One of Vancouver’s most iconic public spaces will be renamed after a former Vancouver park board commissioner and Social Credit cabinet minister.
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Earlier this week, Vancouver park board commissioners approved the renaming of the hilltop plaza surrounding the Bloedel Conservatory atop Queen Elizabeth Park as the Gracy McCarthy Plaza.
The area is one of the city’s most popular tourist areas, as the park’s peak offers expansive views of the downtown Vancouver skyline and North Shore mountains.
Commissioners deemed it important to recognize Grace McCarthy, who passed away in 2017 at the age of 89. Her legacies from her time with the park board in the 1960s resulted in the Stanley Park Christmas train and the bright nighttime lights on the Lions Gate Bridge.
McCarthy also became the first female vice-chair of the park board, helped secure open spaces for the creation of new and expanded parks, led efforts to coordinate recreational activities for people with disabilities, played a significant role in the completion of the Bloedel Conservatory, and campaigned to turn a part of the old Shaughnessy Golf Course into a botanical garden — now known as VanDusen Botanical Garden.
She was subsequently elected five times as an MLA for the riding of Vancouver-Little Mountain District — where Queen Elizabeth Park is located — during the elections of 1966, 1969, 1975, 1983, and 1986. Her role in the Social Credit provincial government was elevated, becoming the first female deputy premier in the country.
The park board is expected to officially unveil the signage and landscape concept recognizing the plaza’s new name during a commemoration event later this year.