St. George Rainway

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
Traffic Circle at St George Street and 7th Avenue

We want to hear your ideas for a proposed Rainway along St. George Street north of Broadway.

The St. George Rainway will deliver core utility services to manage rainwater in the neighbourhood. Using a series of Green Rainwater Infrastructure practices along St. George Street is a cost-effective tool to:

  • Reduce flooding
  • Treat pollutants from roadways
  • Reduce combined sewer overflows into local waterways
  • Enhance climate resiliency
  • Increase biodiversity

St. George Street was once home to te Statlew, also known as St. George Creek. In the early 1900s, this historic creek was buried underground to make way for roads and houses. The

We want to hear your ideas for a proposed Rainway along St. George Street north of Broadway.

The St. George Rainway will deliver core utility services to manage rainwater in the neighbourhood. Using a series of Green Rainwater Infrastructure practices along St. George Street is a cost-effective tool to:

  • Reduce flooding
  • Treat pollutants from roadways
  • Reduce combined sewer overflows into local waterways
  • Enhance climate resiliency
  • Increase biodiversity

St. George Street was once home to te Statlew, also known as St. George Creek. In the early 1900s, this historic creek was buried underground to make way for roads and houses. The St. George Rainway aims to reimagine this historic waterway through implementing green rainwater infrastructure features that capture and clean rainwater from local streets and sidewalks.

Daylighting, which is a process of bringing a buried creek back to the surface, is not being considered for this project. St. George Creek has been buried too deep below ground to make this option feasible. However, there are opportunities to acknowledge the importance and location of the creek through the creation of a unique rainway corridor.

Project history

The St. George Rainway was first envisioned by a group of community volunteers that includes local residents, students, storytellers, designers, educators, business people, artists, and many others. The group has been working together with community partners and stakeholders since 2008 to envision the Rainway concept and create opportunities for artistic expression, education activities, and community gathering.

The St. George Rainway project was also included in the 2013 Mount Pleasant Community Plan Implementation Documents as a future walking and cycling corridor that extends from Great Northern Way Campus to Kingsway, one that demonstrates rainwater management within a major street corridor, addressing water quantity as well as water quality.

How can you get involved?

We are now looking to further the vision and implement the Rainway project in consultation with the local community.

The development of a Rainway will require some trade-offs. To create space for the Rainway, some road space that is currently used for parking and/or travel will need to be repurposed.

The Rainway has potential to not only provide essential rainwater management services, but also create a unique blue-green corridor that provides enhanced public space, street improvements, and more greenery and biodiversity to the neighbourhood.

If you live, work, or play near St. George Street north of Broadway, we want to hear from you.

  • What we heard in Phase 2: Co-design for Co-Benefits

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    From late May to early July 2021, community members shared the co-benefits they would like to enjoy along the St. George Rainway. Together, we explored themes of designing for mobility, community, learning, and nature. Ideas generated during a virtual public workshop in June became the basis for a survey, in which we asked the public to rank the co-benefit ideas and share additional ideas with us.

    Check out our engagement reportto see the top design ideas!
    In order of interest levels, the top type of art in the Rainway would be creative pollinator habitat with 40 people interested, then paving pattern with 32 interested, street mural with 24 interested, artistic benches and seating with 22 interested, sculptural art with 19 interested, interactive or play-based art with 18 interested, and finally sound-based art with 9 interested. Additional ideas include interpretive signage, bat boxes, participatory art, and art that recognizes and celebrates water. Sample page from the Engagement Report showing interest levels for various types of art in the Rainway.

    Some emerging themes from Phase 2:

    Icon of shrubs, trees, and grasses.

    Nature should lead the design.


    Icons of someone walking, a bicycle, a tree, and a raining cloud.

    Street space priorities echo what was heard in the last survey with space for urban nature and space for walking and cycling coming out on top. See the report for the full rankings.


    Icons of a car, a parking sign, and a bicycle.

    Current and future parking needs are important considerations, and while overall they are the lowest ranked street space priorities, they rank slightly higher among local residents.


