Learning Exchange Walk

Walk around the downtown east side, associated with Learning Exchange

Learning Exchange Walk

Vancouver, British Columbia V5Y 0A8, Canada

Created By: UBC Learning Exchange

Tour Information

Poverty Tourism

Before you begin your walk through the neighborhood, we ask you to take a moment to reflect on why the Learning Exchange would refrain from classifying this educational experience as a “tour”. Because of the unique social positions of many of the neighborhood residents and its diverse and sometimes challenging history, the DTES has become a site that's drawn curious citizens and researchers. In the past, the involvement of external actors in the community has sometimes caused pathological consequences such as the rise in what is known as “poverty tourism” throughout the neighborhood. Poverty tourism is particularly problematic for the ways in which it exploits and dehumanizes the members of the community to be a spectacle. The word “tour” denotes an implicit separation between the visitors and the residents of the community thereby positioning those in the neighborhood as “others” compared to yourself. As you walk through the neighborhood we would like you to take this opportunity to reflect on what it means to be a community ally rather than an outsider and for more information on poverty tourism, click the links below.





Our walk focuses on asset based community development (ABCD) and specifically on social enterprises located in the DTES that train, educate, and employ members of the community. ABCD is a method of community development that focuses on strengths, resources, and/or initiatives that a community already has rather than on deficits within a community. This shifts the narrative away from seeing the community as in need of “saving” to a narrative that empowers and uplifts. ABCD is community driven and led, and aims to leverage existing individuals, networks, institutions, and organizations to drive positive change. Each of the stops on this walk focuses on a different aspect of ABCD. As you explore the neighborhood, we encourage you to think and reflect on how the organizations listed interact with and empower the community.

For more information on ABCD please look at the links below:



Land Acknowledgement

The streets of the Downtown Eastside are packed with a remarkable history, the more you seek the more you will find, but these streets are also part of the history of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-waututh first nations people.

As we walk these streets whether as residents, community organizers or as students, whether that is through an online platform, physically or with this app, there is a need for looking back at the history that has brought us here.

The history of this neighbourhood has created a visual of a dark past and present that is mediated through voices of media and brought into our day to day lives, however, to learn this history and see its past, is part of our responsibility. As we engage with the space we encourage you to take the time to unlearn and relearn what this community is and has to offer, and to open your mind to new forms of learning that may be provided from Indigenous knowledge, elders and Indigenous history and present. We encourage you to educate yourself and others and to truly engage in all forms of knowledge, verbal, oral and written and see all the assets that build and strengthen this community.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

The Learning Exchange is where the walk will begin.  For more information: https://learningexchange.ubc.ca/ COVID UPDATE: Learning Exchange is currently closed and is working to support other community organizations with resources they n... Read more
Carnegie Centre & Kitchen Community Centre Purpose: The community centre is set up to allow residents to access it for senior programs, recreation facilities, and social programing. The Centre holds arts and culture programs, educatio... Read more
Enterprising Women Making Art  EWMA launched in 2003, where the focus was to support women in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside to work together to develop an alternative form of business or employment that is grounded in their needs and rea... Read more
Embers Eastside Work was launched in April 2018 as a social innovation pilot program that responds to the gap in employment services in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood. Embers Eastside Works is a “Income Generation Hub” t... Read more
East Van Roasters  http://eastvanroasters.com/menu First opening its doors in 2013, East Van Roasters is a social enterprise in the DTES neighborhood that provides a unique and delicious cafe experience for its customers while simultaneous... Read more
Save on Meats  https://saveonmeats.ca/ Originally operating as a Butcher shop in 1957, Save on Meats has since undergone a major transformation into one of the DTES neighborhood's most well known social enterprises. With a focus on address... Read more
Downtown Eastside Central Kitchen and Lunch Peddlers  https://www.phs.ca/project/downtown-eastside-central-kitchen/ The Downtown Eastside Central Kitchen & Lunch Peddlers food program is one of the many nonprofit services that operates... Read more
Skwachàys Lodge (pronounced skwatch-eyes) Lodge and Residence is located on 31 West Pender Street. It is a social enterprise created by a social housing organization, Vancouver Native Housing Society.  The building houses a fair trade Ind... Read more


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Updates and Corrections

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