Vancouver, BC
Project Size
960,000 sf
Henriquez Partners Architects
Public Art


The redevelopment of the former site of Woodward’s is perhaps the most significant mixed-use development project to be undertaken in Vancouver.

This high-profile development consists of approximately one million sf of market and non-market residential, institutional and retail. It also includes office, community space, London Drugs and the Woodward’s Food Floor above two levels of underground parking. The redevelopment of the Woodward’s site has revitalized the streetscape of the immediate area and is serving as a catalyst for the economic, social and physical revival of the Downtown Eastside. Covering almost an entire city block, this site, once a major department store, serves as the city’s historic and social heart.

For most residents of Greater Vancouver, the Woodward’s department store had special significance. The department store closed down in 1993. A very important element of the Woodward’s project was the heritage conservation plan.

Our redevelopment plan differed significantly from previous attempts at redeveloping by concentrating our efforts on the original 1903 – 08 building at the corner of Hastings and Abbott rather than attempting to save what was in fact a series of alterations and additions dating from 1903 to 1956. In addition to this restoration we carried out a number of interpretive zones, including: audio-visual stations; display windows; display cases; fragments from the original building, including a display of the original W sign placed on top of the tower in 1956. Installation of a new W sign on top of the restored 1903 building as well as the public art installation by Stan Douglas, Abbott & Cordova, 7 August 1971.

Woodward's is comprised of approximately one million square feet of market and non-market residential, institutional, retail, office and community uses including the new home for the Simon Fraser University (SFU) Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, above two levels of parking.


There is simply no comparison in the level of creativity that goes into something like Woodward’s with a conventional shopping centre or a typical residential tower.



Atrium Events
Dec 04. 2010

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.

Media Event
Apr 02. 2009

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.

Sales Event
Apr 22. 2006

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.

Blessing Ceremony
Feb 11. 2006

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.

Jul 25. 2005

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.

Public Art

Abbott & Cordova

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.