New Westminster was chosen as the new colony because of it’s strategic site location. As the city flourished the design and architectural landscape changed with it however always paying respect to it’s site location beside the Fraser River.
While the architecture, shops and certain design elements have changed since 1866 there is once again an appreciation of the downtown area.
Here we will look at the different ways the city landscape have developed in terms of design or remained their historical features:
For over 2 decades the city has been revitalizing their most important asset – the Riverfront. They have added parks, seating, continuous pedestrians bike paths, playground and sporting grounds.
The Public Market:
A public market has always been present in New Westminster. The first public market began in 1892 and was rebuilt after the great fire of 1898. The venue has changed and moved over time but the presence of a public market has always been essential in the daily life of the city’s citizens. As a way to make the public market life relevant again the Westmisnter Quay Public Market was redeveloped into River Market.
Hyack Square was formally recognized in 1986 although having been established as a public square in 1860. The area was a place for celebrations and gatherings. In 2009 the square was revitalized to accommodate seating, historical features and public art.
While New Westminster main corridor has changed over time, much of the street still boast original the original architecture to reflect it’s historical roots. The streetcars have been replaced with automobiles but the street is still as walkable today as it was in the past.
The Paramount Theatre is the oldest surviving theatre in BC. It was established as Paramount in 1950 by George W. Grant. Although it is no longer a movie theatre the building remains as an entertainment venue. The exterior facade has remained but the interior has changed with the different needs of the activities.
The concept of this blog is an extension of my Bachelor of Interior Design capstone proposal: By The River.
Public spaces are the cornerstone of great communities. By The River is a vibrant social hub in the historical district of New Westminster. The capstone proposal bridges the gap between the city’s historical and cultural ammenities; the waterfront and the main retail core. The space will be a public interior mixed-use facility that will enable around the clock activity. As the city continues to grow By The River will be a space that enables the city to maintain the close community and historical culture of New Westminster.
Activities held within the space will help to promote socialization and building a strong sense of community. The space will be inclusive and ensure that young children to seniors will be able to enjoy the space together. The congregation of different bodies under one roof will help to attract more festivals and events that can bring vibrancy to the area. By The River hopes to become a positive component in helping downtown New Westminster transform into a lively and dynamic area.
Extensive research such as interviews; on-site case studies at the River Market, Telus Garden and Library Square; and behavioural analysis were conducted to help inform the design of the interior spaces.
The result utilizes both the CPR Building and the BCER Building. As the two buildings are straddled between the Hyack Square both spaces are able to expand into the exterior public spaces and into each building.
Here are some rendering concepts for the interior spaces:
The River Market has evolved from over 100 years of a public market’s presence in New Westminster. When the original Westminster Quay Public Market was in derelict, Leslie and her partner saw an opportunity to make the market relevant again. The new venture included a complete redesign of the interior spaces with all new tenants and activities that will bring life into the space. An interview with Leslie Shieh, Project Manager, was conducted to understand her vision for the River Market.
Why New Westminster?
New Westminster is geographically cenetered in the Lower
Mainland with Vancouver to the North and Surrey to the South. The
areas is also very accessible by transit and road. New Westminster
has a growing population which can be accredited to the rapid
redevelopment of the area. The area also has an active residential
population who take part in community events.
What is different now than from the original building?
The whole building was gutted and renovated with a new layout.
The amount of stores were reduced significantly to ensure vendors
had adequate space for their respective functions. This allows food
and beverage companies to accommodate a full kitchen which
allows them to cater out of the River Market and build on their
Largest group of demographics using the space?
Seniors, adults with their children and families.
Types of businesses you allow in the space?
Local businesses and entrepreneurs
What events happen in the space?
In the flex space and food hall various events can take place such
as: craft fairs, fundraisers, mom swap meets, and Art Starts
From this interview we can conclude that the redesign of the River Market has become an essential part of the daily community again. By Leslie and their respective partners investing into the building they have created a space designed for families, students and workers to gather collaboratively under one roof.
In a sea of many wedding dress shops and prom stores New Westminster also boast plenty of small interior designs stores. As someone who lives far from Downtown Vancouver you start to learn about the great design services offered around your area.
Supporting local business are not only good for the economy but help to foster a strong sense of community. The most essential aspect of small unique shops is that New Westminster was built on the direct contact of craftsmen and their customers.
Here are some great interior design shops that can be located in New Westminster:
While only around for 3 years, Banana Lab offers primarily re-furbished mid-century modern furniture. The store is owned by Jin Kim and her husband Wonduk Yoo. To help support other local artist, they partner with other artist allowing them to use their space as an opportunity to also express their creative freedom.See the list of many other artist they collaborate and support.
457A East Columbia St, New Westminster, BC 604-553-1040
Hours: Tues-Sat 11-6
Champagne Taste Home Decor
2. Champagne Taste Consignment Store truly illustrates New Westminster’s unique tradition of connecting with community members. The goal of the consignment store is to have a more unique experience unlike the big box stores we are all used to. The high end consignment store sells new and used furniture all with the same spirit – finding the perfect home.
1101 Royal Ave, New Westminster
604 524 6068
Hours: Mon-sat 10-5:30 Sun 12-5
3. As I was bridesmaid shopping with a friend along Columbia Street we stumbled upon Lofty Living. From the outside the interior of the shop looked so cute and different we just had to check it out. They are more than just a decor shop, they also sell cards clothing and beauty products. Definitely a nice break in the plethora of dress shops in the area!
4. Brick & Mortar is another unique shop in the historic downtown area since 2012. They sell local designs, gifts and furniture pieces. Besides from offering design pieces they also have a flower shop in store. It’s a place I have drove by many times and the window displays are always very pleasing to look at.