See you there.
Don’t miss the opening party. Aug 9, 7-9 pm. (Thanks to Urbanarium).

Ackery’s Alley is another addition to people places in Vancouver, and is set to launch with a fun party:

  • Thursday August 9
  • 7 – 9 pm
  • Behind (east ) of the Orpheum Theatre (near 675 Smithe St)

It’s another welcome transformation of underutilized city space.  It joins Alley Oop (more HERE), Jim Deva Plaza (HERE), Bute and Robson (more HERE) and the 800 block of Robson Street (more HERE). I’ll bet I’ve missed a few.

Funding for Ackery’s Alley was based in part on a Kickstarter campaign. At last count, 428 people had pledged $ 64,736 to make it happen.

BTW, it’s named in honour of Ivan Ackery, who managed the Orpheum for decades, and in retirement led a successful effort to save the Orpheum from being torn apart and turned into (shudder) a multiplex.  Thanks, Ivan, for helping save a true treasure, now a National Historic Site of Canada.  Great stories and more history HERE.

The alley’s transformation is a project of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, acting on the results of an 11,000-person survey asking, (in a nutshell), what do you want downtown Vancouver to be like in 2040. And it’s all about social connection and community engagement.  Which, like transportation choices, turn out to be good for businesses.

To quote the Kickstarter campaign:

In 2015 the DVBIA conducted Re-Imagine Downtown Vancouver 2040, a collaborative visioning process. The desire for more public spaces of every scale, including rooftop patios, animated laneways, and large public squares, was a major theme that emerged from the process.

To quote some of the DVBIA’s survey’s results:

11,000 Dreamers ‘Re-Imagined’ Downtown Vancouver as a Rain-proofed, Affordable Home for all in 2040

In 2040, downtown Vancouver will be:

  • a healthy, life-affirming place
  • a network of connected greenways and activated alleyways highlighted by art and businesses,
  • home to young families and seniors
  • affordable for anyone that wants to live there
  • home to multi-national headquarters with a distinctive skyline
  • ‘rain-proofed’ with retractable awnings
  • supported by relaxed liquor regulations resulting in a renaissance of cafes and restaurants
  • where all downtown employees earn a living wage

Pretty clearly, there’s a long and hard road ahead on this “living wage” thing.

But the transformation into Ackery’s Alley is a great step in the right direction.  It’s well worth applauding.  And well worth going there to have fun at the launch party.

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