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Concept illustration of plaza at 800 Robson Street looking west

Block 51: The 800-block of Robson Street and Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza projects

Block 51 has long been the centre for Vancouverites to socialize and display civil democracy and creative expression.

We are completing two timely initiatives:

  1. VIVA Robson: We have created a high level design concept of the future plaza based on public and stakeholder feedback.
  2. Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza: We are constructing the new plaza design.

What's happening?

800 Robson plaza design concept and engagement summary

View a slideshow of the high-level design concept for the future plaza. The design concept is based on feedback we heard from residents, businesses, visitors, plaza users, and businesses through consultation.

800 Robson plaza design concept and illustration

By City of Vancouver

 

  • Emerging design concept

    By City of Vancouver

  • Concept looking west from 800 Robson mid-block

    By City of Vancouver

  • Concept looking west from Howe St

    By City of Vancouver

December 2016

Staff presents design concept to City Council

Thank you to everyone who took the time to provide us with feedback about the programming and design of the permanent plaza at 800-block of Robson. The feedback informed the design concept which is flexible and adaptable so that the plaza can accommodate many different uses. Staff will present a report on the design concept to City Council on December 14.

April 2016

Council approves permanent plaza on 800 Robson Street

Council voted on April 20 to approve a staff recommendation to permanently close 800 Robson Street to all vehicle traffic to create a permanent public square.

The design process for the permanent plaza is expected to begin this summer but a construction timeline is not defined at this time.

This summer, VIVA Vancouver will once again animate 800 Robson Street for use and enjoyment by the public.

What to expect on 800 Robson this summer:

  • Jazz Fest (June 25 and 26)
  • Tables, chairs, and bright umbrellas throughout the summer for lunching and lounging
  • Public engagement events and opportunities to inform the plaza’s permanent design

Read the Council report PDF file (990 KB)

2012 – 2015

Public engagement

This report summarizes the input from the two open houses, an online questionnaire, and stakeholder meetings.

North Plaza: Public open houses (October 1 and 5, 2013)

Display panels:

Reports and documents

Staff report to Council "800 Robson Street: Creation of a Permanent Plaza"

Report date April 6, 2016; Meeting date April 20, 2016

 

Staff report to Council "800 Robson Street: Strategy for Moving Towards a Public Plaza"

Staff are continuing to work with key stakeholders on the issues identified in the following report to Council.

Report date November 20, 2012; Meeting date November 28, 2012

City Council motion: Creation of a public square, 800 Robson Street

2040 Transportation Plan

The City’s transportation plan, Transportation 2040, includes policies and actions to enable: an active and healthy city, a reduction in traffic collisions to support a safe city, an accessible city for people of all ages and abilities, a range of options to help create a more affordable city, a vibrant public realm to foster a lively city, and a resilient city prepared to deal with global issues and unexpected events.

During the Transportation 2040 Phase 2 consultation program in the summer of 2012, over 10,000 people participated . The most common suggestions to support walking were to provide wider sidewalks and more public spaces.

Request For Expressions of Interest

Project details

Project goals

Click "Show more" next to the project that you want to learn more about, below, for project details.

800-block Robson

The City is investigating creating a permanent pedestrian plaza.

Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza

The City is redeveloping the Vancouver Art Gallery's North Plaza. 

Consultation summary

28 November 2012 - In summary of the Block 51 consultation, the City hosted two public events at the Vancouver Art Gallery seeking ideas on how both sides of Block 51 could be used in the future. The events were attended by 165 people and participants worked with architect Stanley King’s Co-design team. Illustrated ideas around use of space were then incorporated into an online and intercept survey, which was open to the public from November 1-12th, 2012. This resulted in over 2100 completed surveys. One of the key findings from the survey was that 64% of respondents had a preference for 800-block Robson to function as a permanent public space, while 17% preferred a summertime public space and 19% preferred only occasional closures of the street to traffic for special events.

The City hosted a stakeholder workshop on October 4, 2012, which was attended by 22 people representing a broad range of stakeholders, including TransLink, business associations, public space and active transportation advocates, the adjacent Robson Square facilities, seniors living in the West End, Tourism Vancouver, the local design community, the Province, and the Court Services Branch. Based on the key issues raised, staff conducted four smaller, more focused stakeholder meetings throughout the Fall with youth, the downtown and west end business communities, the adjacent Robson Square facilities, and seniors living in the West End. The key issues identified by stakeholders on the creation of a year-round public square relate to: 1) the downtown transportation network, 2) the overall ‘look and feel’ or design of the space and 3) programming for the space. The resolution of these issues is critical to the long term success of a permanent public square, thus demanding a flexible and incremental approach to planning.

15 October 2012 - Public event - “A Look Back”: Hosted by CBC Radio 1’s Shiral Tobin, included a screening of the 1973 National Film Board of Canada film Chairs for Lovers.

This was followed by a panel conversation with Stanley King, local architect who led a similar Co-Design process in the 1970s to gather input on the Robson Square development, as well as members of Arthur Erickson’s design team for Robson Square, Bing Thom, Alan Bell, and Nick Milkovich.

17 October 2012 - Public event - “A Look Forward”: Hosted by local inter/multi-disciplinary artist Vanessa Richards, included short and inspirational presentations that explored how this block has been used over the years, while drawing on experience from other cities.

Speakers included:

  • Civic historian John Atkin
  • Lon LaClaire, the Manager of Strategic Transportation at the City of Vancouver
  • Jenniffer Sheel and Krisztina Kassay from the City's VIVA Vancouver program
  • Heather Forbes from the Vancouver Public Space Network
  • Matthew Blackett from Spacing Magazine
  • Pop Rocks designers Matthew Soules and Joe Dahmen

Both events ended in a Co-Design process, led by Stanley King, where artists illustrated participant’s thoughts on what future uses the 800-block of Robson and the Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza could accommodate.

These events were presented in partnership with Spacing Magazine, the Vancouver Public Space Network and the Vancouver Art Gallery.

In four follow-up stakeholder sessions, City staff consulted with:

  • The business community, including the Robson Street Business Improvement Association, Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association and West End Business Improvement Association.
  • Robson Square facilities, including the Vancouver Art Gallery, UBC Robson Square, the Law Courts and the Province.
  • Youth
  • West End Seniors

View illustrations and event photos

Work leading up to this project

Click "Show more" next to the project that you want to learn more about, below, for project background.

800-block Robson

The block was first closed to vehicles during the 2010 Winter Games.

Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza

The North Plaza opened in 1911 as a courthouse.

VIVA Vancouver: Creating vibrant public spaces

VIVA Vancouver is a program that transforms road spaces into vibrant spaces for walking and gathering.

Downtown Bus Service Review

The City of Vancouver is working with Translink to develop a short term vision for the bus network in the downtown core.

Transportation 2040 Plan

The City of Vancouver's Transportation 2040 Plan provides a vision for how people and goods will move in and around Vancouver for the next 30 years.

Contact our project team

vivarobson@vancouver.ca