German Canadian Heritage Plaza – Deutscher Platz
For EXPO ’86, GRACE McCARTHY, the Minister of Transportation contacted all multicultural immigrants in Vancouver, to construct park-like gardens along the newly minted Sky Train route. The idea was that each community “adopt” a garden and take care of it in cooperation with the local Park Board.
In the German community, the German Canadian Congress founded a “Parkway Committee”. Thanks to the many generous Germans in BC and Germany – associations, corporations, churches, schools, members of the public and the media- they were able to fundraise and create the space to represent Germans in Canada quite quickly.
The Place was built after a model of the design provided by landscape architect G. Edel. The GERMAN CANADIAN HERITAGE PLAZA was soon born. Once the construction was complete, Axel Hoyer began laying out the garden. Ebco, Eppich brothers made the plaques and had the donor names engraved at no charge. Goetz Lange-Michels donated the log; Mr. Hammerl from Armstrong carved the logo free of charge.
The opening ceremonies took place on June 29, 1986. VIP’s and the public and around 2,000 enthusiastic participants attended. The GERMAN community had created a memorial, which was seen to be deserving symbol of the contributions of GERMAN immigrants, with positive recognition from the CANADIAN public. The donations, to maintain and upkeep the space, lasted for 6 years. With time, it fell into obscurity.
In August 1992, all of the former Committee Members were invited by Ursula and Eugen Neubert to discuss to upkeep of the space and to once again raise donations for this purpose, resulting in the founding of the GERMAN CANADIAN HERITAGE PLAZA COMMITTEE. This working group is an independent, non-profit society, which, on behalf of the German-speaking public, assumes the responsibility of maintaining this space and carries out these responsibilities based on jointly established conditions in order to maintain the GERMAN CANADIAN HERITAGE PLAZA (Deutscher Platz) of the German-Speaking community. It is now considered a memorial for German immigrants, just like the GERMAN FOUNTAIN at the Queen Elisabeth Theatre and the Friendship Globe in Dundarave Park.
In their 31st Anniversary year, the Vancouver Park’s Board, on Thursday, October 11, 2018 honoured the Plaza’s longterm volunteer commitment with a memorial plaque that was unveiled by the daughter of the Honourable Grace McCarthy, Mary Parsons. The Park Board also promised to take over the maintenance and upkeep of the Plaza from then on. The non-profit committee looking after the park still exists and still promise to ensure the Plaza stays clean and green.