“Only stopped because I was rear ended on Oak St bridge.”
#11 in Marpole
950 West 71st Avenue
Vancouver is a city preoccupied with how you feel the moment you arrive in it.
There are signs telling you it hosted the Olympics, grand bridges giving panoramic views of the downtown core and the waters surrounding it, developers and councillors always fretting about “iconic” buildings that can grace some of the entry points to the city.
Which makes it all the more ironic that one of the first ways millions of people are introduced to Vancouver each year is by crossing the Oak Street Bridge, and seeing Eburne Park on its east side.
Named for one of the first European settlers in what’s now known as Marpole, Eburne Park is most mediocre fully-formed park in the City of Vancouver. It consists of four tennis courts, surrounded by spiky, sloped aggressive grass. There’s also a few trees that are not powerful enough to block out the avalanche of cars coming over the bridge at all times, nor tall enough to provide adequate shade on a hot day.
There’s no playground, no benches, no washroom, no picnic area, no flat grass, no interesting gardening, no easy way to arrive if you don’t have a car. Just four tennis courts. And they’re fine as tennis courts go, but there are 43 other parks in the city where you swing a racket, and virtually all of them will be in a more pleasing and quiet environment.
The last time a local newspaper mentioned anything happening in the park was 1968, when a basketball practice evidently happened (the basketball courts are gone). The only time the park board has discussed Eburne in the last decade was part of improvements to a number of tennis courts across the city.
In short, Eburne is forgotten. Unloved. Under designed. The worst full park in the city because it’s virtually impossible to do even the bare minimum one might expect in a green space — and the one thing it does provide can be found at 43 other sites.
And ultimately, in a city full of iconic landmarks, an incredibly underwhelming way for people to enter the city through.