Home > About Vancouver > All News > Park Board begins restoration work on 101-year-old Stanley Park seawall

Park Board begins restoration work on 101-year-old Stanley Park seawall

April 12 2018

“The seawall is subject to seasonal battering, as well as large storms, which damage the structure and necessitated the restoration work,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon.

Sunset seawall repairs

One of Vancouver’s most popular attractions is getting a $4.5 million facelift!

The Vancouver Park Board is undertaking the largest restoration of the nine-kilometre Stanley Park seawall in its 101-year history. Crews have already begun work along the foreshore in English Bay.

Seawall damaged by storms

“The seawall is subject to seasonal battering, as well as large storms, which damage the structure and necessitated the restoration work,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon. “The restoration will allow local residents and visitors to continue to enjoy recreational activities for many more years on the seawall.”

In 2010 and 2011, two vulnerable portions of the seawall at Sunset Beach between Inukshuk and Broughton Street and English Bay between Park Lane and Second Beach were replaced with reinforced concrete retaining walls.

The Park Board conducted a comprehensive independent assessment of the seawall in 2013 and 2016 which identified the location, type, degree of damage along the seawall, and provided recommendations on high priority areas for repairs.

Restoration work to be conducted in two phases

In response, restoration work will be conducted in two phases. It includes the filling of holes, stone replacement, stabilizing of foundations, and installation of rocks to protect against water erosion at priority locations between Brockton Point and Sunset Beach Park, just outside Stanley Park.

The repairs will increase the resiliency of the seawall against more aggressive storms brought on by climate change.

Seawall traffic to be temporarily merged

During the first phase, expected to be completed in August, 100-metre sections of the seawall will be temporarily merged and cyclists will need to dismount. The second phase requires Board approval and is expected to begin shortly after the first phase is completed.

Created in 1917 with the goal of staving off erosion, the Stanley Park seawall took 60 years to complete. Work continued intermittently as resources become available, including a federal employment program during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The majority of the work was carried out between 1950 and 1980. The seawall is associated with the noteworthy contributions of park employees, including master stone mason James Cunningham, who worked on its construction for more than 30 years, and Stuart Lefeaux, the park superintendent and engineer, who supervised the major expansion and completion of the seawall in the last three decades of construction.

Since 1980, the seawall has been extended outside of Stanley Park.