Love To Skate? Head To Vancouver
It’s a city that’s encouraging of skaters of every ilk.
Vancouver, Canada, is a land of lush pine forests, sea life and the most handsome Prime Minister on earth. But did you know that Vancouver is also a skateboarding mecca?
From parks through to policy, it’s a city that’s accessible for and encouraging of skaters of every ilk.
Skate Parks Aplenty
If you want to skate, you need adequate space in which to do so – that’s a no-brainer. Vancouver knows this, and as such has a range of skate parks dotted around the city.
The Downtown Skate Plaza (above) was the first skate plaza in the world, and consumes a massive 2350 square metres of space under the viaducts of two major city bridges. Protected from rain and wind, it’s an all-weather venue, is in a central location and is accessible all day, every day.
Then there’s Leeside Tunnel skate park, a 7m-high, 49m-long tunnel named after artist and skateboarder Lee Matasi. There’s also extensive skating space at the University of British Columbia campus, North America’s first official university skate park.
Kensington skate park contains a swimming pool-style bowl that’s 3m deep at one end and a more modest one-and-a-half at the other. From this park, you also score great views of the surrounding North Shore Mountains, making it perfect for shaking off a stack.
Bonsor or Metro skate park is highly reputed in British Columbia, and was built with all levels of skateboarders in mind. It bears a full-pipe and half-pipe, and has excellent viewing platforms for spectators.
Hastings Skate park is the preferred park for major skate competitions and tours, hosting the Vans Park Series in both 2016 and 2017. Created by Jim Barnum, a local sponsored skateboarder and skate park-design specialist, this park is regarded as one of the best in the world.
The Skateboard Strategy
In this skateboarders’ wonderland, there’s also considerable government support for the sport.
In 2005, Vancouver’s Board of Parks and Recreation implemented a comprehensive Skateboard Strategy that aimed to increase the number and even distribution of skate parks in Vancouver.
It’s undergone several amendments and updates, and the council are in regular consultation with the skateboarding community to ensure the best outcomes.
In addition to an abundance of skate parks and local government support, there are several independent groups in Vancouver that meet regularly to ensure the protection of public facilities and the skating community.
The Vancouver Skateboard Coalition, for example, was founded in 1999 and operates as “Vancouver’s voice for skateboarding”.
It makes submissions to government when planning threatens access to skate parks, conducts surveys within the community to better understand their needs, and promote mentoring between advanced and junior skaters.
Go Skate Day
Thought it couldn’t get any better? In Vancouver, there are annual city-wide skate competitions, such as Go Skate Day.
This year, the competition was held in June across eight of Vancouver’s skate parks, offering punters cash prizes for their best tricks. Ollies, kick-flips; you name it. This city wants your best moves.
Oh, and did you know that your skateboard can be packed in with checked luggage on Qantas flights? No need to disassemble!
(Lead image: Drew Hays)