Title and statement of responsibility area
Park Board site subject files
General material designation
- Textual record
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Title statements of responsibility
- Source of title proper: Title based on content of the series.
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Edition statement of responsibility
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1913, 1950-1974 (Creation)
- Vancouver Park Board
Physical description area
0.5 m of textual records
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Archival description area
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The Board of Parks and Recreation has its origins in the granting of the 950 acre military reserve at First Narrows to the City for use as a park. The new park, named in honour of the current Governor General, Lord Stanley was formally opened in 1888. To control the operations of the park, Council appointed a Park Warden and a Park Committee to oversee the development and management of the park. In 1890, the Committee was replaced by a permanent elected body, the three person Board of Park Commissioners. The by-law which created the Board (no. 96) gave the Commissioners absolute control and management over the park system. It was expected to expend monies voted to it by Council and had the power to enter into contracts and pass by-laws. In 1896, the Board passed its first by-law "for regulations and government of the parks of the city," and appointed a Park Ranger. In 1904, the Park Ranger's title was changed to Superintendent of Parks. Although they were not defined in writing until 1929, the duties of the Superintendent were: to act as the administrative head and business manager and report directly to the Commissioners; to keep the minute books and books of account and generally supervise all employees; to prepare budget estimates and annual reports. In 1980 the title was changed to General Manager. Over its history, the Board has maintained the following functions: administration; beaches, pools and bathhouses; building services and maintenance; design and management of park development; engineering services; income operations; management of Zoo, Gardens and Conservatory; overall management; park forestry; parkland acquisition; parks maintenance and construction; poundkeeping; recreation and; relations with the public. Through several administrative reorganizations and evolving City priorities, the emphasis placed on the execution of these functions has changed. At incorporation, the acquisition of park land was paramount. Recreation programs became a strong priority between 1911 and 1935, reorienting the character of the Board in assuming a service function rather than concentrating on the acquisition of parkland. The relations with the public function became a strong focus for the Board, beginning in the late 1960s and continued to be a central focus in the 1990s. The Board is currently organized into the following divisions: Administrative and Revenue Services; Finance; Environment and Operations; Planning and Development; Recreation Services.
Over its history, the Board has been known under a variety of names:
- Committee on Works and Property (1887-1888);
- Parks Committee (1888-1889);
- Board of Parks Commissioners (1890-1955);
- Board of Parks and Public Recreation (1956-1973);
- Board of Parks and Recreation (1974 ).
The following individuals have served as Superintendent of Parks (subsequently General Manager):
- John Hurst, 1888-1889 in the position of Park Warden;
- Henry Avison, 1889-1896 in the position of Park Ranger;
- George Eldon, 1896-1903 in the position of Park Ranger, 1904-1910 in the position of Superintendent of Parks;
- A. Balmer, 1910-1913; W. S. Rawlings, 1913-1936;
- Allen S. Wootton, 1936-1943;
- Philip Bateman Stroyan, 1943-1960;
- Stuart B. Lefeaux, 1960-1979;
- Vic Kondrosky, 1979-1980 as Superintendent of Parks and 1980-1997 as General Manager;
- Susan Mundick, 1997-.
For a more detailed history, please consult the finding aid to the Board of Parks and Recreation fonds in the Archives' reading room.
Scope and content
Series consists primarily of correspondence, but also includes minutes and budget information pertaining to the administration of Central Park, Aquarium, Civic Theatres, Queen Elizabeth Park, and the Seawall. The series is arranged by site.
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For conservation purposes, voluminous files have been divided into two file folders, designated a and b.