“Fun park, mostly on a hill.”
#2 in Kensingon-Cedar Cottage
1500 East 14th Avenue
There’s a relaxed vibe to Clark that betrays its history.
As recently documented in Aaron Chapman’s book “The Last Gang in Town”, Clark Park was once the centre of a rougher side of Vancouver (particularly on the city’s east side), a time with less organized crime and more disorganized mayhem. The city was smaller and the stakes were too, but the violence no less real.
That was the 1960s and 1970s. The east side has gone through successive waves of gentrification, the region’s gang centres have moved eastward, and the main thing Clark Park means for today’s generation is a lovely place to catch the sunset on a blanket with friends or family.
That sunset — ideally viewed about midway up the giant hill that dominates the park — is truly lovely, but so are a lot of other things about Clark, just the second park in the city when it was established in 1889.
There’s the large forested area near the top of the hill, neatly dividing the park from the lower section (soccer field, sandy playground with zip line and giant tires) to the upper section (baseball diamond, woodchip-based playground with a very inventive wooden climbing structure). There’s ample seating, a basketball and tennis court, and plenty of different paths one can use to explore the park.
Perhaps the most impressive thing is that despite being next to both busy Knight Street and Commercial Drive, the design of the park makes it blocks out most of the vehicle noise.
Clark’s biggest drawback, aside from the lack of a killer app (beach, pool, amazing playground or sports facilities) is there being no washroom.
And if that’s the largest flaw to the park, well, that’s plenty. \