    Icon of a safety vest and a hard hat.

    The Rainway should be designed with safety in mind.


    Icon of a person in a wheelchair, a child holding a balloon, and a person walking.


    The design needs to be functional and accessible to all.


    Icon of a plant growing from books.


    The project must make space for Indigenous knowledge.


    How is this input being used?

    City staff have been working on concept designs for the street layout and green rainwater infrastructure. These concept designs incorporate the vision and ideas we heard from community during engagement in Phase 1: Values and Vision and Phase 2: Co-design for Co-Benefits, as well as feedback from our community-based Advisory Committee.

    The concept designs balance the public feedback with Council priorities, technical feasibility, and financial viability. Want to learn more about project feasibility? Watch our series of videos about the project goals, what green rainwater infrastructure is, and the parameters that influence our design.

    Phase 3 of engagement will be launching at the end of October. It will focus on getting feedback from the public on a series of initial design concepts and options.

    What’s Next?

    • Enjoy a self-guided sensorial walk: listen to the audio tour or download the pdf of activities to explore St. George Street using all your senses.
    • Stay tuned for Phase 3: Initial Concept Designs, which will launch at the end of October. Save the dates:
      • Have a sneak peak of the design options at the Mount Pleasant Farmer’s Market on Sunday, October 31, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.
      • Give your feedback in a survey live from November 4 to 28.
      • Drop into our virtual open house on Wednesday November 17 between 6:30 – 8:30 pm for a chance to learn more about the project and ask staff questions.

    More information on the next phase coming soon!

  • Co-designing for Co-benefits Survey now open!

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    Thank you to everyone who attended our workshop on June 1! We had robust conversations that gave us some great ideas of what community members want to see on the St. George Rainway. We are now launching a survey that will let us hear from more people, confirm that we properly captured the suggestions from the workshop, and collect additional ideas.

    Graphic illustration of outputs from the co-designing for co-benefits workshop


    Key ideas from the Co-design for Co-benefits workshop are summarized in the above graphic recording. It highlights some of the big ideas that were shared in each group on the themes of Mobility, Nature, Community, and Learning.

    Some key messages we heard were that safety and accessibility are very important, both in terms of how people get around, and in creating an inclusive and welcoming feel for the Rainway, where the whole community can get involved, from kids to seniors and everyone in between. Participants also wanted a wild and natural-feeling space, where they can learn and share their knowledge about the ecology and history of the area, and develop a deeper relationship with nature and the water cycle.

    Icon of a car that reads "Reduce Vehicle Speeds"Icon of a raindrop that reads "Water is at the centre of everything"Icon that reads "Indigenous knowledge: Native plants that would have grown along the historic creek"


    What do you think?

    This survey takes what we heard at the workshop on June 1 and gives an opportunity for input from more of our neighbours. We want to hear your thoughts on what was discussed in the workshop and any other ideas you have to share.

    Whether you attended the event or not, you are invited to fill out the survey. Share your thoughts with us on how we can best design the St. George Rainway to meet our drainage needs and enhance mobility, nature, community, and opportunities for learning in the neighbourhood. The survey will be open from June 14 to July 4: https://shapeyourcity.ca/st-george-rainway/survey_tools/co-designing-for-co-benefits

    Co-designing for co-benefits videos

    If you want to learn more about the project, we have also have recordings available from the June 1 event that provide an overview of the project, including background, feasibility and opportunities for the Rainway.





  • Launching Public Engagement 2: Co-designing for Co-benefits

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    We are now launching our second phase of public engagement for the St. George Rainway project. In the first phase we got a better understanding of how you envision the project, and what you value most. We are now inviting you to dig into the design and share your ideas for the Rainway. Together, we will come up with potential design elements and ideas that will deliver important rainwater management and drainage functions, promote active transportation, and bring exciting co-benefits to the neighbourhood.



    This phase of public engagement is all about getting creative with how we can incorporate the themes of mobility, learning, nature, and community with the important rainwater management function of the Rainway.


