The block on Kingsway between Wales and Rhodes streets has light pedestrian traffic. As we are installing the last mosaic pieces in the two entries to the park the protective fence is still there. Norquay Park has been a construction zone since July of last year. The few people that pass by either slow down beside us or stop.
They are all curious as to when the park will be open again. They also notice the mosaic pieces and seem impressed with their beauty. Along the progress with installation we’ve gradually been able to get the sense of significance this project has in the upgraded park. The entry pieces have a good impact as gate decorations.

The history of Still Creek is one in many similar stories of urban industrialization, reflection and rehabilitation. Today the Vancouver part of the creek is still mostly hidden in underground pipes or behind chain link fences. From its designation as the most polluted stream in BC in the 1980s, much progress has been made and much more is required. Serious work has been taken to bring it back to a liveable natural element in urban space. The Norquay Park 2010 Clean Water Mosaic project is one stepping stone in a long educational journey.

Funding for our part of the journey came from the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, the Vancouver Neighborhood Matching Fund and Collingwood Neighborhood House. The intention of this collaboration between budgetary resources is to facilitate community interaction. Participation in the building process of the park enhances the sense of ownership over the neighbourhood.

Members in the community were brought together to create a visual reminder for all to enjoy. Twenty pieces were created in this process and are now integrated in the concrete sections of the paths in the park. After entering either from its west or east entries you are welcome to explore the park and find the other mosaic pieces. All of them are a result of many hours shared by community members who participated in our workshops. It is our pleasure to thank them all, seniors, adults and youth for their contribution.

Installing our mosaics provided us with the opportunity to work closely with the architects and builders who were responsible for the function of the park. The result of their work is a fabulous space with a great sense of place.

The conclusion of this project brings me back to its starting point. In the research for mosaic making we met Liz Calvin and Bruce Walther. These two mosaic artists’ work can be seen in many places around and out of town. Without their generosity this project would have looked completely different. A sample of their collaboration can be seen in Downtown Vancouver where a set of eighteen pieces are placed.

Many more contacts were made throughout the process. Yoko and I are grateful to all who helped us get to this stage. Our own collaboration started with mutual interest in this experience and ends with excitement over the accomplishment. Just like the small pieces of a mosaic tile tell a story, the whole set of twenty expands this into space and time. This is a reflection on industrialization and rehabilitation.

1 comment:

Jean said...

Is the artwork completed now? If not, when do you anticipate this masterpiece to be done for us to see?