What To Do With the Wood From Stanley Park

We’ve had some unusually strong wind storms here in Vancouver. Stanley Park–one of the city’s main attractions and, really, where its soul lives–got the brunt of these storms, and a lot of trees came down. You can see examples of the damage in this photo set.

In the long term, this isn’t a big deal–circle of life and all that–but some people are upset by the damage. It’s been seriously bad news for a couple of restaurants which operate in the closed-off section of the park. This is usually the gravy month for such businesses, and they’re shut down.

On the news last night, the parks board spokesperson said they might sell the wood from the fallen trees to pay for the cleanup and rehabilition. It was unclear what he meant by ‘sell the wood’, but it sounded to me like he meant ‘in bulk’.

Here’s my alternative idea: give the wood (or some of it, at least) to local artists and artisans. They make sculpture, furniture, knick knacks and so forth, sell their wares and share the profits with the park.

There are two attractive points for the buyer: they know they’re supporting the rehabilitation of the park, and there’d be a certain cachet in owning something made out of Stanley Park wood. There’s only a limited amount of it, after all. I probably wouldn’t just donate to this cause, but I’d probably buy a cool picture frame on its behalf.

What do you think?


  1. I like your idea about giving the wood to local artists and craftspeople. I’d add that some of the work they do should stay in the park to commemorate the event.

    In addition, how about they clean up the wood that makes the roads and paths impassable but leave it as it is? Seems to me that storm like this happen as a course of nature. Old trees fall to make way for new ones and their fallen bodies nourish the saplings. Not to over think it.

  2. Brem: Wow, I’m sure glad you don’t run the city.

    My option would have a lot more overhead, but it might generate more revenue for the city and its citizens.

    It’s also an object lesson about the lumber industry, which had so often sent our cut timber abroad where all the, uh, value is added.

  3. Officials on the news said leaving the wood in the park will create too much tinder in the summer, so much of it has to be pulled out. I really like your idea, Darren, and James’s point about commemorating the event is a good one too

  4. The article I read this morning said that some of the wood would be left to rot (to contribute to the soil), most would be cut up into the appropriate lengths and sold for milling and that the Parks Board had been approached by one of the local First Nations tribes about possibly getting some of the trees for artistic use.

  5. Did anyone see the article that said the Parks Board is soliciting donations to replace the trees? They said it will cost $2,000 to replace each tree. I was surprised that the City doesn’t have some sort of insurance on the park. I guess this falls under Acts of God, though.

  6. I thought that’s what seeds were for.

    I’d love to see some of those fabulous cedars made into guitars. It’s a very efficient use of wood, and there are some amazing local luthiers who could put it to good use. Even one good cedar tree could make dozens or hundreds of instruments.

  7. Great idea Jeremy. I’m trying to find some contacts to put forth the same idea. I’m a local furniture designer and would love to create something with the wood. I know alot of artists/furniture makers that would love to have access to some of the wood also. Maybe we can create a list of people that can replace a bulk buyer and create something special…. Public Gallery Auction / design event ??

  8. hi darren

    thanks so much for documenting this in such a beautiful- visually and conceptually way.
    in september i danced in stanley park as part of a year long dance and photogrpahy research project. i was searching for some info on the web to add to our project website about what had happened there in december because it seems so common in so many places at the moment and having been there not so long ago i wanted to mark the devastation in some way. is it okay with you if i put a link to your pages from our website?

    i love the idea of the trees being used for arts projects on the park itself, and wonder if some can be used for furniture for the restuarants if they lost any, or paper for vancouver’s school books? i also apprciate the comment about leaving some in situ to rot as nature would intend, i theorise…

    thanks so much

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