18 months since tent city, community hosts festival in Vancouver’s Strathcona Park

Click to play video: 'Residents reclaim Vancouver’s Strathcona Park' Residents reclaim Vancouver’s Strathcona Park
After it was inaccessible for more than 18 months due to a tent city encampment, residents moved to reclaim Vancouver's Strathcona Park with a party designed to make everyone feel welcome. Paul Johnson reports – Jun 11, 2022

Not so long ago, Vancouver’s Strathcona Park was home to a tent city. It took 18 months for the park to be cleared.

In celebration of the return of park life, a small community festival was held on Saturday with food, live music, and games for the kids.

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“We had a little softball game going on in the community with our BBQ,” Union Gospel Mission alumni Jeffery Parsons said.

“We’re just out here, a bunch of guys in recovery. We got Strathcona back and it’s all cleaned up.”

By “back,” Parsons means the restoration of Strathcona to a functioning park for all.

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Community members walked the oval track, where the previous controversial tent encampment had existed.

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Strathcona Residents Association vice president Katie Lewis helped put the event together.

“We invited all sorts of community groups to come together for a celebration in the park,” Lewis said.

The festival was a hit, according to community members — a giant melting pot of diverse groups, something only a city like Vancouver can achieve, Lewis said.

The festival even had an eagle expert, Dave Hancock, who was able to educate people on the local eagle action.

“We’ve had this eagle’s nest here now, going on for 24 years that we’ve been following it,” Hancock said.

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