Honouring Art Phillips
A park for the best mayor ever
Last month, Michael Francis approached Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson with an idea.
Francis, former chair of the SFU board of governors, former chair of the NPA, now retired, caught Robertson’s ear at The Cities Summit, held in the Vancouver Convention Centre. They were both delegates there.
Francis wanted to talk to Robertson about Art Phillips, mayor of Vancouver from 1973 to 1976. Francis is a close friend of Phillips and his wife, Carole Taylor.
“I’ve always been an admirer of Art’s,” Francis said. “He was the mayor of our generation. The ideas of a livable city, of a livable downtown? They sprung from Art’s head.”
Phillips was Vancouver’s first modern mayor, in the way we now appreciate modern urban affairs. He was instrumental in bringing social housing to Vancouver and ending plans for a downtown expressway. He helped establish the Property Endowment Fund and a heritage registry. He was a force in the redevelopment of Gastown and False Creek.