For Woodward’s to live up to its promise, it needs to become the hub of what we coined the Woodward’s District. Our pancake breakfasts and Thanksgiving dinners are opportunities to welcome some of the neighbourhood’s disadvantaged residents to Woodward’s and an opportunity for our team to give back and to come together.
Over the coming years we hope to bring together all of the stakeholders in this unique neighbourhood in a series of events to help ensure that Woodward’s is more than just bricks and mortar and becomes the catalyst to help create a vibrant, culturally diverse and healthy community.
The focus on Woodward’s was intense. The project attracted a great deal of attention from media across North America. People were very curious to see if the experiment would succeed. It will take time for Woodward’s to live up to its potential but I think the general consensus is that we succeeded in achieving most of the goals that were set. It has brought real meaningful renewal to this troubled neigh-bourhood while retaining its unique character.
Woodward’s was a project that had so much good will attached to it. The sales effort was focused on tapping into Vancouverites fond memories of the old Woodward’s department store and finding believers who wanted to be part of the resurgence of their historic neighbourhood. We were successful in finding them and could have sold the project out a few times over.
My business partner Ben Yeung’s religious beliefs have had a discernible impact on our business and team culture. I have gained a great deal of insight and awareness from my friendship and partnership with Ben. All Westbank/Peterson joint ventures have groundbreaking, openings and various other events around the Chinese Calendar, which contains information on the auspicious and inauspicious days and timing for important events.
Groundbreaking at Woodward’s was a big day for Vancouver. When future historians look at the city’s modern history, I believe that the redevelopment of Woodward’s will rank up there along with Expo 86 and the Olympics in terms of importance to the fabric of the city.
So many things had to come together to pull off the Woodward’s redevelopment and having Stan Douglas produce Abbott & Cordova, 7 August 1971 tied it all together. This work restages the Gastown riot of 1971 and involved more than 100 actors portraying riot police, hippies and Mounted Police. Stan recreated the riot scene by laying down asphalt, reproducing aged building façades and merchandising store windows. The 1971 riot was a pivotal moment in determining Gastown’s current character.