A family of placemaking and public art elements in Willingdon Linear Park, Burnaby, BC.

A Rite of Passage is a family of  19 place-making and public art elements which weave throughout the length of  the newly opened Willingdon Linear Park in Burnaby, BC.

While each element is nominally  an art work, they all strive to make the park a more engaging, useable, and fun (!) place. We were conscious of the different needs of community members of different ages. Thus some elements are playful, inviting children to climb and explore; likewise, some are quite and contemplative offering other people places to rest and escape. The family of elements plays with formal themes inspired by Burnaby’s setting within a watershed, a river delta, and as a city in transition.

Before, Willingdon Avenue was a wide and inhospitable arterial roadway. The city planned to widen the avenue before ultimately realizing that this space could address quality of life on a human scale instead.  With the opening of the park and A Rite of Passage, the street is transformed into a cultural landscape.

Rite of Passage includes six wayfinding “beacons,” 11 privacy “art screens” adjacent to homes, and public space activation in the form of integrated sculptures in two pocket parks.