    After this phase is complete, City staff will use the ideas submitted to develop several design options for the Rainway, which will be brought back to the public for comments in Phase 3.

    There are 3 ways to participate in this phase of engagement.

    Virtual Design Workshop, June 1st 6:30-8:30 pm (Registration Required):

    In this online workshop we will be collecting ideas for how to enhance the green rainwater infrastructure and active transportation functions of the Rainway and deliver other benefits and amenities to the neighbourhood. Join us to co-design for:

    • Mobility
    • Learning
    • Nature
    • Community

    Registration required. To register, visit https://sgrcodesign.eventbrite.ca

    Online Survey:

    Share your ideas for the design of the St. George Rainway! Our upcoming survey builds on the ideas collected in our June 1st workshop and provides the opportunity for even more people to share their thoughts.

    The survey will be posted here and open from June 14-July 4th.

    Sensorial Walk:

    We’ve recorded a sensorial walk audio tour of St. George and put it online! The walk launches the last week of May. Check here or sign up for our mailing list (button on the right) for updates, or find the signage posted along St. George Street to start exploring your neighbourhood in a new way.

  • Walking with the Current: A Sensorial Walk Along St George Street

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    Come listen and explore this neighborhood in creative ways using your senses as guide!

    Holly Schmidt, the current Engineering Artist-in-Residence at the City of Vancouver has developed a sensorial walk for St. George Street between 5th Avenue and 8th Avenue. You can choose to listen to Holly guide you or you can download the pdf toolkit to do on your own.


    * Walking with the Current Audio tour

    THE MAP
    STOP#
    LOCATION
    TITLE
    AUDIO LINK
    Intro Welcome. Let's get started! Introduction
    1
    NW corner of 8th Avenue and St George Street

    Water is Life

    2
    West side of St. George Street between 8th Avenue and 7th Avenue

    Signal to Noise

    3
    SE corner of 7th Avenue and St. George Street

    Stones to Mountains

    4
    East side of St.George St. between 7th Avenue and 6th Avenue

    Dynamic Flow

    5
    SW corner of 6th Avenue and St. George Street

    Water Underground

    6
    SW corner of 6th Avenue and St. George Street

    Seasonal Shades

    7
    NE corner of 5th Avenue and St. George Street *Note: New sign awaiting installation

    Drifting Away

    8
    NE corner of 5th Avenue and St. George Street

    Lingering Aftertaste


    Tell us what you experienced! Share an idea, thought, or photo of from your sensorial walk by emailing us at raincity@vancouver.ca.


    * Walking with the Current Downloadable toolkit

    To participate in the entire sensorial walk without the audio clips using a downloadable toolkit:

    Using this toolkit and your five senses, you can experiences St. George Street in a new and unique way. The toolkit is made up of a series of creative exercises that you can do on your own or with your family. The walk takes about one hour, but you can also do parts of it at different times.

    1. Download the toolkit: https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/walking-with-current-stgeorges.pdf
    2. Go for a walk along St. George Street and follow the toolkit instructions
    3. Share your experiences with us by adding to the map tool or emailing us a raincity@vancouver.ca *
  • Public Engagement 1: Vision and Values Survey Analysis

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    In Fall 2020, we asked the community to share their values and vision for the St. George Rainway through an online survey that ran from November 3 to December 7, 2020.

    Staff reviewed all survey submissions and analyzed the data to better understand the wants, needs, concerns and ideas of the community.

    This is what we heard from you! St. George Rainway Survey Report from Public engagement 1: Vison and values.

    Stay tuned for updates on our community engagement process by visiting this webpage or signing up for our mailing list.

  • Public Engagement 1: Vison and Values Has Ended

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    During our first public engagement, we hosted an online survey to understand your values and visions for St. George Rainway and your concerns about the project. The survey was open from November 2 to December 7.

    We also worked with the City's Engineering Department Artist-in-Residence Holly Schmidt to launch a self-guided sensorial walk toolkit as a way to explore a familiar street in new ways. We hosted a virtual discussion to chat with the artist and discuss experiences with the sensorial walk. The toolkit is available online and we encourage you to explore the street in new ways in the months to come! You can also share your findings with us using the mapping tool or the toolkit submission survey.

