UPGRADES to the North Plaza of the Vancouver Art Gallery will be completed in time for the Jazz Festival on Saturday.

“The plaza to the north of the Vancouver Art Gallery is host to Vancouver’s most significant events and is a popular place for people to pass through, sit and relax, and meet one another,” said Paul Mochrie, Deputy City Manager for the City of Vancouver, on Thursday. “We at the City have the honour of maintaining this remarkable public gathering space, and we are excited to see how it will be used going forward.”

The new plaza complements Robson Square on the other side of the Art Gallery and the surrounding heritage buildings. The new fully accessible space enhances safety for large gatherings, improves flexibility for events and day to day use.

Design features include:

* A flexible space that can be used for solitary and small group use, as well as large events.

* A safe, inviting environment for formal and casual use.

* A surface with pavers that will be long-lasting and durable for heavy use.

* Full accessibility for all users.

* A continuation of the Hornby Street maple trees, with new trees added along the west side of the plaza.

* A flexible pavilion / bus stop on the east side which can be used during events and can accommodate future use as a food / beverage stand or tourist information centre.

Going forward, the plaza will be maintained and managed by the City of Vancouver, and event organizers interested in using it can apply through the City of Vancouver’s special events office.