New Davie Village plaza to be named in memory of Vancouver LGBT leader Jim Deva

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      When Jim Deva passed away in September 2014, people immediately began to float ideas about the best way to remember the long-time leader in Vancouver's LGBT communities.

      Now, the city has revealed detailed plans for a fitting tribute that will soon take shape in the West End at the intersection of Davie and Bute streets.

      There, Vancouver's much-loved rainbow crosswalks will be joined by an adjacent public plaza and an overhead ring-shaped sign that reads "Davie Village".

      In recent summers, the one-block stretch of Bute just south of Davie has been blocked to vehicle traffic in order to accommodate a number of colourful picnic tables. The plan—which city council is expected to receive towards the end of July—proposes that space be permanently set aside for foot traffic.

      While the plan doesn't mention Deva, a spokesperson for the city confirmed the idea is to name the space in his memory.

      According to the design concept document, the plaza will include expanded patios, weather-protected seating and tables, additional movable seating, overhead strand lighting, new trees and plants, and a "Jim Deva Soapbox", which the plans describe as a speaker's corner kiosk.

      City of Vancouver

      "The revised plaza design concept features a mix of seating elements including backs and armrests, low tables, and larger seating platforms playfully arranged to create seating alcoves and islands along the plaza," the report states. "Moveable tables and chairs allow the free arrangement of seating for informal use and plaza events, and are stored conveniently adjacent to the plaza.

      "Suspended cable lighting creates a ceiling of lights for a comfortable ambient glow and are supplemented by additional projector lights to allow versatility for special events," it continues. "The plaza bulges into the south lane of Davie Street to integrate stronger with the social spaces of the Village. A special overhead feature provides a halo of light suspended over the rainbow crossings of the intersection to mark the 'Heart' of Davie Village."

      City of Vancouver

      The report notes the plan is the result of a public consultation process that saw 1,500 people attend open houses related to the project.

      Deva has been described by the Straight has "one of the most beloved LGBT activists in Vancouver". The cofounder of Little Sister's Book and Art Emporium was 65 when he passed away last fall.

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      Great idea

      Jul 6, 2015 at 12:04pm

      I like the suspended ring of light above the intersection. But the city will have to make sure that the existing poles are strong enough to hold it, as they also support the trolley overhead for the 6 Davie trolleybus route. The pole on the south west corner of the intersection was recently replaced, so that one should be no problem.

      Blair Smith @agentblair

      Jul 6, 2015 at 4:51pm

      I believe he was 64, and that some stories were updated. Regardless, he is missed everyday. This plaza and hopefully the "Jim Deva Soapbox" will be a wonderful reminder of how much he meant to those who knew him, and those who actually study him in University. The LOUD Foundation began granting Jim Deva Memorial Scholarships this spring. Charitable donations may be made to this specific fund at . This initiative began at the request of his partner and families.


      Jul 7, 2015 at 11:17am

      What is terribly sad is that we lost a community hero who we will never see the likes of again. Jim Deva Plaza is a fitting tribute and honoring of the man and his contributions to the betterment of our community and society. In death a number of people have exploited the Deva's passing to foster their projects or self-importance. That in my opinion is a dishonoring of everything Jim Deva stood for. I really hope the Deva Plaza embodies everything Jim is and was.

      Paul Conroy

      Jul 7, 2015 at 8:11pm

      The only handicapped-reserved parking space in the Village is there. One single space. If the DVBIA will request that handicapped-reserved spaces be made on Davie Street, then okay. Otherwise I'm not a supporter of this.