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Summer Days in the City …Part 2

With summer just around the corner, there is no better way to get some vitamin D than walking around Vancouver on a beautiful sunny day. You’ll also get to learn a bit about design while exploring the hidden architectural gems that our beautiful city has to offer. All these locations are great spots to go on a date, hang out with friends, read a book, or just do homework if you are taking summer courses. 

This article is also a continuation of the “Summer Days in the City” piece I wrote last year, (after receiving so many positive comments on it, I decided to write a part two!) If you haven’t read it yet and are looking for a budget-friendly activity to do without leaving the city, please visit and add those locations—along with the ones in this article—to your list. 

Phillips, Hager and North Garden at Vancouver Public Library (VPL)

Project: Phillips, Hager and North Garden

Architectural Design: Landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander & Connect Landscape Architecture

Architecture: DA Architects & Planners, supported by Moshe Safdie Architects

Completion Date: 2018

Location: 350 West Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V6B 6B1

Transit Tip: Five-minute walk from Granville station (Canada Line)

Located on level nine of the VPL, this spacious rooftop garden is the perfect place to sit back and take in the breathtaking views of the city. You will also find a selection of local plants like arbutus hedge, coral bark maple trees, honeysuckle, white roses, and lavender scattered throughout. The garden was designed by landscape architect Cornelia Oberlander along with Connect Landscape Architecture, and is named in recognition of Art Phillips, Bob Hager, and Rudy North—three businessmen who have greatly impacted the development of Vancouver.

A library card is not required to access the rooftop or the exhibitions on the left side of the garden entrance. Other nearby amenities include the Yosef Wosk Poet’s Corner, where poet laureates such as Christie Lee Charles, are honoured with a tree-shaped plaque.

sθәqәlxenәm ts’exwts’áxwi7/Rainbow Park

Project: sθәqәlxenәm ts’exwts’áxwi7/Rainbow Park

Architecture: DIALOG Design

Completion Date: 2022

Location: 872 Richards St, Vancouver, BC V6B 3B4

Transit Tip: Seven-minute walk from Vancouver City Centre station (Canada Line); four-minute walk from Burrard station (Expo Line)

sθәqәlxenәm ts’exwts’áxwi7 (meaning “Rainbow”) Park is a newly opened community space that sits between the intersection of Smithe and Richards streets. Its name was given by the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations to reflect the rich history of the area, and it features a colourful playground as well as an elevated pedestrian bridge. Installed diagonally across the park is a series of sky frames (structural metal frames) to display art pieces, banners, or light installations through the Indigenous public art program. All ages are welcome to enjoy the unique spaces and attractions the park has to offer.

Nemesis Coffee at Great Northern Way (GNW)

Project: Nemesis Coffee GNW

Architecture: Perkins&Will

Completion Date: 2020

Location: 555 Great Northern Way, Vancouver, BC V5T 1E1

Transit Tip: 14-minute walk from VCC–Clark station (Millennium Line)

Inspired by the outdoors, the Nemesis Coffee GNW has a unique architectural design: it’s shaped like a flower. The interior ceiling also uses flowing acoustic sheer fabric to mimic petals, which doubles as a sound barrier to reduce external noise. This detail, combined with the warm lighting, creates a luminous space that makes it the perfect spot to go to for brunch or to catch up with friends. 

The best time to visit is on weekend mornings as most of their signature croissants sell out after 1 pm. (I personally like to visit on Sunday mornings, grab a table inside, and enjoy a cup of coffee with some dessert—like a London Fog with a tiramisu croissant.)

Ted McGrath on Flickr: Mural: SAY HI TO TED ! ! by KASHINK & Shear by James Knight

Vancouver Mural Festival (VMF)

If you are looking for something more interactive to do in this summer, visit the VMF: an initiative that aims to better connect our city to art. Since its creation in 2016, artists from all over the globe have been invited to participate in the festival every summer to create fantastic murals around Mount Pleasant, Strathcona, Downtown, West End, Cambie Village, Marpole, and River District. This year, an 11-day celebration will take place from August 3 to 13 which will feature outdoor parties, art tours, talks, and many other activities. 

To find a map with exact dates and locations of these events, visit the VMF website ( for more information; more details will become available closer to the date. 

I hope you enjoy the summer visiting all these amazing locations in our city. Remember to wear sunscreen and keep hydrated. Happy exploring!