Thanks to a community collaboration between Concert Properties and Easter Seals British Columbia/Yukon, thousands who rely on Easter Seals House for a welcoming place to stay while seeking medical treatment in Vancouver now have a new outdoor space in which to rest and recharge with the official opening of a new garden and play area today at the Oak Street facility.
The project, initiated by the Garden Club of Vancouver, offers a children’s play space, garden paths, a gathering place for groups sheltered from the midday sun, barbecue, fire pit and picnic areas, and quiet spots for relaxation and reflection among the trees all accented by seasonal plants, shrubs and flowers.
“This garden will help us continue to plant the seeds of restoration, recreation and rejuvenation for all those who stay at and visit Easter Seals House,” said Lisa Beck, President and CEO of Easter Seals British Columbia/Yukon. “We can’t thank Concert enough for being such good partners and community citizens and helping us achieve our dream of seeing this garden come to fruition.”
Every year, Easter Seals House provides a lifeline for thousands of families across BC and Yukon that require access to Vancouver hospitals by offering affordable and comfortable short-term accommodation, a home away from home and a vital support network for approximately 14,000 guests who travel from their communities to stay at the facility.
The new garden has myriad uses — beyond its role as a reflective retreat, hub for social gatherings and natural space filled with fun activities for children and their families, it will offer a place for youth and young adults with disabilities who take part in Easter Seals’ City Adventure Day Camp and new Life-Skills Development Programs. It will also serve as a vital space where Easter Seals can engage volunteers, connect with existing donors and introduce potential new donors to their ongoing mission of hope.
“This project not only underscores our goal of building people-first communities but provides Easter Seals House with another amenity where visiting families can take a moment to breathe and relax and children can forget about medical treatments and just be themselves,” said Concert Properties President and CEO Brian McCauley.
McCauley and several Concert staff members rolled up their sleeves, dug in and volunteered their time on weekends during the construction process in order to help Easter Seals House staff fully realize their vision for the garden and see the space come to life. Concert staff also raised funds and donated construction materials to build the whimsical playhouse and garden glass covered cedar pergola in the BBQ area. “It’s a true testament to the healing and restorative power of nature and what can be achieved by giving a little back to the community at large,” added McCauley.
Photos by Suzanne Rushton