“Too many people-watchers. Looks at yourself- in the mirror.”
#1 in Grandview-Woodland
2325 Franklin Park
The reason you might not know Pandora Park is great is because for most of its history, it wasn’t.
Pandora was built in 1914, early in the city’s history, and for most of it was the sort of non-descript park every Vancouver neighbourhood has: a tennis court, an average playground, lots of all-purpose grass. Hoo-ray.
But in 2006 the park board decided that Pandora was going to become A Good Park, and set about accomplishing that in a series of stages — a new playground and picnic area was set up that year, followed by a community garden a few years after that, then a spray park in 2016, then an off-leash dog area and basketball court in 2018 and 2019.
In other words, the park board listened to people, removed underused and inefficient green space, and added simple attractions people seem to use the most.
Well guess what? It works. The park is now packed. And Pandora is now the model of what an inland community park should be.
Nothing about the park is absolutely amazing or over the top — there are spray parks in Vancouver where the water goes higher, and more elaborate gardens and off-leash dog parks in other parts of the city.
But it’s all done with care in Pandora, from the tables and chairs dotting each area, to the slopes and trees separating each part, to the paths everywhere. Even something as simple as putting the basketball court next to the tennis area on an angle, making the centre of the park a little less blocky, helps.
On a clear day there’s a view of downtown, and there’s enough room between Nanaimo Street and the main attractions in the park that noise isn’t a particular problem.
It’s not a destination park, but doesn’t try to be. Pandora is an example of what a great neighbourhood park in 2020 can look like, and we look forward to more renovations like it in the future.