The Real Snobs of Kitsilano?

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Stokke-Xplory-2013-Summer-KitThe Stokke Xplory 2013, Summer Kit – Photo credit: Stokke

Don’t get too excited. This isn’t a casting call announcement for another reality TV show. Reality it is, however, when it comes to the snobs of Kitsilano.

Walking along 4th Avenue, my smiles are not often reciprocated by fellow walkers. Most people appear too self-absorbed to notice others, whether this is due to being completely blissed out from their morning yoga class or perhaps they are deeply contemplating why they just spent $85 on one small paper bag of groceries (I know I do). Then there are those people who practically go out of their way to avoid making eye-contact with me – a stranger to them I suppose, baby in obvious tow.

Fine enough, Vancouver’s inhabitants aren’t exactly known for their warm, welcoming demeanors. Surely though, mums, whether new or experienced, should have some sort of camaraderie amongst each other? After all, many of us are going through or have been through months of sleepless nights, public diaper-blowouts, and shark-teething tots. Why not cast a thoughtful smile to each other as in to say, “I get why you look so haggard, I’ve been there, but don’t worry, it too shall pass and you are not alone”. Just as motorcyclists give a cordial nod to each other on the road (warning: severe stereotyping ahead – even a burly hog riding outlaw will acknowledge the ironically mustached hipster on his pale pink scooter), why can’t Kits mums silently salute one another for a job well done?

It’s not that Kits mums aren’t paying any attention to each other. In fact, sometimes it suspiciously looks as though they are checking out the type of wheels or cloth I’m sporting for my baby, with their line of scrutinizing sight directly aimed at the brand label. Are they wondering whether I’m pushing forth the latest UPPAbaby Vista, Stokke Xplory, or Bugaboo Buffalo? Am I wearing my baby in that new organic-fair-trade-sustainable-vegan carrier?

Maybe these mums are just wondering what I’m using to make life easier, and whether that option would work for them too. In any case, it’s not a friendly glance at my goods, though I wish it was. Please, do all of us mums a favour next time you see a (likely struggling) neighbour on the street – look up from beyond your shiny aviators and kindly smile!

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Lisa is a Kitsilano-based travel writer/photographer and mum to a teeny tot. She launched her travel writing career while working in West Africa. In 2010, she came back to Vancouver where she’s still enjoying the spectacular coastal scenery, the plentiful diverse foods, and the fresh, clean air.  Read more about her travel adventures on her website Viascribe.com.

Last modified: April 4, 2013

14 Responses to " The Real Snobs of Kitsilano? "

  1. Diana says:

    I totally agree! When I was on mat leave I saw so many other moms with strollers wandering around the neighbourhood. When I wandered to get a coffee on a nice, sunny day, I’d smile or say hello or have a peek at their little one and, in return, nothing. Or worse, a sneer. Of course, I met a few friendly folks but what you described was my experience most often. Sad. I was born and grew up in Kits and, wow, doesn’t feel like home.

  2. Ruth says:

    I moved from Kits to Mount Pleasant and it’s a very different vibe. Plenty of sympathetic smiles; especially when my daughter threw up on my shoulder in the library…!

  3. keep smiling says:

    Keep smiling and saying hello to all the new moms, and all your other neighbours too. Your smile or kind comment, even though not returned, might mean the world to someone!
    I remembered how proud I was whenever my cute baby received a compliment, or how grateful I was for every smile that came my way as an exhausted new mom.
    Because I suffered from postpartum depression I could hardly return a smile or comment for fear of bursting into tears.
    All is good now – my “baby” is set to graduate from high school this year.
    Thank you to all kits residence for your smiles and kind words!

  4. Bill Barilko says:

    I blame yoga pants and too much coffee.

  5. Ana Domingos says:

    I say hi to everyone and get the strangest looks. Why is it so strange to acknowledge people and be friendly? Ana
    (another person wondering what it wrong with people)

  6. Debra says:

    First of all, I hate it when people paint Kitsilano with a broad brush and call us snobs! I’ve been hearing that for over twenty years since I moved here.

