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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Vancouver’s newest park now open at Smithe and Richards

After years of delays, a new downtown park is now open at Smithe and Richards streets.

The 0.8-acre site was previously an EasyPark surface parking lot. It has been transformed into a unique park space with suspended walkways, art installations, large “skyframes” with hanging lighting, and a custom playground with climbing feature.

“This park marks an important chapter in the transformation of downtown Vancouver. Setting a standard for innovative, high-capacity, 3D community spaces, this park demonstrates how to deliver access to nature, leisure, health, and community connection in a dense urban setting – and is like nothing Vancouver has seen before,” said Dave Hutch, director of planning and park development at the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation.

Despite all of the amenities, one-third of the park is planted with approximately 6,000 shrubs and 40 new trees. Water from the fountain is reused to flush the public toilets and irrigate the landscaping.

The café building features a green roof and uses 30 per cent less energy than a typical building. It will soon be home to Kafka’s café, scheduled to open next month. The café will serve coffee, as well as sandwiches and ice cream.

New city park at Smithe and Richards

Suspended lighting feature at the new park at Smithe and Richards
Suspended lighting feature at the new park at Smithe and Richards. Credit: Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation
The elevated walkway features a hammock feature where visitors can lie suspended above the sidewalk
The elevated walkway features a hammock feature where visitors can lie suspended above the sidewalk. Credit: Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation
Drone footage of the elevated walkway, looking southwest
Drone footage of the elevated walkway, looking southwest. Credit: Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation

There’s no official name yet for the park, but the Vancouver Park Board says the name will be announced in June by the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

“This park will be a gathering place in the city like no other. It’s a symbol of connection to one another, to the land, and an opportunity to build further collaboration with the host Nations for education, programming, and artwork,” says Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon. “I’m beyond excited for the communities that make up this city to unite in the burst of colour and joy this park brings to the downtown core.”

The park is expected to serve 10,000 residents and 17,000 employees who live and work within a five-minute walk of the area. The park was designed by DIALOG.

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Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner is an experienced journalist and media relations professional, based in Vancouver. As founder of urbanYVR.com, he has been reporting on urban development across the Lower Mainland since 2016, and has also served as vice-chair of the Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee. In October 2022, he was elected to Vancouver city council and is no longer actively reporting for urbanYVR.

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