trouble, Bonita is going to stay in Nova Scotia as she has another year to go in art school. She is very much the sort to worry about me if she thinks I might not be safe. All the money in the world wouldn't be worth Bonita losing her peace of mind.

The job itself would be ideal. It seems like a great company and great work. I just don't know what possessed a software company to locate smack downtown in a big city instead of the burbs where the rents are cheaper.

The Waterfront Station is a stop for the SkyTrain light rail, SeaBus ferry and West Coast Express commuter rail. It's not a very long walk from the station to their offices. So it would be convenient to get to work on public transportation. I guess that's why they chose the location they did.

Thanks for any advice you can give me.

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