Winter 2022 Vancouver Park Stewardship Newsletter
Winter 2022
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 Park Board News
Stewardship, Local Food, Arts   Culture




A Growing Newsletter!

The Park Board Newsletter is dedicated to sharing events and resources for all ages. This season we are sharing several opportunities for online engagement as well as in-person events. 

Stewardship, Local Food, and Decolonization, Arts & Culture staff collaborated on this issue to offer a broader look into the work community organizations do to support individual wellbeing, community connection, a thriving arts and culture sector, and resilient urban ecosystems in Vancouver Parks and to share Park Board initiative and updates.




Winter Highlights
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Photo by Fernando Lessa.

Celebrating our wet winters

Many of us start to feel "bogged down" by the time February rolls around, when Vancouver's notorious winter rains are upon us in full-force. Although it can feel dreary, our generous rainfall also enables many Pacific Northwest ecosystems to thrive.

In this season's newsletter, we're celebrating Vancouver's urban wetlands, streams, and ponds. Check out some of our partnerships and projects below that are focused on aquatic ecosystems, and celebrate World Wetlands Day on February 2nd, 2022 by getting outside with one of the city's many stewardship groups!




Featured Project
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The Park Board has been working with wildlife photographer Fernando Lessa (pictured left) for more than a year to document the life in Vancouver's urban streams. 

Fernando first began documenting salmon in Metro Vancouver as a personal project around 5 years ago. Since then, his work has been shared in a book, a film, and over 100 presentations across the Lower Mainland.
"The joy of having such a unique animal - and keystone species - is something hard to describe," Fernando says. "I‘ve still yet to find someone that does not get emotional on seeing a salmon in a tiny urban creek. When I was approached by the Park Board to work on a short film focusing on the salmon-bearing streams in the City of Vancouver, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to give this important animal the attention and appreciation it deserves."

Fernando was busy interviewing and filming throughout salmon spawning season, in November. Keep an eye on our social media pages, where we'll share his short film once it's ready!

Photos in this section by Fernando Lessa.




Stewardship Highlights
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Check out these dedicated stewardship teams that care for Vancouver's ponds, wetlands and streams.

Don't have a New Years Resolution yet? Consider getting involved!


Wild Research

Wild Research develops and runs citizen science programs around Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. Originally founded by a group of biologists from Simon Fraser, Wild Research believes that "community is the cornerstone of effective conservation science". They are a community of enthusiastic naturalists, biologists and conservationists who provide volunteers with training and education in conservation science.

Wild Research volunteers recently surveyed more than 20 marshes across the Lower Mainland, including five wetlands in Vancouver city parks. They detected native amphibians like the Pacific Treefrog, invasive species like the American Bullfrog, and marsh birds like Pied-billed Grebe, Sora, American Bittern and many others.

Jericho Stewardship Group

The Jericho Stewardship Group have been stewarding the Jericho Ponds ecosystem for many years. Invasive plants like Yellow Flag Iris and Purple Loosestrife threaten the health of this habitat, but thanks to the work of dedicated volunteers, the Jericho Ponds are recovering.

“In past years, there were as many as 600 flowering stems in the main pond; this year, there were none,” says Susan Fisher of the Jericho Stewardship Group. “Even in the marsh, the iris has been retreating – just 11 plants this year. Loosestrife remains a challenge, but we continue to work on it.”

In this photo, John Coope of JSG (in the wide-brimmed hat, framed by the flowers) leads a group of volunteers in purple loosestrife removal, describing how to identify and remove it.


Wildcoast Ecological Society

Trout Lake is one of the few freshwater lakes left in the city of Vancouver and has been subject to a variety of negative environmental pressures. As Trout Lake is such a unique urban wetland, Wildcoast Ecological Society has been focusing its efforts on restoring the riparian area over the past few years, by removing invasive plants and planting native species. These changes will better support local pollinator and bird populations. This past year, Wildcoast has held 5 stewardship events at Trout Lake with community members contributing almost 200 volunteer hours and planting 350 native plants to enhance the local ecology.




Stewardship Events

Presentation: What's Invading Local Wetlands?


