29 March 2020

Park Board salutes health care workers with 12-pound cannon boom at 7PM, altering schedule of iconic Nine O’clock Gun

News Release
Vancouver Park Board
March 29, 2020

The Vancouver Park Board is signaling its solidarity with the 7 PM movement to thank health care workers in the city who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic by altering the schedule of the iconic Nine O’clock Gun to fire at 7 PM every evening beginning Monday, March 30 until the end of April.

The Park Board made the decision to fire the cannon from its home in Stanley Park’s Brockton Point at 7 PM in response to widespread appeal from the public, who are looking for ways to reinforce the city’s gratitude to health care workers who are battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’ve been contacted by several members of the community over the past few days who are asking what more we can do to demonstrate our appreciation and gratitude for health care workers in our city,” said Camil Dumont, Chair of the Vancouver Park Board. “We thought it was a great idea but had to do some work behind the scenes to ensure it was something we could see through. I’m pleased that our operations team has found a way to shift the cannon’s firing schedule to 7 PM beginning Monday.”

The 12-pound muzzle-loaded naval cannon will forego its regular 9 PM firing and will instead fire two hours earlier, aligning with the growing movement in Vancouver and across the province, to rally for health care workers.

The iconic British cannon was gifted to Canada in 1856. It was brought to Stanley Park in 1894 by the Department of Marine and Fisheries and was originally used to warn fishermen of the 6 PM Sunday close of fishing. Years later, the cannon began firing at 9 PM to allow chronometers of ships in port to be accurately set to the current time.

The 9 O’clock Gun has been silent just a handful of times through the century. The firing schedule has never been formally altered since it began firing at 9 PM. Monday’s new schedule marks a landmark decision for the Park Board.

“Our city is experiencing unprecedented times of uncertainty and change,” said Dumont. “The 7 PM salute to health care workers has done much to bring people together and remind all of us of what’s really important. If we, at the Park Board, can help amplify that message of solidarity, we are more than happy to.”

For the most up-to-date information about how the Park Board has been impacted by COVID-19, follow the Park Board on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and visit vancouver.ca/covid19impacts.

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Media contact:
Vancouver Park Board

23 March 2020

Practice physical distancing in social situations. 2 m between. It's for all of us. The sooner we do this, the sooner it will be over. Stay safe. Stay Healthy.

22 March 2020

Park Board closes parking lots as part of COVID-19 response

March 22 2020 
Effective immediately, the Vancouver Park Board is prohibiting parking at its most high-traffic parks and beaches across the city, including:
  • Kitsilano Beach
  • English Bay
  • Queen Elizabeth Park
  • Stanley Park
  • VanDusen Botanical Garden

The closures will be phased in throughout today and many will be in full effect by Monday morning. The closures will remain in place indefinitely.

We're taking this measure as a result of insufficient public compliance with social distancing protocol at many parks and beaches.

We look to everyone to comply with the parking lot closures beginning Monday morning as we work to implement barriers and additional signage throughout the day.

High-priority parking lots will close first

We're closing lots that are considered high priority first, and will then extend closures to additional sites that are considered lower priority.
High-priority parking lots include:
  • Kitsilano Beach
  • Queen Elizabeth Park
  • English Bay
  • Jericho Beach
  • Locarno Beach
  • The Seawall
  • Stanley Park
  • VanDusen Botanical Gardens


Visit parks and beaches during off-peak hours and keep two metres apart from others

Currently Vancouver’s beaches and parks remain open. However, we strongly urge you to visit during off-peak hours and to always maintain a safe distance from others of at least two meters.


Recent Park Board closures due to the coronavirus

The closure of these key lots is part of the Park Board and City’s continued response to the threat of the COVID-19 virus.
  • Earlier on Sunday: we closed all outdoor public fitness facilities earlier today, including bike parks, tennis courts, basketball, field sports, and more. 
  • Friday, March 20: we closed all Park Board playgrounds across the city. 
  • Last week: we closed all community centres, fitness facilities, pools, ice rinks, golf courses, and other attractions, such as VanDusen Botanical Garden.


