The original design for the Expo lands from 1988 would have been a series of islands, which the city rejected. pic.twitter.com/4UOm2ftvcl
— John Mackie (@jmackie_mackie) May 29, 2018
With thanks to Scot Bathgate~this is not Metro Vancouver’s first rodeo with the canal idea. An early iteration of False Creek north included lagoons, and Expo 86 architect Bruno Freschi floated the canal concept with a connection from False Creek along Carrall towards Burrard Inlet. But these waterworks were suggestions for a mega development and a world’s fair. Both of these were also never built.
But this week in Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum actually told folks at a Business Association conference that “water-filled canals could be constructed on a street with less traffic volumes, and that the idea first came to him when he visited Qatar”.
He also stated that he had already spoken to his city’s engineering department about the potential design. As the Daily Hive reports CEO of the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Area Elizabeth Model diplomatically responded “Mayor McCallum has an interesting concept and as I have travelled so much and seen cities being built with canals… I understand his ideas but it really depends on the ease and functionality.”
Most places that have canals have them for operational reasons~Birmingham England’s canals served to connect manufacturing sites with raw materials, and Ottawa’s canals connected the Ottawa River to waterways in Lake Ontario. San Antonio in Texas has a canal system that originally brought in drinking water.
While these places now use the canals as an urban amenity and attraction, they were not custom built for tourists.
You can take a look at this video by Global News that explores Mayor McCallum’s idea and asks Surrey members of the public their thoughts on a canal system. As one citizen said, “I think it will be a great idea especially if it has those Italian rowers”.