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Hastings Park is the City of Vancouver’s second largest park at 66 hectares. This area (as well as all of Vancouver) is on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh.
Since being redeveloped from its traditional uses into park land by the City of Vancouver, it has served as a venue for public events such as horse racing, concerts, professional sports, the Hobiyee Nisga’a New Year Celebration, the annual summer Fair and the Truth and Reconciliation National event.
Unceded means that First Nations people did not give up land or legally sign it away to Britain or Canada. Vancouver and 95 percent of BC are on unceded First Nations land. In many parts of Canada, treaties were signed with First Nations that gave incoming settlers rights to much of the land, but in BC very few treaties were signed.
Want to learn more? Read First Peoples: A Guide for Newcomers PDF file (5.4 MB)
A walk in the southwest corner of Hastings Park near Renfrew Street is a fantastic way to experience the rich diversity of this expansive and evolving public space. Hastings Park has a variety of different attractions including theme and commemorative gardens, notable buildings, and a stream covered over by settler development for more than 50 years.
This area was an important site for the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. An area such as this would have seen a large number of people due to its proximity to both the north and south shores. You can see a variety of diving and dabbling ducks, Canada geese and a hundred other bird species here all year.
This walk is wheelchair accessible. Paths include a mixture of pavement and wooden boardwalks.
Points of interest
- Hastings Community Centre
- Hastings Park
- Chief Dan George Welcome Pole
- Niiji Bineshiinh
- Christopher Columbus
- Young Artist Warriors
- McGill Park
Hastings Community Centre
Hastings Community Centre was opened in 1956 after extensive fundraising efforts. It serves the Hastings-Sunrise Community by offering a wide variety of recreational programs and events. The Centre is located in Hastings Community Park: one of Vancouver’s oldest parks. This park boasts a wealth of amenities for both children and adults. A highlight is the new children’s spray park. In the summer, shrieks from the adjacent Pacific National Exhibition help create a festive atmosphere.
After only a few years, the lake, water plants, islands and still-fragile landscaping are attracting birds into the Park. Local renowned naturalist Al Grass, along with a number of avid bird watchers, has confirmed sightings of 106 species. They include everything from songbirds like the common yellowthroat, to a variety of sea birds such as Caspian terns. The Sanctuary represents the beginning of the greening efforts in the Park, and it is already a fantastic success!
For many years the Pacific Coliseum was the city’s largest indoor venue for sports and entertainment, accommodating close to 18,000 people. W. K. Noppe designed the building in 1966 to 1967 and its simple geometric shape and distinctive ring of white panels classify it as formalist architecture. In 2010, the Pacific Coliseum was the competition site for figure skating and short track speed skating events for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
It was also host to the Truth and Reconciliation National Event which included survivors speaking about the effects of residential schools on their lives, private statement gathering, educational sessions for the public, film screenings, musical performances, healing ceremonies, and many other important events.
Learn more about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission External website, opens in new tab
The PNE Forum is home for Hoobiyee (pronounced in English as Ho-be-yeh), the Nisga’a New Year Celebration in February each year. All are welcome.
Learn more about the Hoobiyee New Year Celebration External website, opens in new tab
The Momiji Garden offers a more subtly-disciplined choice of plantings, shading, placement and elevations. It was completed in 1993 and, along with the plaques that are now placed in the park, it acknowledges the Hastings Park internment camp which took over 8000 Japanese Canadians and held them against their will in these buildings.
Chief Dan George Welcome Pole
Chief Dan George Welcome Pole
Artist: Zac George, Tsleil-Waututh
Location: Pacific Coliseum, 100 North Renfrew Street
This pole honours Zac George's grandfather, Chief Dan George. He was chief of Tsleil-Waututh First Nation as well as an author and Academy Award-nominated actor.
Chief Dan George is descended from the wolf clan. The wolf is a particularly important animal to the Tsleil-Waututh people according to their traditional story of origin. The carving features a killer whale, an animal honoured by the Tsleil-Waututh people. In times past, the killer whale would travel freely through the waters of the Burrard Inlet, part of the traditional territory of the Tsleil-Waututh, who are known as the “people of the Inlet.”
- Watch Lament for Confederation - Chief Dan George 1967 (video, 6:16) External website, opens in new tab
- Read Lament for Confederation - a speech by Chief Dan George in 1967 External website, opens in new tab
- Learn about the Tsleil-Waututh Nation External website, opens in new tab
Niiji Bineshiinh: Mother, Friend, Small Bird
Artist: Donald Chrétien
Location: Pacific Coliseum, 2901 E Hastings Street
Ojibwe artist Donald Chrétien created this piece for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The clear cast vinyl panels reflect the relationship between the physical and spiritual worlds.
Above the depiction of Turtle Island is the Thunderbird. It reminds people to give thanks for all the things we take and use, and to replenish and respect our resources. At the bottom of the image is a turtle that represents Turtle Island — an Indigenous name for North America. The many animals in the image indicate harmony among creatures, and their innards are exposed, showing their strength.
Location: Il Giardino Italiano, Renfrew St. at Pandora St.
This is a commemorative statue that represents Christopher Columbus as a boy. It originally sat in a small square at Clark Street and 5th Avenue but now resides in Hastings Park. The statue was erected in memory of the Honourable Angelo E. Branca, QC on October 11, 1986.
Christopher Columbus lived from 1451 to 1506. He was an Italian explorer, navigator, and colonizer. You might want to take a moment to consider the effect colonization has had on this area.
Young Artist Warriors
Young Artist Warriors
Artist: Jeska Slater and young artists
Location: 2026 Wall Street, north of Dundas Street
Over the past 8 months Young Artist Warriors has facilitated a number of different artist workshops to youth ages 6 to 24 to complete the mural at 2026 Wall Street. All aspects of the program were free and included nutritious meals for the youth and volunteers. Britannia Community Centre graciously partnered with Young Artist Warriors on this project. They and provided great storage and workspaces for these workshops to take place.
14 sessions were held in which youth were mentored to create their own large-scale works featured in the mural. Jeska Slater painted portraits of each of the youth artists that were working to complete a large-scale piece. The portraits and the youth's original work are displayed side by side. This meant to be a celebration—of the youth themselves, their artistic accomplishments, and their commitment to their community.
Artists: Sarah White and Wendy Oberlander
Location: 2305 McGill Street
Unique benches, tables, and pebble mosaics are scattered along the path in this small corner park. The artists generated ideas through workshops and an on-site design event. One of the pieces features a Medicine Wheel.
“Medicine wheels represent the alignment and continuous interaction of the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual realities. The circle shape represents the interconnectivity of all aspects of one’s being, including the connection with the natural world. Medicine wheels are frequently believed to be the circle of awareness of the individual self; the circle of knowledge that provides the power we each have over our own lives.”
Learn more about the Medicine Wheel External website, opens in new tab