Get the latest news about our COVID-19 response

Vancouver Park Board closing all public outdoor recreation facilities in parks, beaches

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The Vancouver Park Board has announced it’s closing all public outdoor recreation facilities within parks and beaches to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
This includes volleyball courts, tennis courts, skate parks, and sports fields.

 Park board spokesperson Christine Ulmer says they had hoped people would follow the advice of B.C. health officials and avoid gathering around recreation facilities, but as countless videos on social media proved, that didn’t happen.

“Having these facilities open has led to people congregating to wait to play, and they’re just in close contact, and we want to limit that wherever we can,” she told NEWS 1130.
Crews have already been spotted taking down basketball hoops in Kitsilano and signs are going up to let people know about the shut down.
The closure doesn’t cover the actual beaches and parks, which also continue to draw large crowds, although Ulmer says that could happen if people don’t get the message.

In the meantime, steps are being taken to make those areas less inviting, with crews removing logs to discourage people from sitting close to each other.
Port Coquitlam made a similar move Sunday, also ordering the immediate closure of sports fields, courts, and skate parks.

And earlier this week other municipalities in the Lower Mainland closed down playgrounds in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Westminster, Richmond, and North Vancouver announced closures Friday as Vancouver, Delta, and the Tri-Cities have similarly made the decision to close city-run playgrounds.

The number of Canadians infected with COVID-19 has tripled in a week, climbing to over 1,300 as of Sunday morning.

Original post here.

21 March 2020

Park Board closes playgrounds, reminds community to adhere to social distancing

March 20 2020 

The Vancouver Park Board is closing its playgrounds across the city and reminding Vancouverites about the importance of social distancing when visiting parks and beaches during the COVID-19 pandemic. Playgrounds are being closed in an effort to minimize public gatherings and the potential of risk to the community. 

Protect yourself and others

People not in self-isolation do not need to remain indoors. However, everyone needs to avoid being in close contact with people in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. To protect yourself and others:
  • Keep at least 2 metres (6 feet) from others 
  • Visit parks and beaches during less busy times
  • Limit the number of visits to parks and beaches to provide opportunities for others to access
  • Avoid gathering in groups
  • Limit high-touch recreational activities such as volleyball or frisbee
  • Wash or sanitize hands after touching communal surfaces
  • Anyone feeling sick, especially if coughing or experiencing a fever, please stay at home
The Park Board and City of Vancouver continue to work with public health officials and multiple partners on the COVID-19 response.

For the most up-to-date information, follow the Park Board and City of Vancouver on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and visit vancouver.ca/covid19

17 March 2020

City implements additional service closures, continues to review operations in response to COVID-19

March 17 2020 

The City of Vancouver is implementing additional facility closures and service modifications as we continue to review operations in response to COVID-19.

These measures are intended to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while ensuring essential services are maintained.

Closures and service modifications starting today

Included in the list of closures and service modifications effective today are:
  • Public access to the Services Centre, Revenue Services, and Engineering Services at Crossroads will be limited to appointments and we are working to implement digital solutions such as video conferencing and greater use of phone and email.
  • Council-appointed advisory meetings, open houses, workshops, pop-up and street activities, along with rezoning open houses are suspended until further notice.
  • All boards and commissions are suspended until further notice.
  • Event permits will be limited to the maximum guidelines set out by the provincial health officer as of the day of the event, with any current permits for gatherings of 50 or more people to be revoked.
  • The Park Board has cancelled all permits for special events at all of its facilities, effective immediately and until May 30. Permit holders will be issued a refund and will receive priority booking once special events resume.
  • The Park Board is working toward full closure of children’s day camps at its community centres by the end of the day on Friday, March 20.
  • Operating hours at Carnegie and Evelyne Saller Community Centres are being reduced to 9am - 8pm. Food services at Gathering Place and shower and laundry services at Evelyne Saller will continue to ensure that people have access to these meals. These centres will take a room-by-room approach to reducing group size to less than 50 people.
  • The Homelessness Services Outreach team continues to operate as an essential service and their office at 392 Powell Street remains open from 9am to 4pm.
  • Eleven handwashing stations have been deployed in the Downtown Eastside to increase access to hand-washing facilities.
  • We are no longer taking bookings for memorial services at Mountain View Cemetery Celebration Hall but casket burials and interments will continue.


