parade of life

Paula Jardine


Trout Lake Restoration Project

This project grew out of concern over the health of the lake, as it was being closed to swimming in the summer because of e coli. My sister is a hydro geologist and her partner is a stream restoration biologist, so the topic was a natural for our sunday dinner conversations.

A neighbourhood committee was formed, and the park board supported a restoration project as a pilot for the artists in residence program at community centres.

The art created included beautiful new tables built by the park board carpenters with clay tiles made in the community centre pottery studio, some fabric banners made in workshops by some visiting artists from England, mosaic workshops with students from the local highschool, a plant inventory walk with another group of students, a sculptural pole for an outdoor gathering place, story gathering and an exploration of the natural history of the lake, and a self guided interpretive walk around the lake that distilled the history and linked to the mosaics. The project culminated in a formal celebration, presenting the community action plan to a representative of the parks board.

Chronology 1989-1995

"Out of our conversations the idea of a restoration project was born. I went to Susan Gordon at Parks and Recreation, who has been a champion of community arts and culture in Vancouver since I’ve known her. The proposal to do something at Trout Lake - I wanted to daylight the streams - coincided with Susan Gordon’s and Bryan Newson’s plans to initiate an artist-in-residence program in community centres. The restoration project was the pilot project.

I worked with Anne Marie Slater, who created an intensive, comprehensive and methodical plan, and together we hosted nearly a dozen public events. We collected oral histories at tea parties, had planning sessions with engineers, biologists, and a broad section of the community, created art, and produced a twenty-year plan for the lake."

The Trout Lake Community Centre has since been completely rebuilt, and most of the elements from the restoration project have disappeared. The mosaics are still there, though for the most part over grown, as is the stone circle that was meant to be a gathering place, and the dry stream beds created as part of Caffyn Kelly's project in 2001 - 2002

I still hope that one of the more poetic goals, to daylight at least one of the streams flowing into the lake, can some day be realized.