“It looks like someone’s big yard with a mansion at the end.”
#4 in Kerrisdale
43 West 57th Avenue
First: yes, that’s the real sign for the park.
Second: the history of the land at 57th and Granville is a small snapshot of Vancouver itself.
Farmland in South Vancouver at the beginning of the 20th century, the land was purchased by Benjamin Rogers, founder of British Columbia Sugar, one of the province’s first iconic businesses. Like many of Vancouver’s first local titans, he built a mansion reflecting his interests, in this case a Beaux-Arts house with a grand European garden.
A half-century later, the land was in the hands of Peter Wall early in his career as one of the city’s foremost developers. Council approved rezoning the land, allowing 171 apartment units on 10 acres surrounding the mansion — which the Vancouver Sun said was the “latest capitulation to developers”, with “density as high as the heart of the West End apartment jungle”.
Those apartments, designed by legendary Arthur Erickson, had become faded by the 21st century, when Wall’s company (now overseen by his son) seeked to redevelop the land again for more density. Local residents complained, saying they wanted “something that’s appropriate”, but it passed with less controversy than before.
As part of the agreement for more density, there’s now a park, one of the city’s newest, in front of the grand 25,000 square foot mansion. It has a small but quirky playground for young kids, a faux Italian garden theme that’s delightfully over the top, and all the weirdness of modern apartments jammed right next to an old historic mansion.
Yours to enjoy, in other words.
It’s a new park. But an old story.