    Did it ever occur to you that not everybody who is walking around in Kits, lives here? Ever go to Kits beach and see how many people are actually from Kits? (They are not locals if they park and go to their cars! Real Kits residents walk there)

    I’m a runner and when I run in Kits, I always smile or nod or wave or say hi to fellow runners or walkers. I rarely find people who will not at least acknowledge me when running.

    But do I feel the need to do that to absolutely everybody I encounter in my neighbourhood? No. That’s just too much.

    Thanks for perpetuating this negative stereotype about our neighbourhood.

  7. Jim Bunn says:

    Debra –
    On behalf of all Kits residents, I hereby give you one gold star for each of the following things I learned about your from your incisive commentary:

    -You have lived in Kits for 20 years
    -You run
    -You smile at everyone you run by
    -You walk to the beach

    Congratulations on your remarkably non quotidian existence.

    I live in Kits and I drive to the beach with a small child (and her stroller, toys, blankets and all the other detritus associated with modern parenthood.) Ironically your judgmental and condescending attitude reinforces the stereotype of a “Kitsilano Snob’ that you are purportedly offended by.

    But hey, what would I know since I drive to the beach.

  8. Kitsbar says:

    I moved from Kits to Dunbar recently. I know, I know, totally different demographics… Quite different level of friendliness, too, as far as I’ve experienced. Lots of smiles and hellos here. I liked Kits (still do), but it’s pretty transient. That may explain why some/many people have been giving you the “freeze.” Forget ’em. Keep doing what you’re doing. Also, Keep Smiling’s point is a good one. You never know what people are going through. Debra, you come across as a jerk (maybe you’re really nice in person?). Jim ->> funny, ’cause it’s true!

  9. Stinky says:

    It’s a perfectly rational fear of a scratched cornea.

  10. Lucy says:

    The worst is when you, with a humble Mountain Buggy, approach a bevvy of Stokke rolling moms. Then you get four pairs (eight total) of stink eye. Does anyone else think Stokke strollers ($1,250) resemble baby catapults?

    Although the West 4th baby stores are convenient, I agree about the snobbery. “Hip baby” land can be quite Mean Girls.

  11. Sheila says:

    Do keep smiling. I live in Kits. I used a hand-me-down stroller I didn’t have to worry about leaving outside. There’s a drop-in put on by Kits House at St. Mark’s Church at 2nd & Larch on Monday & Friday morning from 10-11:30. There’s the Family Place at 11th & MacDonald, story time at the public libraries. It can be very isolating when you are trapped by napping schedules. Parent Participation Preschool is a great way to meet kindred spirits.

  12. runDRD says:

    there is one point in this story that needs to be cleared up immediately: “hog riding outlaw’s” do NOT “acknowledge the ironically mustached hipster on his pale pink scooter”. No one who rides an actual motorbike acknowledges people on scooters with anything resembling respect. Not trying to hate on scooters, but its just a fact.

  13. Franco says:

    I was raised in kits and have recently moved back.Kits is not what it once was. We now have the self appointed sheriffs and lynch mobs on every block. The gossip is ridiculous. They gather in groups to discuss their displeasure with the new neighbour who decided to throw a get together and actually had guests over till midnight on a Saturday night. They cross the street and look the other way as they sneer past anyone who doesn’t seem to fit in with their tacky existence. They bitch and complain if anyone happens to park in front of their home for a couple of hours. You had better get along with the cranky nasty neighbour next door who has declared the vicinity a “no fun zone” or else the lynch mob will deal with you. They will give you the dirty looks and in conversation slander you in front of their friends and relatives in order for them to also pass on the hate. You will be judged and found guilty of anything they propose. Must be quite a job hanging on to all that hate baggage. What a joke, they pretend to be peace loving tree huggers and of course highly intelligent individuals but inside that false exterior the hate is impossible to mask. I can only wish that their kids grow up to meet some a holes like their parents and hopefully don’t turn out to be as nasty. In the meantime, I will try and see through the haters and go on to live my life in kits as I feel it would best represent the old neighbourhood and the friendly place it used to be.

  14. Sheila says:

    Check out the Kits Neighbourhood House Family Camp June 21-23 if you want to meet some nice families in the area. Subsidies available. http://www.kitshouse.org/programs/family/programs/sasmat-family-camp/