News / Vancouver

Vancouver starts planning $7.75-M party for Canada’s 150th birthday

Vancouver wants to throw a celebration of Indigenous cultures in honour of Canada's 150th birthday in 2017, and other things to watch in council this week.

A man walks by the FIFA Fan Zone at Larwill Park in Vancouver in July 2015.

Jennifer Gauthier/Metro

A man walks by the FIFA Fan Zone at Larwill Park in Vancouver in July 2015.

Vancouver has big plans for Canada’s 150th birthday, which it intends to use as an opportunity for reconciliation and to celebrate Indigenous cultures.

City staff will ask council to approve a $7.75-million budget for an 11-day party in summer 2017 at Larwill Park in downtown Vancouver, the parking lot where the city held the FIFA Women’s World Cup fan zone and the 2010 Winter Olympics live site.

The event will be planned in partnership with local First Nations and will celebrate contemporary Aboriginal art. Staff plan to use $1.9 million from city coffers and hope to get the remainder from federal grants and private sponsorship.

Here are some other plans to watch for in council this week:

An empty house in Vancouver.

Eric Dreger/For Metro

An empty house in Vancouver.

Vacant housing

Vancouverites are poised to find out how many of the city’s houses and condos sit empty instead of being used as housing.

Staff will present findings on how many homes are vacant based on B.C. Hydro data on utility usage. Empty homes that act merely as real estate investments have become a sore spot with locals who have a hard time finding affordable places to live. 

Shanghai Alley in Vancouver.

Contributed

Shanghai Alley in Vancouver.

Lillian To

The legacy of Lilian To, one of Vancouver’s most prominent advocates for immigrants as the former head of S.U.C.C.E.S.S., will be celebrated by affixing her name to signs at the entrances to Shanghai Alley.

The city also recommends funding up to $30,000 to mount a bilingual commemorative plaque in To’s honour on S.U.C.C.E.S.S.’s head office outside wall. The city will also consider naming a street or civic asset after To in the future.

Ruth Warren plants Napa Cabbage at one of her urban farms in Vancouver, Wednesday May 15, 2013.

Eric Dreger/For Metro

Ruth Warren plants Napa Cabbage at one of her urban farms in Vancouver, Wednesday May 15, 2013.

Urban farming

The city wants to implement a uniform set of rules to govern the urban farms that have cropped up around the city.

While there are currently at least 18 urban farming businesses operating within city limits, there are no specific rules for them. Staff argue this makes it confusing for farmers and the city alike. The city wants to add urban farming to its zoning bylaws in order to legitimize the practice.

Apartment buildings in Vancouver's West End.

Jennifer Gauthier/Metro

Apartment buildings in Vancouver's West End.

West End social housing

The city will make the first dent in its promise to build 500 new social housing units in the West End.

Council will be asked to approve the acquisition of 27 units of social housing that are part of the 19-storey mixed-use Intracorp development at 1171 Jervis St. The units will be transferred to the city for a nominal price, according to staff. Rents will range from shelter rates of $375 per month to the CMHC average market rent for the area.