Cambie Heritage Boulevard
4100-8400 Cambie Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V5Z, Canada
Cambie Heritage Boulevard
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Cambie Heritage Boulevard is composed of a linear central median planted with approximately 450 trees, with two flanking one-way streets and street edge boulevards, that runs between King Edward Avenue in the north to Southwest Marine Drive in the south. The Cambie Street corridor is a major north-south transportation corridor for both private and public modes of transportation. The central median is known as the Cambie Heritage Boulevard.
The Cambie Heritage Boulevard is valued as an early Canadian example of urban design and planning, influenced by principles of the English Garden City movement, combined with the ideals of the U.S. City Beautiful movement. It is largely the product of the 1930 ‘Plan for the City of Vancouver’ a grand urban master plan produced for the purpose of beautifying the city and improving its functionality, and the Plan’s supplementary revision in 1947. Within these plans, Cambie Street was identified as a principle north-south route to downtown, due to its central geographic location within the city, and because it passed or was close to such important sites as City Hall and several major hospitals – Vancouver General, Grace, Saint Vincent’s and Shaughnessy Military Hospitals. It also connected downtown to Queen Elizabeth Park, the highest point of land in the city. South of Queen Elizabeth Park, Cambie Street extends to Southwest Marine Drive, another link in the proposed chain of similar ‘pleasure drives.’ The Cambie Heritage Boulevard is significant due to the rarity of completed median boulevards of this age, length, width and prominence in the city.
Cambie Heritage Boulevard is additionally valued for its association with the planning firm of Harland Bartholomew and Associates, authors of ‘The Plan for the City of Vancouver.’ This firm was a leading force in city planning throughout much of the twentieth century. American-born Bartholomew (1889-1989) was the first full-time planner employed by an American city. From the Bartholomew office came the designs for momentous city and transportation plans in the U.S., such as the George Washington Parkway in Virginia, considered one of the most venerable roads in America. The Bartholomew Plan for Vancouver, a visionary document, was significant for its considerable impact on the subsequent development of the City of Vancouver, with one of the most tangible components being the Cambie Heritage Boulevard.
Furthermore, the value of the Cambie Heritage Boulevard is also associated with its plantings. Several sections of the boulevard have been planted in zones in an organized method. Between 25th and 29th Avenues are some of the earliest plantings, which are formal, centred in the median and consist of alternating mature Sequoias and Golden Elms. The section of Cambie Heritage Boulevard adjacent to the quarry garden at Queen Elizabeth Park was planted in conjunction with the development of the Park as an arboretum during the 1940s and 1950s. South of Queen Elizabeth Park, the plantings are more informal, with a mixture of tall coniferous trees and lower deciduous ornamental plantings.
Source: City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Cambie Heritage Boulevard include its:
- linear form, with forty-five uninterrupted blocks of grassed and tree planted median
- monumental scale; sixty-one metre width to 25th Avenue; narrowing from sixty-one metres at 29th Avenue to a forty-six metre width at 31st Avenue; south of 31st Avenue the street width is forty-six metres
- open views to the North Shore mountains
- three separate zones of planting: the section between 25th and 29th Avenues with its grand, formal, centred alternating Sequoias and Golden elms; the section adjacent to the Park, with plantings consistent with the Arboretum; and the section south of the Park, with its more informal mixture of tall coniferous trees and shorter deciduous trees with flowering canopies
- flanking one-way streets, serving as a major arterial route for both public and private modes of transportation
- additional landscape resources on the street edge boulevards that contribute to the ambience of the corridor
City of Vancouver
Vancouver Charter, s.593
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
- Developing Economies
- Communications and Transportation
Function - Category and Type
- Road or Public Way
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program
Cross-Reference to Collection