“This site was formerly the location of the Purdy’s Chocolate factory, hence the name!”
#9 in Fairview
2400 Spruce Street
If we were ranking parks for interesting architecture and backstory, Choklit Park would be significantly higher on this list.
Leased to the Purdy chocolate company in 1970, the company created a children’s playground on the steep embankment between 7th and 6th Avenue in the Fairview neighbourhood. In exchange, Purdy’s created a driveway that helped with the loading issues for their trucks entering and exiting their headquarters, another example of the interplay between commerce and community desires that has characterized much of the city’s park development.
“That’s the way a kid would spell it,” said Purdy’s owner Charles Flavelle of the name, and it stuck around even when the land was transferred back to the city in the 1980s.
In the end, the playground was taken away, and the land was turned into a winding brutalist park, with ample trees and flowers to provide a pleasant background as you walk down the path, or stare at the slightly obstructed view of downtown.
And yet, the park loses serious marks for being designed with the abled-bodied solely in mind — there’s no way of getting down to the lower tier. And while it’s a pleasant place to sit and enjoy a view, there are literally hundreds of places in the city where that’s the case. It’s part of the reason why Vancouver is Vancouver(™).
It’s an interesting place, with an interesting backstory, and such places enrich the heritage of a city, even when they’re not much of a park on their own.