Posted by: VPSN | October 9, 2012

Mark your calendars: Two events on the future (and past) of Block 51 – Robson Square & the north end of the Art Gallery

Block 51 (Robson Sq & ArtGallery) Events & Consultation

Poster for the City’s “Block 51” Events & Consultation

The City of Vancouver has just announced two events related to the potential expansion of Robson Square and the future of the north end of the Art Gallery.  Both events are coming up next week (October 15 and October 17).  They’re free, but you’ll need to register to attend.  Act now, as seats are expected to go fast!

The events look at the past and future of the city’s “Block 51” – the parcel of land bounded by Robson, Howe, Georgia and Hornby.  The focus of both will be on the important open-space areas to the north and south of the Art Gallery – and the opportunities for their potential enhancement.

At the south end, the popular 800-block of Robson Street has been temporarily closed for several months now, and the City is studying the possibility of improving this gathering area by keeping the street permanently closed to vehicles.

At the same time the City is also looking at potential design improvements to the north side of the Art Gallery site (variously known as Old Courthouse Square, or Centennial Square). Structural repairs need to be made to protect the underground Art Gallery facilities – and this presents an opportunity for other upgrades to the space.

While the VPSN’s attentions have been mainly focused on the closure of the 800-block of Robson, we’re also deeply interested in the future of the north end of the gallery.  Both sites have played an extraordinary role in the city’s public life and we’re excited to see what comes out of these two events and the larger consultation.

Here are the details:

Monday, October 15 – A Look Back
Vancouver Art Gallery, 7:00-10:00 p.m.
750 Hornby Street 

The 1973 National Film Board film “Chairs for Lovers” and a panel with members of the original team for Robson Square will set the context of how this block came to be.

:: Register for “A Look Back

Wednesday, October 17 – A Look Forward
Vancouver Art Gallery, 7:00-10:00 p.m.
750 Hornby Street

Short and inspirational presentations will look at how this block has been used over the last few years and draw on inspiration from other cities.

:: Register for “A look forward

Both events will include an illustrated brainstorming exercise that will collect ideas on what type of future uses are desired in each site.

:: For more information– City of Vancouver – Block 51 webpage

Related News

Our good friends at Vancouver Is Awesome just wrote a great letter in support of the permanent closure of the 800-block of Robson.  You can check it out here.  Thanks for your support VIA!

Why not write your own letter?  Send your thoughts and ideas on the future of the 800-block of Robson Street, the north-end of the Art Gallery, (or both), to Mayor Gregor Robertson and members of Council – at mayorandcouncil [at] vancouver [dot] ca.

If you like the Twitter approach, consider following the discussion through that forum.  The hashtag is #block51.



  1. would love to know if the folks at the City who are proposing the Helmcken Greenway are talking to the folks who are proposing the closure of Robson. We share our car with another household and between four adults we mostly use transit, bike, or walk, so all for the City’s plans in making the downtown core more pedestrian oriented…. but what are the plans for re-routing traffic….

  2. Hi, the survey mentioned in the poster seems to have a dead link. I’m not sure i can maker the event, but I’d like to offer feedback in the survey and direct my circle of friends towards it.
    I feel very strongly we should plant the seeds for a large public square and cutting off the traffic is a good first step.

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