First of all we (and Calgary) do have a very different climate than Vancouver, all that rain keeps things very green there and gets rid of any dust. Vancouver also has severe geographic physical limitations - their downtown is on a peninsula, so it is dense and getting denser. On the down side, housing affordability is terrible there. Probably over 90% of Canadians couldn't afford to live comfortably in downtown Vancouver if they wanted to. So it has become a retirement location for better of Canadians and attracts wealthy foreigners - a gated community without the gates - a gentrified, Disneyfied version of a downtown. It looks nice.I’m a big DT booster. But idk how Calgary and Vancouver aren’t seen as better DTs. You can choose our best street and compare to one of their worst. But a random sample of 20 street blocks in all 3 cities would have Edmonton DT looking the worst almost every time. A lot of that is just density, maturity. We’ll get there slowly.
We have great pockets in our core. I can give my friends a good 5 stops DT that impress. But just randomly walking around without knowing where to go and Edmonton doesn’t shine too bright. Whereas Vancouver you have gorgeous vegetation, cool shops, and sweet buildings on most streets DT at this point. Hence the Broadway plan and other cores building up in north van, Burnaby, Richmond.
On the other hand, we could really use fewer of those surface parking lots downtown and I wish that would be the focus for building new buildings (such as most of Ice District). The abundance of parking lots and empty lots is what makes things here somewhat disjointed.