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Board supports honouring Art Phillips

April 30, 2012

The Vancouver Board of Trade is putting its full support behind a proposal to rename Discovery Square park in honour of former City of Vancouver mayor Art Phillips.

Board of Trade chair Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia recently sent a letter to Constance Barnes, chair of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, urging the parks board to move forward with the proposed name changing, citing Phillips’s legacy as our city’s “first modern mayor.”

Phillips, who served as mayor from 1973 to 1976, was instrumental in creating Discovery Square, an “inner-city sanctuary” located at the Burrard SkyTrain station. In addition, he also helped create the Vancouver’s first social housing projects, a heritage registry, a property endowment fun, and the communities of Gastown and False Creek.

Read the text of the letter below, or download a .PDF.

Dear Ms. Constance Barnes,

In the early 1970s, Vancouver residents elected a visionary to lead our city.

That man, Art Phillips, is considered by many to be Vancouver’s “first modern mayor.” During his years in office, Phillips challenged the typical notions of what a city should be, and he pioneered the idea of creating a liveable downtown core.

Indeed, Phillips is responsible for many of the qualities that make Vancouver one of the world’s greatest cities. Much of what we all love about Vancouver began 40 years ago, with Art’s vision.

Under his leadership, our city created its first property endowment fund, established a heritage registry, expanded the planting of trees, and introduced social housing projects. What’s more, Phillips was also instrumental in the redevelopment of Gastown and False Creek, which are today two of our city’s most vibrant, thriving neighbourhoods.

It was also under Phillips’s guidance that our city set aside a small piece of land on Burrard Street, for a potential rapid transit line. And in 1974, he helped raise funds that went into creating a small park, sandwiched between the Bentall Building and the Hyatt, which is today known as Discovery Square.

The Vancouver Board of Trade has learned of a recent motion to rename that park in Art Phillips’s honour, and our organization wishes to fully endorse this very fitting proposal.

As former mayor and premier Gordon Campbell recently said in the Vancouver Sun, “Art Phillips was the best [former] mayor Vancouver ever had. He changed how we saw the city, from a place that should be worked in and escaped [from], to one that should be lived in and enjoyed.”

Collectively, we owe a great deal to Art Phillips, for his years of public service and unwavering passion to make this community the best it could possibly be.

Phillips gave a great deal to our city. It’s time we gave something in return.

Yours truly,
Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia
Chair, The Vancouver Board of Trade

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