“really is the center of the community with a nice balance between play areas, seating and open field.”
#1 in Strathcona
710 Keefer Street
The prototypical Vancouver park is a couple blocks large, allowing for a bit of everything — some nature, some sports, some playgrounds — without necessarily being great at any of them.
MacLean is an argument that perhaps the city should have made their default park size a bit smaller.
A busy tree-line neighbourhood park surrounded by houses, corner stores and Strathcona charm, MacLean is the size of a small city block: this means it is big enough for a single baseball or soccer game, but not big enough that it feels like endless lawns with no definition. There’s washrooms, a large play area with multiple structures, a mid-sized climbing triangle, and a few swings.
Notably, there’s also an excellent spray park where the water shoots very high in the air, objectively a top five water park in the city, and overall a top 10 park for kids (though with the caveat that suburban cities generally have better spray parks).
More than all that, there’s an excellent sense of community — rare is the day in the summer where the park isn’t packed, or there isn’t some sort of small event taking place, including small concerts.
Part of this is likely due to Oppenheimer and Strathcona becoming homeless camps for multiple years, making MacLean the only large park within easy walking distance for the entire neighbourhood. But it’s also a product of a smartly-designed space, making what could be another pedestrian park into something a bit greater.
No doubt a city needs a few giant sports fields; but Vancouver could also do with a few more MacLeans.