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Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza

šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square
Beautification of šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square, formerly known as the Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza, for the City of Vancouver

The Vancouver Art Gallery, originally built as the Vancouver Law Courts in 1907 and designed in the Beaux-Arts architectural style, is a National Historic Site that sees some 360,000 visitors annually.  The City of Vancouver contracted Jacob Bros create a new multi-use public plaza in front of the Art Gallery.  The project, completed on an accelerated schedule during difficult weather conditions, involved demolition of existing sidewalks and structures, deconstruction and relocation of a statue from the existing water fountain, construction of a new plaza with event power provisions, feature lighting, public washroom, architecturally detailed steel-frame bus shelter, new irrigation system and landscaping.  As a separate project at the same site, Jacob Bros remediated the concrete steps and restored the heritage stone cladding on the adjacent podia of the 110-year-old Vancouver landmark to heritage standards. 

The plazas surrounding the Vancouver Art Gallery have long been a space for people to socialize, and a place for civic and creative expression. In a 2017 ceremony, the City of Vancouver and the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations unveiled “šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énk Square” as the name of the popular North Plaza. The name refers to “a place where a cultural gathering occurs such as a wedding, funeral, naming, honouring, or coming of age ceremony.”