The City of Vancouver official web page for Crab Park (here, with map) says “From atop a grassy knoll or the small pier jutting into Burrard Inlet, this is a good place to get a close look at Vancouver’s working port, with views of the colourful containers, cruise ships, heliport, and SeaBuses.” It is a precious waterfront green space with stunning views of the city, mountains, sky and water. Offering repose from the busy city streets, it has a lovely beach, monuments and memorials, a playground, off-leash area and more.
Amid the constant pressure for development, the creation and survival of this park did not just happen by chance.
Below is a precious history of the formation of Crab Park, written by activist Don Larson in June 2018. “The Local Visitor” writes “This is probably one of Vancouver’s best kept secrets.”
Please see our separate post about the annual Crab Park Festival from 1 to 4 pm on July 1, 2018, and please spread the word! A great way to celebrate Canada Day.
By Don Larson, on behalf of Crab-Water for Life Society
Our purpose was to create a public park in a park deficient neighborhood on the central waterfront of Vancouver. Since June 1982 we worked five years, and against all odds, succeeded to create what is now known as Crab Park at Portside, a seven acre waterfront public park.
CRAB Park would not exist if not for the work of the independent Create a Real Available Beach Committee (CRAB) and activists like Don Larson and Fred Arrance. It started with the dream to es-tablish a Downtown Eastside waterfront park on a vacant site owned by the federal government. In 1982 CRAB organized a community music event on the site, with the Industrial Waste Banned and also singer Ian Tiles, while Ports Canada Police circled and patrolled the event in cars.
Camp In “Totem” listing Participants and Supporters (designed by TORA)
The founding society is now called Crab-Water for Life Society and continues on with the work of Don Larson and the Arrance family. The Society has existed since 1982 and Crab Park at Portside since July 1987, now over 30 years.
Originally the site was called LuckLucky or Grove of Beautiful Trees ‐ by the aboriginal inhabitants of Burrard Inlet, and the area was eventually converted to a landfill. Today a small viewing pier juts out into the harbor near this location.
In 1984. campers in sixty tents illegally occupied the site for 75 days. MPs Pat Carney and Margaret Mitchell kept their promises to pressure the federal government and the occupation led to the creation of the present park ‐ CRAB Park at Portside. After five years of advocacy, an almost seven acre green space in the heart of the DTES was created. The victory has been celebrated every July 1st with a free music festival. Continue reading