January 19th, 5:00pm

Wetlands are widely recognized as special places and home to many different living things, but invasive species pose a significant threat to local wetlands. Learn how to recognize our worst wetland invaders, why they are so harmful and what can be done about them.

Winter Garden Repair and Observation

Moberly Arts & Cultural Centre Garden, Prince Albert Street, Vancouver, Canada

February 26th, 1:00pm - 3:00pm

Get together with herbalist Lori Snyder to discover the ancient traditions of gardening with the moon cycles. During this Moberly gardening session we'll share seeds, envision the next season of growing and witness what is happening right now in our community garden.
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Stewardship Series Talks

This is a series of talks provided for people volunteering or working in stewardship. It is a chance to increase our knowledge, to meet other stewards, and to share tips and resources. 2022 sessions are still in the planning stages, but interested people can find out more here:

EcoStewards at Stanley Park

Stanley Park

Upcoming events will be held January 15th, February 5th, and February 19th

EcoStewards is a bimonthly event where groups of volunteers come together to help the Stanley Park ecosystem by removing invasive plant species. This hands-on volunteer work contributes to habitat conservation and restoration in Stanley Park. 
To sign up, participants can visit: or contact our Volunteer Coordinator (




Arts   Culture Events
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Re-storying Our Futures: Youth Climate Change Arts Residency

Hybrid in-person / online, at multiple locations

Multiple sessions

This residency invites youth to take back the narrative of climate change through multi-media storytelling. Youth explore fiction scriptwriting to tell their stories in preparation for a 48-hour film production challenge. 

The project begins online in February 2022, with TV writer Carmiel Banasky creating a safe platform for youth to learn how to spin new climate change narratives. In March, filmmakers and educators Paolo Davanzo and Lisa Marr of Echo Park Film Centre North lead the film and video production of stories generated from the scriptwriting sessions. Activities will take place online, and at multiple community centres in Vancouver. 

For information on how to participate check or contact
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Music Off the Page - Winter Concert

Oak Room, Aberthau Mansion, 4397 W 2nd Ave, Vancouver, Canada

Sunday, March 13th at 2:30pm

"Saudade Duo + Róisín Adams"
3 Musicians: 2 Violins, 1 Piano play music from the 19th and 20th and 21st centuries spanning from Prokofiev to Arvo Part and more! 

Free and open to all ages. Limited seating so please register for the concert by emailing here  

For more information about the residency go here 
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REROOTING Art Workshop Series

Over the past year, the REROOTING art workshop series has engaged Indigenous artists to connect with community through a series of community art projects. During these workshops, Indigenous artists facilitated intercultural dialogues and created art that built connection between newcomers and the Indigenous community. Through art, they broke through language barriers and built trust and understanding across cultures.
We are grateful to have the involvement of artists Charlene Johnny, Leonard ‘Tiger’ Williams, Kallfümalen - Sussan Yáñez and Aaniya Asrani.

The REROOTING art workshop series continues throughout January and February, culminating in an Art Showcase event at the end of February which will take place at the Clinton Park Fieldhouse. This showcase will celebrate the art and stories gathered throughout the past year and honour the people who took part in this project.




What's happening in parks?

Dance residency at Jonathan Rogers Park fieldhouse

Foolish Operation's vision is about people of all generations discovering and creating new dance experiences together. The current creative inquiry is inspired by "moving", "resting", and "nesting". They will explore creative movement informed by human developmental theories (moving), mindfulness practices (resting), and attachment theory (nesting). This includes finding ways to discover and respectfully interact with our environment, birds and trees in particular. We explore moving, resting, and nesting through extensive community engaged creative processes. Foolish Operations' team is excited to grow roots and become good neighbours in Mount Pleasant. Come and see them or leave a note.




What we're working on
Park Board staff are working hard on a variety of projects you might find interesting, related to arts, culture, decolonization, environment and more. Here's a snapshot of what our Environment team has been up to recently!
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Canyon Creek daylighting

In October, the Board directed staff to engage xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) and seek provincial approval to daylight one of Vancouver's lost streams, Canyon Creek in Spanish Banks Park.

