Vancouver Summer Spaces: 2014 Edition
Last summer, I highlighted the new (some temporary) public spaces that popped up in the city. Here are Vancouver’s new public spaces this year. Enjoy them while the weather allows.
Each summer, the 500 block of Robson Street (between Howe and Hornby Streets) transforms into a pedestrian plaza featuring a unique seating installation. This summer, it has become an “urban reef” - a series of sections that morph into one another to create a wave-like form. It was the winning submission as part of the “Robson Redux" design-build competition, selected among 78 entries from as far away as Spain, Japan, and the United States. Urban Reef is a temporary installation from July 1 through Labour Day long weekend (September 1).
Photo: Chris Bruntlett
Occupying two parking spaces at the corner of Main Street and 21st Avenue, Vancouver’s latest parklet features relaxing greenery and seating - —and soon will include North America’s first “bike bar”, where locals can sit at a table without getting off their bikes. The project was supported and funded by the adjacent cafe, Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France, as well as a Kickstarter campaign.
Bute Street Plaza- Davie Village
Photo: West End Games Night
Bute Street Plaza is considered the ‘Heart of Davie Village’. Located next to the West End’s rainbow crosswalks, this half block of Bute Street was transformed into a local hangout after introducing several colourful picnic tables. The City of Vancouver and a student organization called City Studio are currently working on the Living at Bute Project , which will explore future possibilities of the Bute Street plaza. The aim is to bring an inviting “living room” style environment onto the streets. There is currently a West End Games Night hosted there every Thursday from 5-9pm.
Keys to the Street
Photo by Jennifer Gauthier
A huge success when it launched last year, Keys to the Streets is back, bringing free, playable pianos to many Vancouver public spaces. The pianos are available to play from July 1 to August 23, 2014, at eight locations:
- Creekside Community Centre on the False Creek Seawall.
- Robson Park at the corner of St. George Street and Kingsway.
- Spyglass Dock, 1800 Spyglass Place.
- Strathcona Park, 898 Prior Street
- Chinatown 188 E Pender
- Canada Place, 999 Canada Place
- Stanley Park at the Vancouver Aquarium, 845 Avison Way
- Lot 19, 901 West Hastings Street (at Hornby)
Each piano has been deployed outdoors with a rain cover, bench, and a community stewarding organization that will take care of the piano for the duration of the program. When the program ends in August, these pianos are donated to their stewarding organizations.
Point Grey Road
A more controversial new public space is Point Grey Road, one of Vancouver’s wealthiest streets. It recently closed to vehicle traffic in order to accommodate those on two wheels or feet: cyclists, walkers, runners, strollers, etc. The road meanders past Vancouver’s wealthiest households and connects to Spanish Banks, Jericho Beach and continues all the way to the University of British Columbia.