“I had so much anxiety walking around this park because there were duck and geese excrements all over the place. All I could think of was how I had to walk into my apartment with my shoes later on and I just felt so uneasy the entire time.”
#1 in Sunset
5955 Ross Street
It’s the best park in southeast Vancouver, probably the best sports-focused park in the city, and certainly the stoutest of Vancouver’s Big Stout Sports Fields.
Let’s add up what Memorial Park has to offer: a bunch of soccer fields and baseball diamonds — some of which are lit up, including one large dedicated diamond that’s one of the best in the city — tennis courts and a ball hockey court, a field hockey pitch and a cricket pitch, a playground and a wading pool, washrooms and a field house, a little forest and a little marshy pond area, and some fitness equipment.
And that’s not including the most dominant feature of the park: a big running track, one of the best in the city, anchoring it all.
That’s a lot of stuff! More than any other park in the city except Stanley! One way of demonstrating this is by saying Memorial Park South is Vancouver’s only park with washrooms, a cricket pitch and a field hockey pitch. It’s also the only park in the city with baseball fields, a ball hockey court and a running track. Or the only one with lighted fields, picnic sites with a BBQ, and a place for lacrosse.
If all Memorial South had was endless variety, it would be good enough. But that space means it’s a gathering ground for a large number of events from Vancouver’s diverse eastside communities, and the pond and forest area provide some quiet reprise. The road bisecting half the park leads to a cenotaph that remembers those who served in the war, and it provides symmetry to the space (not to mention more parking in an area less served by transit).
In short, it’s a well laid out park, lacking in pretty much nothing (except a basketball court), and is frequented by people of all ages.
There is room to quibble: the playground appears to be a remnant from a time in the 1980s where the city put up a single wooden structure with slides on top of some gravelly sand and called it a day. And the southeast corner of basic grass on the other side of the forest seems weirdly forgotten.
Overall though, Memorial Park South shows that a sports-focused park can be more than a few fields and a washroom.
Sometimes much more.