Services that remain open

These services remain unaffected:
  • Inspections and enforcement, such as fire, development, building, and licensing, will continue as-is.
  • The Vancouver Transfer Station and Landfill, as well the Manitoba and National Works Yard will continue to operate as-is.


Task force created to help Downtown Eastside residents

We have partnered with Vancouver Coastal Health and BC Housing on a multi-agency public partner task force to identify and implement measures to help protect people who are experiencing homelessness, living in SROs, and in the Downtown Eastside (DTES). The task force is working to:
  • Improve communications with DTES residents and service providers
  • Secure additional locations where people who need to self-isolate but are experiencing homelessness can go
  • Consider other basic needs issues such as food security and access to medication and safe supply
The task force is connecting with community networks and organizations to support in the response design and delivery.


Stay up-to-date on our response to COVID-19

We appreciate there is a lot of information circulating at this time, and not all of it is coming from a verified source. All of our updates will be noted within our news releases, on our website, and our verified social media feeds.

We continue to work with public health officials and multiple partners on the COVID-19 response. There is the potential for even further service closures in the days to come as we make every effort to ensure essential services are maintained to the highest level.

Get regular updates on the status of City facilities, events, and services at vancouver.ca/covid19 or @CityofVancouver on Twitter.

BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool

BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool

survey banner
This self-assessment tool, developed with the BC Ministry of Health, will help determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. You can complete this assessment for yourself, or on behalf of someone else, if they are unable to.
Who should be tested for COVID-19?
People with respiratory symptoms who are:
  • Hospitalized, or likely to be hospitalized
  • Health Care Workers
  • Residents of long term care facilities
  • Part of an investigation of a cluster or outbreak
Who does not need to be tested for COVID-19?
  • People without symptoms
  • Patients with mild respiratory symptoms who can be managed at home, including returning travellers with an onset of illness within 14 days of return to Canada
The BC Ministry of Health strongly urges anyone who has symptoms - including a fever, cough, sneezing, sore throat, or difficulty breathing - to self-isolate for 14 days. To protect yourself while out in public, wash your hands frequently and maintain a distance of about 2 metres from others. For more information on COVID-19, refer to HealthLink BC's COVID-19 website.
Last updated: 3/16/2020 4:30 pm PDT
The province has created a phone service to provide non-medical information about COVID-19, including the latest information on travel recommendations and social distancing. Information is available in more than 110 languages, 7:30 am - 8 pm at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) or via text message at 1-888-268-43

16 March 2020

City closes all VPL, Civic Theatre, and Park Board facilities to the public

March 16 2020 

Effective immediately, the City is closing or limiting public access to a number of its facilities to curb the potential spread of COVID-19 and ensure that resources can be focused on supporting essential operations.

Included in the list of closures effective today are:
  • Park Board community centres, pools, fitness centres, ice rinks, and golf courses will be closed
  • All Vancouver Public Library locations will be closed as of 1:30pm March 16 (all digital services, and email and phone reference will be available)
  • All Vancouver Civic Theatres will be closed 
  • All permitted events at Park Board sports fields and parks will be cancelled
  • Park Board field houses and change rooms will be closed, park washrooms will remain open
  • Attractions such as Van Dusen Botanical Gardens, the Bloedel Conservatory and the Stanley Park Train will be closed to the public 
Anyone who has already paid for a program or permit at a closed Park Board location will receive a full refund. Ticketholders for Vancouver Civic Theatre events are asked to contact the box office or point of purchase. 

City services and facilities remaining open

All other City service and facilities not referenced above remain operational at this time, although service delivery may be adjusted as appropriate to support social distancing.

