Forging the Crown Jewel: The Creation of Stanley Park

  • Janine Carmel Rzeplinski


Stanley Park is a well-loved park just past the downtown core of Vancouver. Like all parks, Stanley Park had to be created by many people across generations. Stanley Park opened in 1888 after years of planning. During this planning stage, the government retroactively established provenance for the park and began unsettling its many residents. Over the decades, authorities relocated residents in the peninsula; removed skeletons from burial grounds; turned the park into a tinder-box through sloppy roadwork; and removed numerous flora and fauna to fit Stanley Park within a specific image of the Pacific Northwestern locale. Most recently, authorities placed freestanding poles from other nations in the park to manufacture an Indigenous presence that fit within a specific visage. Employing the research of local historians Sean Kheraj and Jean Barman among other academics, this paper will recount and analyse the development of Stanley Park. Particular attention is dedicated to the ways in which municipal and federal governments removed and remade Indigeneity in the park. It is clear through this research that the constructed nature of Stanley Park undermines the overall image presented to locals and tourists.