Aborted Plans: All Seasons Park

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When I think of all the demolition and destruction that we’ve put Vancouver through over the last century, it amazes me that we still have Stanley Park. It’s not from lack of trying though, developers have been trying to chip away at it for years.

A peace sign garden at All Seasons Park, the proposed site of a Four Seasons Hotel near the entrance to Stanley Park, on May 30, 1971. Courtesy Kate Bird.

I first heard of the All Seasons Park when I was flipping through Kate Bird’s new release: City on Edge. The photo, taken by Province photographer Gordon Sedawie over 46 years ago, shows a peace sign garden. As the caption explains, the site was occupied by people opposed to the development of a Four Seasons hotel and condo complex at the Coal Harbour entrance to Stanley Park.

All Seasons Park
Coal Harbour and the entrance to Stanley Park ca.1960s. CVA 1435-657

Kate sent me the photo and some articles explaining the context.

There were three attempts to turn the 14-acre entrance to Stanley Park into a developer’s paradise. The first was by a New York developer in the early ‘60s.

Selwyn Pullan, who died last month, photographed the first proposed model in 1963

The second was by a local outfit called Harbour Park Developments that bought the land in 1964 and proposed a $55 million development with 15 towers ranging between 15 and 31-storeys in height.

All Seasons Park
Aerial photo showing the proposed development. Courtesy Vancouver Sun.

The third, and most promising for Vancouver City Council at least, was a plan by the Four Seasons Hotel chain to build a 14-storey hotel, three 30-storey condos towers, and a bunch of townhouses.

Mayor Tom Campbell riding the wrecking ball that would take out the Lyric Theatre in 1969

This was the era when Mayor Tom Campbell (1967-72) and the NPA were replacing swaths of heritage buildings with the Pacific Centre and Vancouver Centre, pushing for freeways that would knock out large parts of the city, and lobbying for Project 200,  that if it had gone ahead, would have destroyed most of Gastown.

On May 30, 1971 a few dozen hippies took over the site and set up camp (coincidentally, around the same time that the District of North Vancouver was destroying many of the squatter shacks at Maplewood). The Stanley Park protesters planted maple trees and vegetables, dug a pond, and called it All Seasons Park.

They stayed for nearly a year.

Campbell issued a plebiscite where only property owners could vote. It succeeded when less than 60% voted to reject the Four Season’s plan. But while our city council was gung-ho, the plan fell apart in 1972 when the Federal government refused to hand over a crucial piece of land.

Five years later the land was annexed to Stanley Park and oddly renamed Devonian Harbour Park.

Stanley Park in a parallel universe

Sources:

  • City on Edge: A rebellious century of Vancouver protests, riots, and strikes
  • The Chuck Davis History of Metropolitan Vancouver
  • “This week in history” – Vancouver Sun, May 26, 2017
  • Yippies in Love (2011)

© All rights reserved. Unless otherwise indicated, all blog content copyright Eve Lazarus.

 

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8 comments

  1. Not for publication.

    The park was “ oddly renamed Devonian Harbour Park” because the Devonian Foundation of Calgary put up the cash to buy the land.

    The Hardie family was hugely wealthy from oil and gas, and were the originators of the Glenbow Foundation.

    They put up the money following an approach from my father, Dr. Bill Gibson.

    He was a famous fundraiser, and became a Vancouver Alderman in the TEAM sweep of 1972.

    Time we had a chat, methinks.

  2. I remember those days in 1971. But looking at the park that’s there today it’s mostly open space with a lawn full of green Canada goose turds, I think they may as well have allowed development there.

  3. What would we do without the dear hippies?
    I absolutely ADORE Stanley Park. I hope the power greedy wealthy people never ever win.
    Recently we had relatives from Australia visit and we took them to this beautiful oasis in the middle of our rapidly becoming ugly city. They loved it, especially all the different trees near the rose garden. It’s more than a lawn full of green Canada goose turds for sure; it’s a relaxing bit of luxuriant natural beauty in the midst of man-made chaos. I should write a poem….

  4. In a city that has people living in tents, and a mayor and council that ran on a platform to end homelessness and utterly failed to do so, it’s time for massive changes.

    One obvious change would be to remove them and ensure that they never enter the public political realm again. They lied. They failed.

    The second and less obvious change would be to zone a portion of Stanley Park into rental housing at rents that are set an no more than 40% of the income of a Vancouver minimum wage earner. The rezoned portion would be equal to the area needed to fully house the homeless.

    Housing is a human right. And, to Anthony’s point in an earlier comment, lawns covered in goose turds are not.

    1. I agree that housing is a human right and we’ve done a shocking job at this. But opening up and destroying Stanley Park for future generations is most certainly not the solution.

    2. This blog is usually non confrontational. Opinions that are somewhat diverse now and then. This particular post is so far to the extreme that it make me wonder what sort of logic would think that any public park (never mind a world famous park) should be sacrificed to create subsidized housing.
      Without agreeing to the premise presented by Grandview Citizen, may I suggest that the city and province have plenty of public property to use in your desired fashion without touching one blade of grass in Stanley Park. goose turds not withstanding.

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