History of Vancouver Robson Square

A History of Vancouver’s Robson Square

Robson Square is a civic landmark and public plaza, located in Downtown Vancouver. Besides a cultural focal point for public art and ice skating rink, it is the site of the Provincial Law Courts, UBC Robson Square, government office buildings, and public space connecting to the Vancouver Art Gallery and the city’s major shopping precinct.

What used to be where Robson Square not sits?

[Robson Street near Hornby Street Scene showing old courthouse] (195-). City of Vancouver Archives AM1517-S1-: 2008-022.056

[Robson at Hornby Street scene, downtown Vancouver] (195-)- City of Vancouver Archives AM1517-S1-: 2008-022.057.

[Aerial view of Downtown looking west from Granville Street] (1960). City of Vancouver Archives AM54-S4-: Air P93

Robson Square was designed by Vancouver architect Arthur Erickson. It opened in two phases, in 1978 and 1979, and was completed at a total cost of $139 million.

Robson Square, 800 Robson Street (1986). City of Vancouver ArchivesCOV-S544-: CVA 784-115

A history of Square:

  • Vancouver’s first outdoor public skating rink opened in Robson Square in 1982.
  • From 2004 to 2011, the Province worked to revitalize and extend the life of Robson Square. The renewal project was a $40.9 million, multi-year project to ensure the vibrancy of the landmark space continues well into the future.
  • In 2010, Robson Square hosted the only free organized public activity in Vancouver on New Year’s Eve. More than 1,200 people came out to enjoy live music, skating and New Year’s countdowns.
  • In May 2011, the Province received a prestigious award for Robson Square from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada for “enduring excellence in Canadian architecture.”

Robson Square, 800 Robson Street (1986).
City of Vancouver Archives COV-S544-: CVA 784-116

Robson Square, 800 Robson Street (1986).
City of Vancouver Archives COV-S544-: CVA 784-111

Learn More: http://www.gov.bc.ca/citz/robson_square/index.html

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