#79: Strathcona Park

“Plenty of things to do at this big greenspace.”

#2 in Strathcona

857 Malkin Avenue

For Kids


For Adults






Final Score


The story of Strathcona Park is one of change from its very beginnings: it was the site of the city’s main dump for a number of decades, before community outcry forced the city to move the dump and make it a park. 

It was built on top of the old landfill in the 1940s and called “False Creek Park”, back when there were people alive who remembered how False Creek originally continued well past Main Street, before it was filled to create industrial and railroad space. 

It was then renamed to Strathcona in the 1970s, had its two community gardens developed in the 80s and 90s, and had extensive upgrades in the 2000s. It’s regularly been a place in flux, it’s always been a centre of the community, it’s been home to controversies over homeless people in the past and will probably be again. 

But today? After a multi-million dollar cleanup effort following a year-long tent encampment? It’s big enough to do just about anything, with basketball and tennis courts, ample field space, washrooms and an older-but-adequate playground.

The real highlight is the two community gardens on the south side: the Strathcona Community Garden to the west is fairly standard but has some lovely sitting areas, but the Cottonwood Community Garden to the east winds around trees, has a variety of different themed areas, and feels completely removed from the city. 

There are so many separate paths and little secrets in both of Strathcona’s community gardens that it seems like shade to merely refer to them as community gardens, to be honest.

If you take away the very excellent community gardens though, what you’re left with is a park that feels a little bit dated: the playground is of the chunky plastic structures less interesting to kids today, there’s no real internal routing around the park, and there’s not much differentiation between the off-leash dog park and the endless fields surrounding it.

Perhaps one day a full modernization of Strathcona will be the next chapter in its story of change. For now though, we can only see a park that is very big, with enough to do, but not fully living up to its potential.

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