Vancouver makes public-plaza drinking a permanent summer event

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      Vancouver city council has approved the return of public drinking in designated plazas as a permanent seasonal fixture on the urban-relaxation front.

      For the previous two summers, such responsible social drinking has been conducted in various public locations in the city on an experimental basis.

      A similar pilot program that allows drinking in 22 selected parks throughout Vancouver has been extended this year until October 16. (Go here for more information.)

      Six plazas have been designated for this summer's inaugural permanent program, which is aimed at those looking for a spot to relax, to sit with takeout food, or to enjoy a picnic with family or friends.

      “While the pandemic brought immense challenges to Vancouver, it also helped us to innovate with initiatives like the Drinking in Public Plazas Program, which I’m excited to see return this summer,” Mayor Kennedy Stewart said in a June 8 news release. “To the many people like me who do not have access to a backyard or private outdoor space, these plazas give us all a chance [to] connect and socialize with one another while enjoying a drink outside.”

      The six plazas are at the following locations, which will be open from June 15 to October 16 and available for use every day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (plaza stewards are in parentheses).

      • Cambie Street and 17th Avenue (Cambie Village Business Association)
      • Granville Street and 13th Avenue (South Granville Business Improvement Association)
      • Granville Street and 14th Avenue (South Granville Business Improvement Association)
      • Lot 19, 855 West Hastings Street (Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association)
      • Main Street and 21st Avenue (Coco et Olive, Little Mountain Neighbourhood House, residents)
      • Maple Street and 4th Avenue (Kitsilano West 4th Avenue Business Improvement Association)

      “Plaza stewards and community partners are the uniting force of this program," Lisa Parker, the city's director of public space and street use, said in the release. "Thank you to our partners for the vital role you play in helping to keep these plazas and spaces feel safe, clean, and welcoming for all visitors.”

      The city said in the release that plazas that do not have public amenities, including washrooms, within a short walking distance will have temporary portable washrooms installed nearby.

      For more information on the city's more than 20 pop-up plazas, including a map, go here To view city council's staff report on the locations for the public-drinking plaza sites, go here