Giant Animatronic Dinosaurs in Stanley Park?

Whiskey tango foxtrot? I leave town for a few months and the place goes to hell in a handcart. The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation is accepting proposals (PDF) (thanks to Sarah for the link) for a new, uh, exhibit in Stanley Park:

The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation (the “Park Board”) invites proposals from experienced proponents for the provision of life size animatronic dinosaur and related educational exhibits at Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia. The exhibits will
be set up in the Miniature Railway area and the Children’s Farmyard area.

Is ‘proponents’ the mot juste there? I don’t think so.

Here’s a CBC article about the request for proposals. That’s just nuts. It’s a city park, not a funfair. I encourage the Parks Board staff to take a drive up to Hope, and witness the sad, tired remains of bizarre theme parks that litter the highway. Maybe then they’ll think twice?

It’s a bit like the Parks Board was traumatized by last winter’s storm damage, and they’re just blindly reaching for anything to make us forget about it.


  1. Interestingly, I read that the miniature train was originally put in after a bunch of trees fell down in an earlier windstorm. But is a mini-train and a petting zoo really any less wacky than a bunch of animatronic dinosaurs? Or the incredibly popular Halloween and Christmas decorations around the trains?

  2. “Is a mini-train and a petting zoo really any less wacky than a bunch of animatronic dinosaurs?”

    Yes, I think so. To me, the mini-train and petting zoo have a sense of tradition around them. Also, you could argue that the train references Vancouver’s heritage as the end of the line, so to speak. The dinosaurs strike me as just plain goofy, and they’ll get old quick.

  3. They have somehow got it in their heads that the dinosaurs will bring in somewhere in the realm of ~200,000 extra visitors to the park per year, I think I heard on the radio. I don’t know. I assume they did some sort of study about the park’s strategy as a tourism destination in Vancouver, and this must have been one of the recommendations coming out of the study. But I just laughed when I heard the plan, and everyone I’ve talked to about it thinks it’s a joke and/or a mistake.

  4. I’m not really in favour of the dinosaurs, but I don’t heartily oppose them either. If they work and stick around for a few decades, they’ll be a tradition too.

  5. Giant dinosaurs is like Storyeum, Part Two. Hasn’t anyone noticed that all the best tourist attractions in Vancouver, and every city, are the ones that local people *and* tourists go to? Granville Island, Stanley Park, Spanish Banks, Whistler: they’re all tourist attractions but they offer something for local people too and local people support them.

    And besides, where are those 200,000 more people going to go? How will they get around? The park is already packed on busy days and impossible to navigate except on foot or bike. Next thing you know we’ll have a parkade at Prospect Point.

  6. Hi there,

    I came across your blog, and thought you might want to know what’s happening with this Jurassic proposal.

    I’ve just been alerted that the proposal to put 25 to 30 large robotic dinosaurs into Stanley Park will be debated by the Park Board earlier than expected. The “Dinosaur Experience” will be discussed at the Planning Committee on Tuesday October 23rd. The Planning Committee will be recommending whether or not this proposal should continue.
    I think it’s vital that the public let the Planning Committee, and Park Board know what they feel about a Jurassic Stanley Park. The meeting is at 7PM on Tuesday October 23rd and will be held at 2099 Beach Avenue in the west end of Vancouver. If you want to speak you need to sign up by Monday the 22nd at 12 noon which you can do by phoning 604-257-8451, or emailing If you are unable to come to speak it is vital that you email the board, your thoughts. An email can be directed to,,,,,,

    If you are concerned about this proposal like I am, and don’t believe robotic dinosaurs are the right fit for Stanley Park please forward this message to your contacts, and urge them to let the board know what they think.

    I hope to hear from you soon,


    Spencer Herbert
    Park Commissioner
    Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation

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