We are excited to announce that 610 photographs from the Vancouver Legacies Program records series are now available online.
The Vancouver Legacies Program was initiated by City Council in 1985 to prepare Vancouver for hosting the upcoming Centennial celebrations and Expo ’86 festivities.
In the words of Mayor Mike Harcourt, the purpose of the Vancouver Legacies Program was “to embellish our city with a fine collection of legacies in honor of our 1986 Centennial.”
The objectives of the Vancouver Legacies Program were:
- To identify improvements needed to enhance the environment of Vancouver
- To facilitate private sponsorships to fund the improvements
- To implement legacy projects once funding was in place
Mayor Harcourt appointed the Vancouver Legacies Program Advisory Committee to oversee the Program, which was managed by City planner Larry Beasley. Members of the Advisory Committee were Mayor Michael Harcourt (chairman), Gordon Campbell (co-chairman), Marguerite Ford, Bruce Yorke, Allan Bennett, Michael Francis and “a panel of distinguished Vancouver citizens.”
The program aimed to raise money to support over 50 public improvement projects. The committee approached this goal by dividing sponsorship into two parts:
- Seeking corporate sponsorship for large projects
- Reaching out to individual citizens through the Vancouver Gifts Program for smaller contributions and specific donations such as equipment, furnishings or volunteer time
Between 1985 and 1987 the Vancouver Legacies program successfully completed 27 projects. The projects were planned for busy pedestrian and vehicular routes, especially those that were used as gateways to the downtown area. The following photographs depict some of these projects.
Restoration of the Burrard Bridge
The Burrard Bridge opened in 1932 and is an example of art deco style. The Vancouver Legacies program aimed to revive the bridge by cleaning the piers, reconditioning the art deco lanterns, restoring the lookout vestibules, and painting the entire structure to highlight its embellishments.
Building the Portal Park Pavilion
The Portal Park Pavilion was built as a part of the Vancouver Legacies Program at the foot of Thurlow Street. The structure was built with pre-cast concrete steel and a glass pavilion. The Legacies program also funded a feature garden to bring seasonal colour to the downtown area.
Installation of a Dog and People Drinking Fountain
Also known as the Galloway fountain, sponsored by Theresa Galloway through the Vancouver Gifts Program, the Dog and People Drinking Fountain was built on Robson Street between Hornby and Burrard Streets.
Queen Elizabeth Theatre Signboards
The Vancouver Legacies program raised funds to construct two signboards for the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and the Vancouver Playhouse. The main sign was a computerized electronic message board to be programmed by Civic Theatre staff at Georgia and Hamilton Streets. The other sign was located at Dunsmuir and Hamilton Streets and used hand-changed letters. The Bank of Montreal was one of the main sponsors of this project.
English Bay Bathhouse Exterior Restoration
The restoration of the English Bay Bathhouse included repair and painting of exterior walls, new lighting and beautification of the street-level roof deck and railings. Funds raised for the project included the proceeds from the sale of Centennial Swirl ice cream: mint, mango and papaya swirl in a lemon sorbet!
English Bay Fishing Pier at Stanley Park
The Vancouver Legacies Program proposed to build a new pier at English Bay. Building upon the success of the Jericho Pier and nostalgia for the old English Bay Pier, the Legacies Program saw a new pier as a place for city dwellers to fish, swim and have fun. The proposal was met with some disagreement and as far as the records show never went past the community consultation phase. The photographs below show the Jericho Pier, not a Vancouver Legacies project. One of the photographs of the Jericho Pier was used in the Vancouver Legacies Program Catalogue.
Although none of the Expo ’86 structures were funded through the Legacies Program, there are many photographs showing the grounds and buildings, including this one of the McDonald’s Barge.
Many of the Vancouver Legacies projects such as the Flame for Peace Monument can still be seen today. We even have a video of a Kitsilano NTV broadcast showing the lighting of the first flame called Message for Peace: The Lighting of the Peace Flame Monument. This video is under third party copyright, but is viewable for research purposes in person in our reading room.
Next time you are out and about see if you can spot any of Vancouver’s Legacies!