“The reason I fell head-over-heels in love with Vancouver a decade ago.”
#1 in Downtown
1300 Pacific Boulevard
Let us consider all the ways David Lam works.
The downtown park is packed with things to do: two play areas for two different age groups on different sides of the park, tennis and basketball courts, and public restrooms. Most prominently, there’s the large field in the middle, big enough for dozens of small picnics and barbeques and badminton matches to be happening at the same time.
The design is simple but elegant — the big field is surrounded by towers to the west and east, Pacific Boulevard (with an ample transitionary plaza) to the north, and False Creek to the south.
The seawall-long cycling/walking path divides the field from the water, while the trees surrounding the sports courts provide some cover and give a little bit of breathing room from the condos.
There are a few pieces of art next to the water, a large fountain to the west side, and a number of places for people to enter or exit the park if they’re not arriving via the seawall.
It’s the type of modern mix of green space, glass towers and ocean people associate with Vancouverism, the end result of transforming industrial waterfront and negotiating with developers for community amenities (in this case, Concord Pacific), but none of it would matter if it felt empty, soulless and detached from the greater community.
Yet David Lam is always busy with something, from small games of soccer to the annual jazz festival, young adults gallivanting and young children playing, Yaletown locals enjoying it as their neighbourhood park, and weekend visitors appreciating it as a stop along their Vancouver Semi-Touristy Experience.
Add in the fact it’s the first park in the city named for an Asian Canadian — Lam immigrated from Hong Kong and went on to become lieutenant-governor — and it’s a park that reflects Vancouver in all its modernity, a park befitting of being called the best in the Downtown core.
Of course, those condos surrounding the park have tripled in value since it opened in the 1990s. But that’s another story about Vancouver’s modernity.