The New Westminster waterfront was the historical heart of the city, but as it grew civic life shifted away from the river to Main Street. Our challenge was to re-introduce New Westminster’s downtown to its waterfront—creating a space that connects with the city’s roots and celebrates its commercial history. This included designing 0.9 acres/0.38 hectares of sustainable parkland on new piers, that need to hold strong for at least 75 years.
We dug into the past, explored archives, and talked to residents. We looked at the patterns of the city and saw natural street connections that could tie the pier back to the city fabric. Multiple pathways lead visitors through the park to spaces designed for play and rest, ensuring the park feels like more than just a thoroughfare, offering something new to discover on each return visit.
We created unique design elements that recall culturally significant events, people, and places. Hinge Loungers—pivoting chaise chairs—were inspired by the hand-trucks used on the docks. A weathered-steel Memory Band, laser-cut with historical references—from First Nations to Woodlands hospital—runs the length of the park. The skeleton of a large, timber-frame structure that recalls New Westminster’s old market building marks the heart of the park in Lytton Square. It houses a plaza, concession area, and washrooms. Old telephone poles form a “Pile Forest” mimicking what it would be like under the docks, while hand cranks and windsocks nod to the waterfront’s industrial past. These features, along with a series of photo panels set into seat steps, help tell the story of BC’s original industrial centre.
At the edge of the boardwalk we created a new habitat ledge planted with native species beneficial to fish and wildlife. Visitors can look over the boardwalk’s railing or walk out onto the new piers to get a year-round river view.
The park serves the entire community thanks to children’s play areas, skateboard steps, a 2,000-capacity festival lawn, and a paved space for farmers’ markets, beach volleyball, and movie nights.
In 1892, the first official City sponsored public market in New Westminster was located in Lytton Square, right on the waterfront in an open area on Front Street, and was the heart of New Westminster's burgeoning fishery. The market was destroyed soon after by a fire in 1898. Honouring of this important part of the City's vital riverfront history and culture, the market was reintroduced as a heavy timber covered structure that is activated by a park concession and a civic plaza that can accommodate a wide range of programmed events and activities.
Waterfront Center Honor Award
Royal City Builders Award - Landscape Design
Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) Urban Design Award
Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA) Regional Honour Award
International Downtown Association Public Space Downtown Pinnacle Award
GL Williams and Associates
Sea to Sky Geotech
Total Lighting Solutions