03/26/2015 10:48 EDT | Updated 05/26/2015 05:59 EDT

Hastings-Sunrise or East Village? Vancouverites speak out against rebranding

The rebranding of what was historically a working class and low-income neighbourhood in Vancouver has some residents feeling so offended, they've started a petition to remove the banners identifying the area as East Village.

East Village refers to a business strip along East Hastings Street, from Commercial Drive to Boundary Road, that is part of the area known as Hastings-Sunrise.

The rebranded name came into place three years ago, and is an attempt by the local business improvement association to highlight the area's dining and shopping, and to distance it from the negative image associated with the Downtown Eastside. 

But to many residents — including those who have signed a petition to remove the label East Village— the entire neighbourhood will always be known as Hastings-Sunrise.

"Pretty much people just say they can't stand the East Village thing," said Far Out Coffee Post owner Bob Froese in an interview with The Early Edition. "We're not New York."

Froese says the East Village banners appear to have showed up overnight without neighbourhood consultation, and people feel "disrespected by it a little." Others feel the name is cheesy and doesn't reflect the neighbourhood's identity and history.

"There's even businesses that have the 'Sunrise' name in it, and it kind of no longer applies." Froese said.

Due to the backlash against the East Village brand, Froese printed and sold a hundred T-shirts with the name Hastings-Sunrise.

The online petition has gathered 500 signatures.