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Shaping Vancouver 2018: The Complexity of Places – The Heather Street Lands

May 10, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm


Heritage sites very often are much more intricate places than we may realize. In order for them to be appreciated, educational, positively experienced, and inspirational we need to effectively plan for and manage the multiple ways a place is significant to different groups of people.

The Heather Street Lands is a 21-acre parcel of land, located between 33rd Ave and 37th Ave, intersecting with Heather Street. It is co-owned by the MST Partnership, made up of the Musqueam Indian Band, the Squamish Nation and Tsleil-Waututh Nation, and the Canada Lands Company, a federal corporation that aims to incorporate former Government of Canada sites into the community. This site has different meanings to various groups and organizations around the city. There are many differing values present — cultural, social, historical, architectural, natural, economic — which span the physical and the intangible. There is also a painful history embedded here for First Nations people, with some representatives having requested the removal of a building on this site as a form of reconciliation.

In this evening’s session, we seek to provide a space to discuss these complex characteristics and contemplate possible ways to tackle such an intricate place.

Through this discussion, we wish to provide the opportunity for attendees to learn:
What are the different ways that this land is viewed and valued by people?
How do we plan for a place that has all these complex issues?
What can be done to help resolve conflicting values?
How can we, in our role as citizens, be a part of contributing to ongoing improvements in the planning of such complex places?

Welcome to our fourth season of Shaping Vancouver. This season, we focus on the multiple values of places. Change is a fundamental part of heritage. Places are not frozen in time — with the passage of time, changes occur in them layering additional meaning on top of another. These changes bring about the diversity and differing values that characterize a place. And these values may not be the traditional ones we think of — the historic and the aesthetic values of architecture. In many cases, some of those values may conflict.

We engage with these complexities of place and their differing communities by looking at several examples in Vancouver where these multiple values stand out. How do we learn, understand, capture, protect, and balance the differing values that are central for a place so that it contributes to social benefit and for the public to understand, appreciate, and experience the value of the sites? Importantly, we also explore the need to plan for and have appropriate policies that secure the advantages of this diversity and allow for the coexistence of these multiple realities.


Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre
149 W Hastings
Vancouver, Canada


vancouver heritage society
View Organizer Website