Park Board day camps and licensed childcare will remain open until further notice, but new registrations will not be accepted.

Evelyn Saller, Carnegie, and Gathering Place Community Centres will remain open to deliver essential services such as food, shelter and hygiene programs, but recreation and social programs will not operate at these locations

Speaking about the closures, Mayor Kennedy Stewart said, "Out of an abundance of caution, we have made the decision to suspend many non-essential programs and close most civic facilities," said Mayor Kennedy Stewart. "Now more than ever, we need to be thinking of how we can help each other. If you have an elderly neighbour, or someone who has medical issues, ask them if they’re OK, ask them if they need anything."

City Manager Sadhu Johnston, said, ‘Our foremost priorities are the safety of residents and the continuity of the essential services that the City is providing, particularly those that support residents who are most at risk. Closing these facilities will allow us to focus staffing and resources on our most essential operations.”

Check status updates

You can check the status of City facilities, events, and services at vancouver.ca/covid19 which is updated regularly.

Residents are encouraged to follow @CityofVancouver on Twitter to receive the latest updates on COVID-19 response.

The City of Vancouver continues to work with public health officials and multiple partners on the COVID-19 response. There is the potential for further service closures in the days to come as we make every effort to ensure essential services are maintained to the highest level.

13 March 2020

Park Board Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak

March 13, 2020

Dear valued patron

The health and well-being of our patrons, partners and employees is always the top priority of the Park Board and as such, we are monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely. We pride ourselves on providing exceptional recreation and community programming, as well as stewarding and maintaining world-class park destinations in our city. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that we provide as much information about the precautionary steps we are taking to mitigate risk to our community.

Our staff are in daily contact with the City of Vancouver and provincial agencies who are leading the response to COVID-19 to ensure we are acting upon the most up-to-date information and to ensure our actions are proactive and appropriate.

At this time Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) indicates the public risk remains low, however, yesterday afternoon the Provincial Health Officer directed new protocols that have an impact on some of our events and services. We have been advised to cancel or postpone all public gatherings of more than 250 people.

Our team has done a complete review of all Park Board events that are scheduled to take place between now and June 30, 2020 and has cancelled the Stanley Park Easter Train, as well as the Easter Eggspedition at VanDusen Botanical Gardens. We will be issuing full refunds to any patrons who have already purchased tickets.

The new provincial protocols have also had a slight impact on our services. We have closed our saunas and steam rooms at recreation facilities until further notice. Given that the risk remains low, we are currently proceeding with our regularly scheduled programming. We are working with our Community Centre Associations to ensure that any patrons who are not comfortable continuing with their scheduled programming will be able to receive a refund.

We are following VCH's recommendations and reminding everyone to follow regular cold and flu season precautions when visiting our community centers and other public facilities.

The City of Vancouver's Emergency Management Agency (VEMA) has activated its emergency operations centre to bring some of the City's critical departments together to respond to the issue and ensure we are taking adequate and appropriate measures.

To date, we have taken the following proactive steps at our Park Board community centres, fitness facilities, pools, rinks, and other public venues such as VanDusen Botanical Garden and the Bloedel Conservatory. We will continue to make immediate adjustments as necessary.

  • Implemented an enhanced cleaning schedule and protocols for the common and high traffic areas of our public facilities;

  • Developed informational print and electronic signage in our facilities that encourages community members to wash their hands, cough into their sleeves and to stay home if they are feeling sick;

  • Closed our saunas and steam rooms;

  •  Limited users of Killarney and Hillcrest pools to 250 persons at a time;

  • Created a dedicated page on our website with up-to-date information about any impacts to our services and facilities.

We will continue to welcome the community into our facilities and will continue to take precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of the general public, our patrons, as well as our staff.

We are monitoring the situation closely and are making appropriate preparations should we need to take further action. We will be in touch with you should our approach change significantly and will provide timely updates on our website: 

For up-to-date information about recreation facilities and services, please visit: 


Malcolm Bromley
General Manager - Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation