Spacemakeplace is very interested in Vancouver’s hidden streams. Check out this short video article by CBC’s Uytae Lee about the history of some Vancouver’s urban streams and daylighting initiatives around the world. For more information about Vancouver’s streams see our blog post Lost Streams of Vancouver .
Streams are nature's way of handling rain. About 50 of them used to run through Vancouver, but most were considered a nuisance and buried underground.It might be time to bring them back, says CBC Early Edition columnist Uytae Lee.More: www.cbc.ca/1.5111383Video: Uytae Lee/CBC Creator Network
Posted by CBC Vancouver on Thursday, April 25, 2019
“The [Burrard] Inlet and Indian Arm have been a source of sustenance for the Tsleil-Waututh people since time out of mind. Our Elders taught us that when the tide went out, the table was set. Industrial development over the past 75 years has made it impossible for our children to enjoy the natural resources that our grandmothers and grandfathers enjoyed.” – Chief Leah George-Wilson of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation
BOUNTY is a public art proposal by spacemakeplace inspired by a quote from Chief Leah George-Wilson of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. Her people have lived on the shores around Burrard Inlet for millennia. BOUNTY is intended to honor the commitment and spirit of many local communities situated in Vancouver, especially around Burrard Inlet, who are stewards of our waters, air and land.
BOUNTY abstracts a Littleneck Clam, native to Burrard Inlet, by enlarging it to the size of seating and then casting it in white Ductal®, an ultra-high performance concrete. Ductal® has a fine, shell-like finish and can render realistic detail but is incredibly resilient to hostile environments and so is a perfect material for use in public art where tactility and durability are important.
The outsize proportion of the clam sculpture signifies the abundance, or BOUNTY of seafood that a clean and healthy Burrard Inlet can provide. Three clams are proposed to be clustered in a public plaza in Port Moody, BC. as a monument to this important body of water.
The land now known as Alberta, has been occupied by people for around 8,000 years. Until less than 150 years ago only the sky and the North Saskatchewan River dominated the views across the sweeping prairie vistas where the City of Edmonton now stands. The success of its continued occupation of these lands will be closely related to the stability and quality of the water supply.
The City of Edmonton straddles the North Saskatchewan River which has its headwaters in the Columbia Icefield, high in the Canadian Rockies. The river flows east across Alberta and Saskatchewan to Lake Winnipeg before eventually draining through the Nelson River into Hudson Bay.
Water runs through Canada’s rivers like blood through the country’s veins. Since time immemorial, people who have inhabited the Prairies have relied on the rivers to sustain life. The North Saskatchewan River is part of one of Canada’s most historic waterways and has anchored the urban and economic development of much of Canada’s western prairies.
Alberta’s economy is one of the strongest in the world and to a significant extent its industries rely on an abundant supply of water. While the Saskatchewan River Basin was once predominately covered with wetlands and grasslands, population increases and industrial land use have placed heavy pressure on the water supply and rendered Alberta the most vulnerable of the Prairie Provinces to water shortages.
This situation is compounded by indications that the mountain supplies of water are diminishing. Most large glaciers in the headwaters of the Saskatchewan, Bow and Athabasca rivers have shrunk by ~25% in the last century. Environment Canada has stated that the sustainability of freshwater supplies is a growing concern worldwide and it lists the threat to water availability in Alberta as moderate to high.
Pacific Salmon once thrived in the many creeks and streams that flow through the area now known as Vancouver. This iconic species connects the land, water, people and animals and has always been an integral part of the life and culture of the people of Canada’s West Coast. Legends tell us of the determination and persistence of the Salmon and how they serve as symbols of abundance, wealth, prosperity, dependability and renewal. Facing the threat of extinction the Pacific Salmon were formally designated BC’s official fish in 2013.
Pacific Salmon – Official Fish of British Columbia
Brewery Creek, one of Vancouver’s most important creeks, once flowed openly from what is now 41st Avenue down St. George Street and into False Creek along with dozens of other nearby creeks and streams. It was named Brewery Creek by settlers because it provided water and energy to a number of small breweries established along its banks around the turn of the 20th century.
Waterfall on Heather St at 9th Avenue c.1909
A working-class neighbourhood grew around these breweries and factories at Main St and Kingsway. Connected to downtown Vancouver by new streetcar routes, ‘Mount Pleasant’ became Vancouver’s first suburb. By the 1950s many of the smaller breweries along Brewery Creek had been bought out by larger companies and relocated elsewhere. The creek, and many others like it, were thought to be no longer important and as the area developed for residential and commercial use the creeks and streams were covered or filled and eventually built on top of.
View of Vancouver from Mt. Pleasant c.1892
Vancouver’s impressive annual rainfall (1153.1 mm) however, still drains through this entire watershed. Although the ‘lost’ streams are mostly hidden from view, they are definitely still present, diverted below the surface of the city in culverts and pipes, many of which follow the course of the original streams.
‘Daylighted’ stream at Ontario Street and 1st Avenue