Towards the Reconciliation Bridge & Vancouver’s High Line

by Joseph Roberts

• The January, 2016, edition of Common Ground contained an article about transforming the Georgia Viaduct into a Reconciliation Bridge, a symbolic link between First Nations and our invading, immigrating European culture. Our Walk for Reconciliation in 2013 drew estimates of 70,000 in the rain across our old Georgia Viaduct, inspiring this new vision: the Reconciliation Bridge. Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter Bernice spoke that day of her father’s dream for healing inequalities in his famous I Have a Dream speech. Now we have our dream for a concrete way of honouring our commitment to First Nations.

The City owns the property; it’s our asset, as is the newly acquired CP rail Arbutus corridor, running from the east end of the Georgia Viaduct/Reconciliation Bridge, all the way to the Fraser River. Vancouver’s Mayor Robertson said (possibly in response to CG’s January article), “now Vancouver has its own High Line.” The comparison is to New York’s famed public project, which is a similarly raised viaduct. But we will only have a Low Line unless we connect the adjacent Viaduct to extend the Low Line ground-level Arbutus Corridor with the High Line Reconciliation Bridge (viaduct).

Imagine walking out from the VPL, the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, or the new City Art Gallery and stepping onto the Reconciliation High Line Bridge, to be inspired by the beautiful vistas from up-top; then, descending onto the Low Line, the recently acquired CP Arbutus Corridor rail line forming a garden path all the way to our magnificent Fraser River. It is all connected.

Re-purposing nine kilometres of old train track plus one kilometre of High Line / Georgia Viaduct, into a 10 kilometre garden park from the central core of Vancouver out to the shore of the mighty Fraser. What a gift to the citizens of Vancouver and a legacy for countless generations. We have the dream. We have the property. Now let’s come together to realize our vision of reconciling the past, honouring First Nations, and protecting this 10 kilometre link for posterity.

This is our generation’s opportunity to create a beautiful lasting parkway, as earlier generations did by saving Stanley Park. It is our turn to make a contribution to all our relations and make this a world class inspiration towards our common future.

Here is a letter from a Common Ground reader:

“Hello Joseph: I was in NYC in January and walked the High Line to the Whitney Museum. It was a cold, blustery day but still it was a very beautiful experience. I do so hope that we could have that same experience in Vancouver. Please keep me in the loop as to what’s going on. It would be great for City Hall to keep the viaduct. Thank you for all your work in this regard. All the best, Barbara.”

We can make this beautiful dream a reality. For information contact Common Ground, or email Lets move this healing dream forward.

Leave a comment