Fifty years ago, the construction of the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts displaced the diverse immigrant enclave, historically known as Hogan’s Alley and home to Vancouver’s Black population.
The City of Vancouver’s systemic and deliberate erasure of this community at that time created not only an immediate impact on the individuals, families, businesses, and social networks that were dismantled and displaced, but has had a long-term and sustained impact on the economic prosperity, political visibility, historical recognition, and social well-being of citizens in Vancouver and the region from the African Diaspora over generations.
In October 2015, Vancouver City Council voted to remove the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts. The removal of the viaducts and planning for the North East False Creek Area presents an opportunity for reconciliation between the City of Vancouver and the Black community, ensuring there is adequate historical recognition on the site, and to enable the community to lead and steward the rebuilding of what was lost so many years ago.
Outcomes of initial community consultations and discussions have highlighted that recognition must go beyond the acknowledgement of history (space and place), but that there also be the highest possible standards of inclusive and participatory process to guide how we can best address what was lost.