|Vancouver Heritage Foundation is a registered charity supporting the conservation of heritage buildings and structures in recognition of their contribution to the city’s economy, sustainability and culture.|
Vancouver was once a dense forest filled with swamps, creeks, and wildlife . As naturally green as we may imagine our city to be, the spots that are now parks and open spaces were once sites of heavy industry, while seemingly established areas were streams and vacant land. The curious nature of our urban green spaces is even more fascinating when you dive right into that vast ocean of history. We’ll be featuring different Places That Matter sites that have urban/green history in 2013, like Canron Shipyards (now the Olympic Village) . First a look back at Choklit Park, named by children in the neighbourhood, familiar with the Purdy’s Chocolates factory, and spelling it the only way logical to a young child’s mind. Sweet!
Read here for the story of how the park came to be, from the Purdy’s Chocolates website:
“The idea of Choklit Park was sparked in 1969 when Purdy’s ran into problems with its awkward loading facilities. Access to the building was by a narrow and steep driveway beside the factory. Truck drivers never liked backing down it because their unsecured loads would often tip over. If only Purdy’s could create a circular driveway, where the trucks could drive down, swing out and back up to the factory loading bays, their problem would be solved.
The area around the factory on West 7th was a bleak mix of industry and residences, with no parks for local kids. Charles felt that the neighborhood children would benefit from a safe play area. If Purdy’s could build a new driveway on the city’s unused street end and add a park to the small wooded area next to the factory, the result would be a winner for all. Charles’s request to lease the undeveloped site was approved by City Council, on condition that “Purdy’s shall be responsible for the creation of a children’s play area”. The park was complete by the end of the summer of 1970 and soon became a huge draw for the neighbourhood and for people from many other parts of the city.”