Garden City Lands Ideas Fair—mixed support


Note: This article draws on the full-page “Ideas Fair” ads in the Richmond Review and appears in the Review online as “Have a happy and wary Garden City Lands fair.” It also encourages further reading.

Carnivals are fun. I look forward to the Ideas Fair on June 1st in our central park, the Garden City Lands, the heart of Richmond.

I can almost hear the sales pitch: “Step right up, folks! Win a prize! Make a legacy!”  There’s free entertainment and free prizes, and we’ll fold colorful paper as we seemingly learn to transform nature into something beautiful.

There’s simulated painting too. “The Garden City Lands are like a blank canvas,” says the ad. We’re to paint a blank basecoat on our natural legacies and create our instant masterpiece on top.

I recommend the Ideas Fair—if you’ll be wary of its many ways to form people’s thoughts. Free. Parental guidance good. Critical thinking vital.

On the project’s “Create” Garden City Lands website, “The Lands” is a page with merit. However, it misses the crucial point: with expert steps that should be in progress, much of the sphagnum bog is restorable. That millennia-old survivor, unique for a city centre, is one of the natural legacies at risk.

Since the project has fallen behind, most of the intended substance isn’t on the stylish website yet. But the Richmond’s Garden City Conservation blog offers hundreds of useful articles. If you’re for stewardship and grateful respect for real legacies of the lands, google the blog to reach “Welcome, Fair Funsters: A Guide.”

Since the Ideas Fair celebrates imagination, we can toss in whatever we choose. For instance, I imagine the Garden City Lands would be one of the world’s great parks by now if the City of Richmond had asked the federal government for the lands for the ALR park use (not for an exhibition centre).  A lesson.

I also imagine that respect for the ALR values from a previous council would have saved us from the $59-million payout and the Musqueam lawsuit. The suit lingers on, and a relapse in diligence could add to the costs.

Visit the Garden City Lands. Enjoy nature’s spring and the restorable legacy viewscapes. See you Saturday!


  1. 1
    mary phillips Says:

    I remain very cynical about the city and its new Garden City planning process. Their web page does not mention anything in the history about the fight to keep it from Council-supported development and removal from the ALR. I was part of a group (including the late Mary Gazetas and Arzeena Hamir now in Courtenay on her own farm) that put an exciting and innovative proposal to the Federal Minister of Agriculture of the day,Chuck Stahl that he named “Granville Island with a Farm”.
    Nothing either on the City web site about the Garden City lLnds Coalition/Conservation Group.

    • 2
      kewljim Says:

      I agree, Mary. The Ideas Fair is the centrepiece in the City’s marketing campaign for a clean slate (“blank canvas”) that expunges one of the biggest issues in Richmond history from Richmond’s history. That includes expunging the greatest input on a Richmond issue ever, including the results of the consultation. It also includes eliminating all recognition of the natural legacies of the lands. It then assumes that one can proceed from the starting point of non-knowledge to knowing how the lands should be and thereby creating a legacy (“Create Garden City Lands”). No doubt that can provide an adrenaline rush if one does not engage in critical thinking. On the surface, the marketing methods are taking window dressing to new levels, but I’m hoping there will be some substance in there somewhere.

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