The DVBIA is passionate about enhancing and activating downtown public spaces, and our laneway transformations are a core focus for our Placemaking team

The DVBIA has completed three laneway projects; Alley Oop, Ackery’s Alley, and Canvas Corridor in Eihu Lane. We are working towards developing a network of interconnected lanes throughout downtown, each with its own sense of place and identity.

Reimagining downtown laneways that primarily function as utilitarian corridors into vibrant and inviting public spaces helps to shift perceptions about what can occur in these spaces and increase the city’s public pedestrian area by as much as 30 percent. No two laneways are the same, and we embrace the fact that each laneway will function and evolve in its own way depending on the surrounding uses and the people that interact with it.

Even after a laneway has been reimagined and the transformation is complete, our work is not done. We remain stewards of the lane and conduct ongoing maintenance to keep it looking fresh for years to come. We also work with the City of Vancouver, local event organizers, and other creative placemakers to activate the laneways with unique programming and events.

Want to learn more about our process or interested in creating a great laneway of your own? Have a look at our Laneway Learning Guide.

Completed Laneway Transformations

Alley Oop

Completed in 2017, Alley Oop was our first laneway transformation, which was created through the More Awesome Now partnership with HCMA Architecture + Design. Alley Oop is bright, bold and intentionally playful as it sits in the heart of the downtown core with offices and people working all around it. Alley Oop is instantly recognizable from its striking pink and yellow paint job along with a basketball hoop that provides an opportunity for people to stop by and shoot some hoops on their lunch break.

Laneway Theme/Concept
Work and Play Juxtaposition

Project Partners
HCMA Architecture + Design
Property Owners and adjacent businesses
City of Vancouver

Ackery’s Alley

Completed in 2018, Ackery’s Alley is situated in the heart of the Granville Entertainment District. It was designed to bring the theatre’s look and feel out into the alley and create an open performance venue where anyone could perform.

At the heart of Ackery’s Alley is an interactive light and sound installation called FIELD. The piece comes to life when it senses the movements of people walking under it, responding with orchestral tracks and colourful lights. Anyone passing by can play and create music with their body. Alex Beim of Tangible Interaction designed FIELD and composer Adam Lastiwka produced the music.

Laneway Theme/Concept
Public performance venue – Interactive light and sound installation
Project Partners
HCMA Architecture and Design
Vancouver Civic Theatres – Orpheum Theatre
Property Owners and adjacent businesses
City of Vancouver
Tangible Interaction (FIELD)

Eihu Lane – Canvas Corridor

Completed in 2019, Canvas Corridor was created through a partnership between the DVBIA and the Robson Street Business Association. In a two-block section of Eihu Lane, 45 doors and vents were wrapped with original artwork by 27 local artists and designers, creating a colourful art walk throughout the laneway. #MoreToADoor

Laneway Theme/Concept
Public art walk featuring local artists

Project Partners
Robson Street Business Association
SFU School for the Contemporary Arts
Property Owners and adjacent businesses
City of Vancouver
Vancouver Mural Fest
Blast Media
*Doorway artwork credit left to right: Andrew Tavukciyan, Joni Cheung, Taryn Coulson, Jag Nagra

Completed in 2020, snéḵwem lane is located at Granville and Pender Street and features the Squamish story of the Salmon People. The mural design is a collaborative artistic vision between artists James Harry and Lauren Brevner, turning a predominantly grey laneway into a bright, visual feast with blue, yellow, and salmon-red colours. 

Project Partners
Lauren Brevner (artist)
James Harry (artist)
• Bonnis Properties
Cadillac Fairview
City of Vancouver
• BC Rentals

Laneways as Public Event Venues

Once a laneway has been transformed and has become a more inviting pedestrian space, it lends itself to being a venue for public events or pop-op activations. Just like any other public space venue around the city, a Special Event Permit is required to host an event or activation in an alley.

Click the following link to connect with the City of Vancouver’s Special Events Office and learn more about the application process.

For more information about Alley Oop, Ackery’s Alley, or Canvas Corridor and to learn how they may work for your next event, feel free to get in touch with the Placemaking team by contacting Andrew Nakazawa, andrew@dtvan.ca.