    Staff will now be reviewing all survey submissions and analyzing the data to understand the needs, wants and concerns of the community. We will share our findings on this website in spring 2021.

    Stay tuned for updates on our community engagement process by visiting this webpage or signing up for our mailing list.

  • Remembering Lost Streams through Green Rainwater Infrastructure

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    Vancouver was once home to more than 40 creeks and streams that supported fish, birds, and other types of wildlife. Over time, those waterways were buried to make way for roads, sidewalks, and buildings, leaving an important natural legacy forgotten underground. One of those is what we now refer as St. George Creek.

    For years, rainwater was treated as a nuisance, put into pipes and conveyed away as quick as possible. But there is a new movement underway to rethink this approach by using nature as an ally to help manage rainwater. Some waterways, like St. George Creek, are buried too far underground to resurface. However, by using green rainwater infrastructure (GRI) we can find new ways to honour lost streams while also providing rainwater management services at the surface.

    Using thoughtful design, this rain garden has been shaped and planted to mimic water flowing in a stream

    What’s the difference between Green Rainwater Infrastructure and Stream Daylighting?

    Green rainwater infrastructure (GRI), uses a combination of nature-based and engineered solutions to help capture and clean rainwater. These are not just naturalized features, but are important drainage infrastructure.

    Unlike a daylighted stream, water will only be visible at the surface of a GRI feature during heavier rain events. During more modest rain events, the water is readily absorbed by soil and plants and less likely to be seen flowing through the system. During rainstorms, water may move through the infrastructure very similar to water running through a stream.

    An example of water entering a rain garden from the street.

    Slowing down and absorbing the rainwater is an important part of how the rainwater run-off pollutions get cleaned in a rain garden. Unlike a stream, which is conveying water away, GRI manages water by encouraging it to slow down and seep into the soils. GRI may appear dry on the surface, even though the plants and soils are working effectively to filter and absorb rainwater. Landscaped GRI is well-established as an effective rainwater run-off management too that can also provide beautiful landscape to be enjoyed by people and wildlife. GRI is designed to drain excessive ponding and to generally clean and absorb all surface water within 24 hours to ensure these features are ready to handle the next rain event and do not become mosquito breeding grounds.

    Rain gardens slow down rainwater and allow soils and plants to help remove pollutants

    Connecting the Drops to Support Aquatic Health

    Currently, much of the rainwater in the city is managed through grey infrastructure – it is captured in catch basins, conveyed through the sewer system pipes, and outfalls into local waterways like False Creek. Often, this water receives no treatment, so it carries pollutants from roadways directly into aquatic habitats.

    The St. George Rainway is an example of a different approach being taken by the City of Vancouver rainwater infrastructure is planned and built. GRI not only captures rainwater, but also treats that rainwater, removing many harmful pollutants. This means cleaner water flowing into False Creek, which helps to improve ecosystems for salmon and other aquatic life.

    Water is an important source of life of all living creatures. The St George Rainway is an opportunity to honour this incredible resource by helping to keep it clean.


  • St. George Rainway Project Community Group

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    The St. George Rainway Project is a collaborative initiative begun in 2008 by a group of passionate volunteers including local residents, students, parents, storytellers, designers, educators, business people, artists and others.

    This community driven initiative seeks to honour a historic waterway in Mount Pleasant. The goal is to use rainwater runoff from adjacent properties, the street, and connecting laneways to reimagine this lost stream as part of a “Rainway” along St. George street from Kingsway to the False Creek Flats.

    Through a range of community events, they have worked with diverse stakeholder groups to envision what the Rainway could look like. This initiative is both an engineering and community-building project and the group has worked with in partnership with the City, as well as local schools and organizations. In addition to naturalizing the streetscape and drainage, the project is creating opportunities for artistic expression, educational activities, urban agriculture, and community gatherings.

Page last updated: 25 October 2021, 13:45