In Praise of George Wainborn Park: Yaletown’s Waterfront Gem

Photo: Remy Scalza

Last week, I wrote about a little known but exceptionally beautiful green space in the heart of Yaletown, Emery Barnes Park.  It turns out that there’s another little known, exceptionally beautiful green space just  two blocks away, George Wainborn Park.

In fact, this one might be even prettier.  The 2.5 hectare park – opened in 2004 at a cost of $5.1 million –  is nestled along the north bank of False Creek.  Despite its high traffic location – in Yaletown, right between the Granville Street Bridge and the bustling lawns of David Lam Park – it’s rarely busy and never crowded.  All of which is amazing, considering what that the park offers.

Photo: Remy Scalza

A large, lush green lawn slopes up gently from the False Creek seawall.   There are stands of birch and pine trees, as well as a big open space that’s proven especially popular with dog owners.  Though there’s no sign saying so, this area has become an informal off-leash zone.  On any given day, you can watch a motley group of designer pooches racing across the lawn, in pursuit of tennis balls, sticks and – more often that not – each other.

Further up is a kid’s play area, with a pyramid of padded foam topped by a pair of plastic slides.  Stone pathways – lined with overgrown wildflowers – curve around the edges of the lawn to the upper section of the park, an elaborate stone and concrete pavilion that looks a bit like the bridge of a big cruise ship.  This might just be one of the most inviting and underappreciated public spaces in the city.

A sprawling fountain installation – with waterfalls, reflecting pools and jets of water – sets the tone, offering a backdrop of soothing white noise (and a spot for pets to cool down in the summer).  Arranged in a semicircle in front of the fountain are seven bright yellow chairs – They’re made of metal, but molded to look like the kind of inviting chairs you’d have on your back deck.

Slouched in one of these, there’s nothing left to do but admire the view:  the bold profile of the Granville Street Bridge; the boats and kayaks floating by in False Creek; and the brightly colored warehouses on Granville Island.

Photo: Remy Scalza

Anyone else a fan of George Wainborn Park?  Please leave a comment below if you’ve got any fond memories. I hope I don’t jinx it, but I can’t believe how beautiful this space is and how few people use it.

Remy Scalza

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3 Responses to In Praise of George Wainborn Park: Yaletown’s Waterfront Gem

  1. Col

    I used to live right next to that park and really love it. Aside from everything you’ve pointed out, it’s fun to see the dogs that sometimes swim in the fountain.

    It’s definitely not used that often which is one of the great things about it – let’s hope your blog post doesn’t mean there’s going to be a huge influx of visitors :P

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  3. Peter

    I live between these two parks — 40 years after growing up in the upper reaches of Mosquito Creek on the north shore. I imagine the small stream across Emery Barnes park to feed the roar of the canyon at George Wainborn park.

    I love watching dogs play in the ponds, and a pair of ducks has colonized the upper pond above the canyon… can’t wait to see the ducklings. They have no clue it’s just a fantasy world… looks real to them!

    There’s no ducks up in the hills where I come from, but otherwise, these spots really remind me of home.

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