“It was such a gem a few years ago!☹☹.”
#4 in Arbutus Ridge
4202 Valley Drive
Few parks in the city have a slow-moving and developer-heavy origin story quite like Arbutus Village Park.
A lot of the city’s early parkland came about because Vancouver designated it as such, or they purchased it when somebody died, or a person donated it to the city when they deceased. Others involve land swaps or community amenity funds, quick negotiations for a company to provide green space in exchange for getting a 20-storey condo instead of merely 14.
But the path to getting Arbutus Village Park took a while. Originally, a massive shopping complex was proposed for the King Edward and Arbutus area — this during a time when megamalls were the rage — but it opposed by local residents.
In the end, the megamall became a rather small commercial centre, but the subdivision went ahead and a $100,000 park snaking through both of them was built by developers and given to the Park Board.
Today, you can walk through it and find ample lawn space on one end, and a charming — if mostly forgotten — playground on the other, in the middle of a fun amphitheatre.
In between, the park winds through a series of townhouse developments, but also that reduced-in-scope mall. As of the summer of 2020 it was virtually empty, as a redevelopment is happening on the land.
This development is slightly less controversial than before, but most of the outdoor amenities for the new buildings are designed to be sectioned off for the sole use of residents, rather than the public as large.
So enjoy going straight from the park right into the spooky ghost mall for all its symbolic worth while you still can.