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Smithe and Richards park

Vancouver Park Board breaks ground on innovative new downtown park

Our diverse population expects more from our parks. They must offer respite, recreation, and social interaction, as well as unique experiences. The design of this new park reflects residents’ requests for a park that is bolder and forward thinking.

Vancouver Park Board Chair Camil Dumont

January 17 2020 –

The Vancouver Park Board broke ground today on a distinctive and dynamic multi-layered park that will become a haven for nearby workers at lunchtime and an oasis of green for residents living nearby.

The park at Smithe and Richards streets will provide almost an acre of new green space in the heart of the dense downtown core. It’s the first park in downtown Vancouver since the final phase of Emery Barnes Park opened eight years ago. 

Park features café and elevated pedestrian bridge

“Our diverse population expects more from our parks,” said Park Board Chair Camil Dumont. 

“They must offer respite, recreation, and social interaction, as well as unique experiences. The design of this new park reflects residents’ requests for a park that is bolder and forward thinking. It will include a small café, community plaza with seating and a decorative fountain, a children’s playground, overhead sky-frames to support lighting and art installations, and an elevated pedestrian bridge that will allow multiple vantage points.”

The pedestrian bridge will weave through the park with a lookout over Smithe Street high above the sidewalk. Seating and two large suspended hammocks will be integrated into the bridge design offering an interactive place for individuals and groups to hang out. 

Charles Gauthier, President and CEO of Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, calls the park innovative and much needed.

100,000 people near park

“Having vibrant green spaces in busy urban centres is essential for the health of its residents and employees. This new park space brings a truly innovative and elevated design that will certainly make a positive impact on our downtown core. We can’t wait to see it used by the public as a central hub for people to gather and share a sense of community.”

Thirty thousand people live within a five-minute walk of the park and more than 100,000 within a 10-minute walk. 

Its development has been part of a multi-year process to deliver new park and outdoor recreation spaces for residents of Downtown South. Since the 1990’s, the Park Board has been acquiring land and constructing parks to serve the needs of the growing high-density downtown community.

In 2015, the Park Board began the design process for a new park by undertaking an extensive community engagement process. In 2016, the Board approved the concept design and in December, 2019, the Board approved the contract award for construction of the new park. Until recently, the site was a parking lot.

The new park is expected to open in early 2021.