Before urban development happened here, Vancouver's landscape was teeming with creeks and streams that drained into the Fraser River, False Creek, and Burrard Inlet. The vast majority of those streams were infilled and paved over as the city grew. Now, urban rainwater typically drains into our sewer system instead of into streams and rivers. 

"Daylighting" refers to the process of uncovering urban waterways that have been buried, infilled, paved over, or piped. Stream daylighting can provide access to nature, support biodiversity, and help us manage stormwater. The nearby Spanish Banks creek was daylighted in the early 2000's. In November, many residents and the Spanish Banks Streamkeepers enjoyed watching the spectacle as several chum salmon returned to spawn.

*Note that the graphic above is a conceptual diagram only, and detailed plans will be produced in consultation with rights-holders and stakeholders.


Local Food System Action Plan Update

On November 15th, the Board approved an update to our Local Food System Action Plan. This historic plan reflects a shift in Park Board priorities, from
increasing the number of food assets and services to improving the access and equitable delivery of those assets and services. It emphasizes Indigenous food sovereignty, and strives toward food system resiliency as a part of climate action. Park Board staff are excited to begin implementation, and for the positive transformations it may bring to Vancouver's urban food systems.




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Did you know?

Trout Lake is not a natural lake... or is it?

There are many urban legends about the origins and so-called "naturalness" of Trout Lake. Some Vancouverites believe it to be a natural freshwater lake, while others think it was artificially made. The truth is somewhere in-between!

Before the 1860's, the area now called Trout Lake was a natural peat bog surrounded by hemlock forest. Throughout is natural history, it would have been home to many animals including mammals like beavers, cougars, bears and wolves, and diverse fish species including trout and salmon.

From around 1860-1926, the site was modified and served as a water source for the Hastings Lumber Mill, owned by industrialist John Hendry for whom the park is now named. 

Now, in 2021, Trout Lake is a much loved asset within John Hendry Park. The lake‘s water level is maintained using millions of liters of drinking water each year. While this helps create a consistent aesthetic appearance year-round, the chlorinated water may be harming this freshwater ecosystem that is rare in Vancouver, and the practice is not well-aligned with the City and Park Board's water conservation policies. Naturally, without the input of chlorinated drinking water, the water level in Trout Lake would be lower during dry periods of the summer and rise during the winter rains, like the seasonal wetland it used to be.

The Park Board has done much work to support the ecosystem of Trout Lake, such as creating and maintaining naturally managed areas around its shores. Park Partners like Wildcoast Ecology Society and Echo Ecological are also active at Trout Lake, controlling invasive plants and enabling native ones to flourish. The Park Board is currently updating its plan for John Hendry Park and Trout Lake.




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5 Actions to help limit the spread of COVID-19

1. Maintain physical distance of at least 2 metres with others outside your home
2. Avoiding gathering in large numbers on private property, at work, or in parks
3. Working from home if possible
4. Only going out for essential activities such as shopping for groceries, picking up prescriptions, and exercising alone or with members of your household
5.  Staying home if you are sick or showing symptoms

For further updates on the City of Vancouver and Park Board’s response to the COIVD-19 pandemic, please visit and continue to follow public health guidance as you enjoy Vancouver parks and recreation facilities.




Vancouver Park Board Community Supports


Fieldhouse Activation

Vancouver Park Board's Fieldhouse Activation Program transforms former caretakers‘ suites in parks across Vancouver into active spaces for community engaged creative practices including arts, culture, local food,  and environmental programming.


Neighbourhood Matching Fund

The Neighbourhood Matching Fund supports neighbourhood-based groups who want to creatively enhance parks or other public lands through community art, environmental stewardship, or garden projects.


Artists in Communities

The Vancouver Park Board Artists in Communities program builds connection by making art together using principles of community cultural development. We host artist residencies each year in participating community centres and other park facilities.

Check out the following Vancouver Park Board & City strategies for more information




Header photos taken at Stanley Park and Jericho forest. Dancer Melissa Panetta photographed by Brenda Kent
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