“Essentially a outdoor community center in the heart of East Van. Great for people watching and experiencing the less homogenous side of Vancouver. Everyone welcome <3.”
#2 in Grandview-Woodland
1255 Commercial Drive
At the heart of Commercial Drive is a park that beats to the same drum as the neighbourhood: a little bit discordant, but full of heart and intoxicating, authentic energy.
Right on Commercial Drive, across the street from the Havana restaurant, Grandview is home to East Side Pride, rehearsals for a brass band, the end of the annual Dyke March, the city’s only bike polo court (don’t worry, you can use it for ball hockey), and all sorts of other community events, formal and informal, that enjoy the welcoming space.
The openness of the park to everyone can cause some tension — the park board did an extensive renovation a decade ago in part to try and reduce open drug use the caused consternation with local businesses and residents — but overall there’s enough space to fit everyone, and enough space between the cenotaph area where adults gather and the playground at the bottom of the hill to alleviate problems.
And that playground really does need to be highlighted: a comprehensive wooden theme, with a little tree hut and large stumps complementing the standard Giant Triangle Climbing Thingy and New Play Structure With Lots Of Slides that are all the rage these days. And it’s right next to a water park, which admittedly is a bit too small to appeal for kids over 4 or 5 years old, but there’s few places in the city with a new playground *and* a spray park, and Grandview does both well.
There’s solid modern washroom facilities, a small grassy space in the middle, a great view of downtown from the top of the park, and just enough benches and tables if you want to grab a meal from a nearby restaurant.
It’s not a large enough park or unique enough to be truly amazing, but everything is well executed, with activities for all ages, and it’s the product of a community that has put its values into the space.
A grand park, in other words.