New public plaza completed in downtown Vancouver

Monday, April 5, 2021

A permanent, public plaza is now complete and open in downtown Vancouver. The completion of the public-plaza project at 800 Robson Street is the culmination of Arthur Erickson’s vision for the area dating back to the 1970s.

Situated between the art gallery and the Law Courts, the area has long been the heart of downtown Vancouver and a key gathering place for residents and visitors. The new plaza will be a welcoming space for community events, supporting civic and creative expression.

“This past year has proven just how important great public spaces are to strengthening our sense of community and giving people a place to connect with each other,” said Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “Located in the heart of our city, 800 Robson is Vancouver’s next great public square and will no doubt become an iconic and vibrant destination where people can come together to celebrate, speak out, perform, connect, or just relax. Creating a welcoming space was Arthur Erickson’s vision for the area and we are happy to have brought his vision to completion with the support of our partners.”

The area was turned into a pop-up plaza during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. In the years that followed, city officials created a seasonal temporary plaza at the location, enabling the community to pilot the location as a potential permanent plaza.

The area was completely closed in 2016 to begin construction.

Renovations included:

  • An open space for year-round public events with moveable seating and tables, new benches and permanent seating.
  • A level, continuous surface that connects to šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square (located on the north side of the Vancouver Art Gallery).
  • Improvements at the intersection of Hornby and Robson streets for people walking, rolling, and biking.
  • Improved power connections for performers and speakers, and improved lighting for events.
  • A public art piece called the “Weekend Chime,” by artist Brady Cranfield.

The project was funded through a partnership between the city, the province and TransLink. The design team includes Hapa Collaborative, Nick Milkovich Architects, and Studio Parsons.

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