Vancouver’s Granville street goes car-free for art, music-filled pedestrian promenade

Click to play video: 'Granville strip becomes temporary pedestrian promenade' Granville strip becomes temporary pedestrian promenade
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A stretch of Granville Street in Vancouver’s downtown core took on a new look Saturday, as a part of an experiment aimed at revitalizing the area.

On weekends between July 31 and Sept. 5, the city is closing the street to traffic from Smithe Street to Helmken Street, and transforming it into a “promenade” complete with live music, performances and public art.

Read more: Transform Granville strip to a pedestrian and dining zone, says Vancouver city councillor

“This is a great opportunity to … really demonstrate what Granville can become, what it could be, if we can bring some diversity to the street,” Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association president and CEO Nolan Marshall said.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver City Council considers making Granville Street car-free on weekends' Vancouver City Council considers making Granville Street car-free on weekends
Vancouver City Council considers making Granville Street car-free on weekends – May 18, 2021

Vancouver city council approved the pedestrian promenade plane in June.

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The initiative includes a pair of live music stages, two busker/street performer areas, public seating and art installations.

Saturday’s programming included a “mini ball” with vogue/ballroom performances on a catwalk down the middle of the street.

Transit has been re-routed to Seymour and Howe streets on days when the promenade is in place.

Marshall said the idea was to create positive energy and buzz on the street, making Granville street an attractive destination for everything from tourists to art studios to new offices.

Read more: Inventive proposal could transform part of Granville Street in downtown Vancouver

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Marshall is hoping the 2021 trial can act as a proof of concept, opening the door to potential summer-long street closures emulating successes in cities like Montreal and London.

“It really does benefit the small businesses on the street to have the kind of foot traffic that’s stationary for a minute, that can see a store they may have not seen passing by in a car,” he said.

“It would be great to be able to do this in the summertime on a permanent basis.”

Granville Street will be closed to vehicles from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the promenade weekends, with performances scheduled between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

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