St George Rainway

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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 collection 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.

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

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    18 Nov 2020

    Would you like to explore a familiar street in creative new ways?

    Holly Schmidt, the current Engineering Artist-in-Residence at the City of Vancouver has developed a sensorial walk tool kit for St George Street between 5th and 8th Ave. 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.

    To participate in the sensorial walk:

    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 submitting your responses on this website.

    Join Holly Schmidt for a Virtual Conversation

    On Wednesday December 9, 2020 from 7pm - 8pm join a virtual conversation to discuss your walk with the current. In this one hour conversation, Holly will explore some of her past work, and guide a discussion on the thoughts, insights, and discoveries you found while completing your sensorial walk along St George Street.

    Space is limited and registration is required. To register visit https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/129039288987 or email us at raincity@vancouver.ca.

    Would you like to explore a familiar street in creative new ways?

    Holly Schmidt, the current Engineering Artist-in-Residence at the City of Vancouver has developed a sensorial walk tool kit for St George Street between 5th and 8th Ave. 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.

    To participate in the sensorial walk:

    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 submitting your responses on this website.

    Join Holly Schmidt for a Virtual Conversation

    On Wednesday December 9, 2020 from 7pm - 8pm join a virtual conversation to discuss your walk with the current. In this one hour conversation, Holly will explore some of her past work, and guide a discussion on the thoughts, insights, and discoveries you found while completing your sensorial walk along St George Street.

    Space is limited and registration is required. To register visit https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/129039288987 or email us at raincity@vancouver.ca.

  • Remembering Lost Streams through Green Rainwater Infrastructure

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    17 Nov 2020

    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...

    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

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    09 Oct 2020

    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.

    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.