Vancouver Icons: Alexandra Park, Haywood Bandstand

Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

When you’re less than a kilometre from Stanley Park, it’s hard to stick out as a green space in this town. However, Alexandra Park on Beach Ave has something unique: The Haywood Bandstand.

Alexandra Park, Haywood Bandstand

English Bay Beach, 1916. Frank Gowen, photographer. Archives# AM54-S4-: Be P93. In view is the English Bay Pier.

A designated heritage building built in 1914, it was restored by the Vancouver Park Board in 1987-88 with financial assistance from Haywood Securities, Amon Industries, and the B.C. Heritage Trust, and was renamed the Haywood Bandstand.

1987 City of Vancouver Archives #CVA 775-1

“Its Queen Anne architecture is characterized by a light and airy wooden structure, curved brackets cantilevered floor, ornate fretwork, and hipped roof.” [Vancouver Heritage Foundation] The architecture of the structure helps project sounds (instruments, voices) from within to the audience around it.

It was built at a time when parks came with bandstands, in fact an identical one stood in Stanley Park in 1911, until 1934 when Malkin Bowl was built. Music brought people together and entertained in those days, when radios were just becoming common place in homes.

Vancouver Archives #AM1376-: CVA 71-14

“The Moral Reform Association did object to certain types of music,” historian John Atkin told the Vancouver Courier during the bandstand’s centennial in 2014. “So the park board said that on Sundays only military or religious music could be played in the bandstands.”

Read about more public art and architecture in Vancouver in the Vancouver Icons series here »

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