Vancouver Park Board

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Vancouver Park Board
Founded1890 (1890)
Preceded byPark Committee
Board chair
Brennan Bastyovanszky
Seats7 commissioners
Political groups
  •   Independent (3)
  •   Green (1)


Plurality at-large voting
Last election
October 15, 2022
Next election
October 17, 2026
Meeting place
2099 Beach Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver Charter, s.485
As of December 6, 2023

The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, commonly referred to as the Vancouver Park Board, is the elected board with exclusive possession, jurisdiction and control over public parks in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.[1]

Established by an 1889 amendment to the Vancouver Incorporation Act, 1886 (later the Vancouver Charter),[2] the Vancouver Park Board is the only elected body of its kind in Canada.[3] It has seven elected commissioners who are charged with determining the policy direction of the body.[3] The board has a mandate to "provide, preserve and advocate... to benefit people, communities and the environment". Commissioners are elected at-large every four years, with a chair and vice-chair elected by the commissioners every year.[4]


The Vancouver Park Board has its origins in the 1886 granting of the 380-hectare (950-acre) military reserve at First Narrows to the City of Vancouver for use as a park. The new park, named Stanley Park, was formally opened in 1888. A warden and Parks Committee were appointed to oversee its development and management. In 1890, the appointed committee was replaced by a permanent elected body: three elected commissioners. Vancouver By-law No. 96 created the board and gave the commissioners absolute control and management over the park system. It was expected to expend monies voted to it by city council and had the power to enter into contracts and pass by-laws. Over its history, the board has been known as:[5]

  • Committee on Works and Property (1887–1888)
  • Parks Committee (1888–1889)
  • Board of Parks Commissioners (1890–1955)
  • Board of Parks and Public Recreation (1956–1973)
  • Board of Parks and Recreation (1974–present)

The first elected commissioners, serving from 1890 to 1891, were James Welton Horne (chairman), M. J. Costello and Robert Garnett Tatlow. The number of commissioners was expanded to five in 1904 and to seven in 1929 when Vancouver amalgamated with the municipalities of South Vancouver and Point Grey.[6]

Park Board commissioners served without remuneration until a 1972 amendment to the Vancouver Charter allowed them an annual honorarium of $1000.[7]


Since 2022[edit]

The current commissioners of the Vancouver Park Board were elected during the 2022 Vancouver municipal election.

On December 6, 2023, three ABC commissioners left the party to sit as independents after Vancouver mayor Ken Sim introduced a motion to ask the provincial government to change the Vancouver Charter to dissolve the park board.[8] While remaining independent, they have indicated they will form a majority bloc with Green Party commissioner Tom Digby.[9]

Name Party
Brennan Bastyovanszky ABC (2022–2023)
Independent (since 2023)
Laura Christensen ABC (2022–2023)
Independent (since 2023)
Tom Digby Green
Angela Kate Haer ABC
Marie-Claire Howard ABC
Scott Jensen ABC (2022–2023)
Independent (since 2023)
Jas Virdi ABC


The commissioners of the Vancouver Park Board elected at the 2018 Vancouver municipal election served until November 6, 2022.

Name Party
Tricia Barker NPA (2018–2022)
TEAM (2022)
John Coupar NPA (2018–2022)
Independent (2022)
Dave Demers Green
Camil Dumont Green
Gwen Giesbrecht COPE
John Irwin COPE (2018–2022)
Vision (2022)
Stuart Mackinnon Green (2018–2022)
Vision (2022)


The commissioners of the Vancouver Park Board elected during the 2014 Vancouver municipal election served until late 2018.

Name Party
John Coupar NPA
Casey Crawford NPA
Catherine Evans (vice-chair) Vision
Sarah Kirby-Yung NPA
Stuart Mackinnon (chair) Green
Erin Shum Independent[a]
Michael Wiebe Green


In June 2009, Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson and Vancouver city councillor Raymond Louie, both of whom were members of the Vision Vancouver party, were accused by Vancouver city councillor Suzanne Anton, a member of the opposition Non-Partisan Association party, of attempting to destroy the independence of the park board by centralizing budget oversight.[11] Aaron Jasper, a Vision Vancouver member of the park board, called on the city council to restore the decentralized budget control.[11]

In September 2009, Susan Mundick, the general manager of the board, announced her retirement.[12] Penny Ballem, the city manager of Vancouver hired by Robertson, stripped Mundick of all routine transitional duties.[13] Ballem then stated she would help the park board choose Mundick's replacement, a selection process city hall traditionally had not been involved in.[14] In response, Anton urged Robertson and the city council to limit Ballem's control of the park board.[14]


The Vancouver Park Board oversees 250 parks and gardens, including major attractions such as Stanley Park and VanDusen Botanical Garden, 24 community centres with pools, skating rinks and playing fields, as well as three golf courses.[15]


  1. ^ Shum was elected as an NPA candidate in the 2014 election but announced she would "sit as an independent" in December 2016.[10]


  1. ^ Vancouver Charter, section 488.
  2. ^ 1889. Vancouver Incorporation (Amendment) Chap. 40
  3. ^ a b "Vancouver Park Board Commissioners", City of Vancouver Website, Accessed September 4, 2009.
  4. ^ "Park Board Commissioners".
  5. ^ City of Vancouver Archives
  6. ^ Steele, R. Mike (1988). The First 100 Years. Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation.
  7. ^ "Money By-Laws Vote Given to Tenants". Vancouver Sun. April 26, 1972.
  8. ^ McElroy, Justin (December 6, 2023). "Vancouver's mayor makes a bold step to eliminate the park board — at the risk of dividing his party". CBC News. Retrieved December 6, 2023.
  9. ^ Jensen, Scott [@ParkBoardScott] (December 7, 2023). "Park Commissioners @BrennanBastyo, @l_christe, @ThomasDigby1 and I have agreed to work together to collaborate as a majority, and to provide competent and thoughtful leadership for the people of Vancouver and to ensure our cherished @ParkBoard is protected" (Tweet). Retrieved December 7, 2023 – via Twitter.
  10. ^ Smith, Charlie; Pablo, Carlito (December 13, 2016). "Park commissioner Erin Shum accuses NPA of bullying and demanding obedience above all else". The Georgia Straight. Retrieved November 8, 2017. In a statement issued this morning, Shum also stated that she will 'sit as an independent' because that's the only way she can stand for NPA values.
  11. ^ a b "Mayor Gregor Robertson blamed for park board cut", Georgia Straight, June 11, 2009.
  12. ^ "Outgoing park board manager proud of accomplishments", Vancouver Courier, September 18, 2009.
  13. ^ "Mundick stripped of duties", 24 Hours, September 18, 2009.
  14. ^ a b "NPA councilor says park board losing independence". CKNW. September 19, 2009. Archived from the original on June 5, 2011.
  15. ^ "Parks,Recreation, Community Centres". City of Vancouver. Retrieved December 27, 2023.

External links[edit]