It was a perfect item for visual media: the King Tide in Vancouver last week that resulted in shortline flooding around the region.

Perhaps most dramatic was the flooding along the North False Creek shoreline at David Lam Park.  (Global, above, featured some footage of exactly that area, with the small pavilion, shown above, immersed in water.)

What the coverage didn’t say was that this immersion was by design.  The landscape architect of the park, Don Vaughan, intended for the highest tides to come above the walkway so that the seawall would normally be closer to the waterline than would be the case if it was raised to remain dry in the extreme case of a king tide.

Don named the pavilion “Marking High Tide” – and tells the story here.  Notably, there is a large stone in the centre which allows the viewer to see the tide change from hour to hour.  It’s placed so that, at the highest water mark, it will just be completely covered.  (Presumably, the stone will have to be raised to acknowledge sea-level rise over time.)

It allows us urban dwellers who live in a designed environment where nature is pretty much controlled or mitigated in every respect to be aware of the natural cycles that still prevail.  Don write a small poem to that effect which is inscribed in the curved beam at the top:

As the moon circles the earth the ocean responds with the rhythm of the tides.”