Many of the “livability” perks we have today in Vancouver are thanks to Phillips’ vision. Pete McMartin from the Vancouver Sun explains:
Phillips was the city’s first modern mayor, an early proponent of the livable cities concept, who among other things, I wrote [in 2011], succeeded in “bringing in social housing and parks, ending plans for a downtown expressway, establishing the Property Endowment Fund, expanding the planting of trees, beginning the redevelopment of Gastown and establishing a system to save heritage buildings.” He was the template for the mayors that followed him, including Gordon Campbell, who, before he became mayor, was Phillips’ executive assistant.
I had originally suggested Robson Square be renamed in Art Phillips’ honour, but the idea to rename Discovery Square came from Carole Taylor, Phillips’ wife, who soon after my column ran, emailed me that Phillips was really attached to Discovery Square.
Discovery Square, soon to be Art Phillips Park, is just 0.10 hectares, surrounding Burrard SkyTrain station. It’s a lunchtime hangout, a meeting place, and it fills to the brim with pink cherry blossoms every year in the spring. Plans for a formal dedication, plaque, or other type of installation have yet to be set. “Discovery” was the name of Captain Vancouver’s ship.