2023 saw successful government relations, large-scale public events, lighting installations, and a focus on community safety.
Let’s look back on some of these instrumental moments from last year:
MINISTER RECHIE VALDEZ
Last year, Downtown Van collaborated with all levels of government on several occasions. We did this through conversations with councillors, the $10.5 million Provincial Small Business Rebate Program, and the Association’s first-ever meeting with Minister Rechie Valdez, Canada’s newly appointed Minister of Small Business. The event brought together an assembly of business leaders and local small business owners who shared their insights, challenges, and aspirations.
CONVERSATIONS WITH COUNCILLORS
Downtown Van also met with the new ABC Party and shared exciting dialogue regarding pressing issues impacting the future of downtown Vancouver’s vibrancy. We briefed the councillors on the city’s need for more childcare spaces, the red tape surrounding events and permitting, the increasing and ongoing graffiti costs, and the OPS on Seymour Street—all topics that are top of mind for our members.
2023 – 2028 STRATEGIC PLAN
Downtown Van’s new strategic plan was carefully and collaboratively created with the help of our members. Over the course of six months, we held five stakeholder engagement sessions that allowed us to hear from individuals representing 42 downtown organizations. We also received invaluable input from over 300 members via an online survey. Learn more about the top five Strategic Priorities here.
COMMUNITY SAFETY FORUM
In October, Downtown Van hosted the Community Safety Forum at the Paradox Hotel Vancouver. Members got to hear from industry experts like Deputy Chief Constable, Fiona Wilson and Senior Crime Analyst, Arezo Zarrabian from the Vancouver Police Department as well as Guy Felicella, International Speaker and Drug Policy Reform Advocate. Each speaker brought a different perspective to the forum, cultivating a safe environment for our members to learn and ask questions about a heavy topic that is a top priority for many.
SUMMER MOVIE NIGHTS
This summer was busy for us at Downtown Van, as we brought back our outdoor movie series, Summer Movie Nights, every Thursday from July 6 – August 17 at šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square. Our highest-attended films included Twilight, Legally Blonde, Top Gun: Maverick, and Everything Everywhere All at Once. Each movie was accompanied by on-site entertainment, snacks, and games. The seven-week event brought a total attendance of 22,162 and an economic impact of $365,000. We couldn’t have done it without the support of our sponsors, AMEX Canada, Daily Hive, and Bentall Centre.
GRANVILLE BLOCK PARTY
After piloting the Granville Promenade in 2021 and 2022, Downtown Van rebranded the event to the Granville Block Party, a free, family-friendly, and fully licensed two-day street festival in the heart of the Granville Entertainment District. The event took place on August 26th and 27th and consisted of three stages and 58 performers. Over the course of the weekend, Granville Block Party attracted over 44,000 attendees with an economic impact of $1.2 million. Granville Block Party wouldn’t have been possible without the financial support of the Government of British Columbia. Thank you to our sponsors HBC Streetworks Development, Daily Hive, Red Truck Beer Company, and EVO Car Share.
Near the end of 2023, Downtown Van unveiled our new lighting installation, “Canopy” at Robson Square Plaza. This was a collaboration between Downtown Van and Tangible Interaction, the artists behind the lighting. Canopy aims to bring light and inspiration to the darker days of the year. Comprising almost 3,000 controllable lights suspended above the plaza, the installation serves as a beacon of warmth and wonder. The lights are on 24/7, cycling through 15 patterns every five minutes. If you haven’t visited yet, you have until the end of February to check it out!
As we look forward to the year ahead, we hope to see you at some of our upcoming member events like the State of Downtown and our Annual General Meeting. Downtown Van continues to advocate for the downtown core’s past, present, and future. If you’re in need of any services, advice, or connections, we are here to help.
To stay up to date on what’s going on in downtown Vancouver, follow us on LinkedIn, X, Instagram, and TikTok, @downtownvan.