Vancouver History: Queen Elizabeth Park

Comments 4 by Rebecca Bollwitt

On this day in history, July 21st 1954, landscaping in Queen Elizabeth Park was completed after a decade-long transformation. To mark the occasion, Vancouver Mayor Fred Hume buried a time capsule beneath ‘Centuries Rock’ which is to be opened in 2054. [source] The park was previously a large quarry, which you can still make out today by looking over its concave landscape.

Between 1908 & 1910. The Reeve and Councillors inspecting Little Mountain Quarry. Archives item# Dist P145.

Sitting on top of Little Mountain in Vancouver, the land was originally owned by Canadian Pacific Railway. The basalt quarry was closed in 1911 and its 94 acres lay vacant until it was sold off for $100,000 in 1928 to a not-yet amalgamated City of Vancouver and the Municipalities of South Vancouver and Point Grey. [source]

1938. View of Vancouver from Queen Elizabeth Park. Archives item# Van Sc P125. Photographer: Leonard Frank

The idea to transform the quarry to gardens was conceived as early as the 1930s. The park was then dedicated in 1939 when King George VI visited Vancouver. In fact it’s named after King George VI’s consort, Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mum). Over the next 15 years, the Vancouver Park Board (led by William Livingstone) would slowly convert the land into lush, blossoming, sunken gardens. With landscaping finished in 1954 (and the time capsule buried) the park was fully complete by the early 1960s.

1970. The gardens. Archives item# CVA 1502-1022.

The park’s development continued throughout the 1970s and 1980s (with a financial boost from Prentice Bloedel) and even up until 2007 when the plaza renovation was completed.

Queen Elizabeth Park
Photo credit: coolinsights on Flickr

Bloedel Conservatory
Photo credit: TheVancouverGuy on Flickr

Queen Elizabeth Park is home to Vancouver’s highest pitch & putt course, lawn bowling, disc golf (or frolf), Seasons in the Park, the Bloedel Floral Conservatory, the arboretum and of course the quarry gardens.

Amazing View from Queen Elizabeth Park
2010. View of Vancouver from Queen Elizabeth Park. Photo credit: keepitsurreal on Flickr

Offering some of the most beautiful views, lush garden paths, water features, and occasionally a roaming theatrical production, the park that was once a quarry is now an urban oasis. Located just off the Canada Line (between Cambie and Main, 29th and 37th) Visit for a picnic, a peaceful walk among the flowers, or before heading to a Vancouver Canadians game down at Nat Bailey Stadium.

Related: Photo Session Statues; QE Park Zipline

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4 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. Michele ThomasThursday, July 21st, 2011 — 4:50pm PDT

    After a hike through Queen Elizabeth park, take a quick stroll across the Street to Riley Park, home of Little Mountain Little League. Little Mountain was the first Little League outside the US ever to be granted a charter. While Nat Bailey Stadium has often been called the “prettiest little ball park in the world”, the views from home plate at Little Mountain are just as stunning.

  2. AliciaThursday, July 21st, 2011 — 5:48pm PDT

    My dad was a head waiter at the Quarry House, before it became ‘Season in the Park,’ along with his brother (a busboy) and my Nonna (Grandma) used to go and make the pasta sauce for them (as we are Italian). When the Queen visited Vancouver in the 70s/80s (not sure the year) my dad was the waiter who got to serve the Queen! We have pictures of the Queen arriving and of him serving her. He was very proud, it is a beautiful park.

  3. RaulFriday, July 22nd, 2011 — 1:10pm PDT

    I love Queen Elizabeth Park. I’m taking my Mom for dinner on her birthday to Seasons in the Park, hopefully the sun will be out! Great post, Rebecca. I still can remember the discussions happening online on whether some trees at QE Park should be removed or not. Wow, how time flies.

  4. fotoeinsSunday, July 24th, 2011 — 8:02pm PDT

    Rebecca, thanks for another great historical post!

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