Harewood Skatepark

Watch a video profile on the story of Harewood Skatepark!

Take a few minutes to watch this video profile which celebrates the new Harewood Skatepark! This video by Filter Studios captures the dynamic action of local boarders and art through amazing drone footage. Follow along as SK8r’s catch air, carve the bowl and tail slide along the ledge! Skateboard enthusiast and Nanaimo Art Gallery curator Jesse Birch shares how Coast Salish artwork is integrated into the park.

Snuneymuxw Elder Gary Manson shares the pronunciation of the Hul’q’umi’num word ‘xwyunumus’ and what it means in the context of this amazing new park. Through interviews with Mayor Leonard Krog, Jordan Peltz from Nanaimo Skateboard Association, and Heather Campbell from Harewood Neighbourhood Association, we highlight the partners who, over time, helped to make this dream a reality for the skateboarding community, and a place for people of all ages and abilities to belong!

About the project

In July 2020, the City of Nanaimo officially opened the new Skatepark at Harewood Centennial Park (740 Howard Avenue). The new park received strong support from community partners, including Mid-Island Co-op, who donated $30,000, Harewood Neighbourhood Association, Nanaimo Skateboard Association, Knowles Estate, the Community Works Fund through the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) and other community businesses and developers.

Harewood Skatepark (Sean Fenzl, Photographer, 2020)

Photo: Overall view of skatepark (Sean Fenzl, Photographer, 2020)

Harewood Skatepark (Sean Fenzl, Photographer, 2020)

Photo: Mayor, Council, community members and City staff at official opening (by Sean Fenzl, Photographer, 2020)

For information on the project, contact 250-756-5321 or constructioninfo@nanaimo.ca. For questions related to the artwork, contact 250-755-4483 or cultureandevents@nanaimo.ca.

  • Progress

    Construction began in early 2020 and was completed in June 2020. The project was completed both on time and budget (officially opening on July 6, 2020, with an approved project budget of $778,000).

    • October 2, 2019: Project tender issued
    • November 2019: Project awarded and construction phase begins
    • Week of June 28, 2020: Unofficial park opening
    • Monday, July 6, 2020: Official opening ceremony
  • Documents
  • Details

    The final design of the skatepark features two main areas and was created with input from community skaters and youth reps from the Harewood neighbourhood:

    • Street-style plaza complete with eight types of facilities (descending taco with roll ends, big three-block gap with up ledge-bank and up gap, turnarounds with drop in banks, start sets with hubba ledges and rails, banked hips, wedge to wedges, manula pads without ledges, and long flatrails)
    • Kidney-shaped bowl and slappy wall with down rails

    The skatepark also features Coast Salish artwork integrated as part of the overall design. Snuneymuxw artist Joel Good, known for his carving and graphic illustration, teamed up with Bracken Hanuse Corlett, an interdisciplinary artist hailing from the Wuikinuxv and Klahoose Nations, to create artwork for the park. Their work was painted onto the concrete surface of the new park as soon as the freshly poured concrete was cured.  

    Good and Corlett were matched up by Nanaimo Art Gallery curator Jesse Birch, who thought they’d be an ideal fit for the project and for a collaboration, based on their respective art practices, their bold graphic styles, and their connection to skateboard culture. The artists spent time visiting the site and talking with Snuneymuxw Elder and language champion Gary Manson who shared stories about the significance of the river that runs adjacent to the skatepark, which was travelled by salmon making their way back home. The artists felt it was important to acknowledge that history, the land, and the salmon who have belonged there since time immemorial. The Supernatural Eagle carrying salmon, designed by Joel Good, represents an origin story of the Snuneymuxw people.

    For both artists, skateboarding was an important part of their lives growing up. Speaking from his experience as a young person who remembers his local skatepark as both a refuge and place of hierarchy, Bracken Hanuse Corlett says: “My hope is that this new park will be used by the full spectrum of skaters, and it will give space to kids trying to learn and progress. We all started with the kick-push at some point. The two skaters I designed are of youth who are just learning to shred.

     The City invited Nanaimo Art Gallery to take the lead on developing an art project for the new skatepark, which was originally intended to coincide with a nationally touring exhibition of art by Indigenous artists, called 'Boarder X.' Organized by Winnipeg Art Gallery, with artwork by Indigenous artists who skateboard, snowboard and surf, including Bracken Hanuse Corlett, the exhibition explores how these activities are an assertion of identity and relationship to the land. The exhibition plan has been altered because of COVID-19.

    The artwork at Harewood Skatepark was envisioned as a legacy piece for our communities in Nanaimo and a meaningful addition to a skatepark that has been a big dream of area skateboarders and many years in the making. Gallery curator Jesse Birch says, “I grew up skateboarding in Nanaimo and I know how precious this new skatepark in Harewood is to the community. Skateboarding is an inherently creative pursuit, and it follows that many skaters go on to work in art and culture. From the start, Joel and Bracken considered how their paintings could tell a story in synergy with the place, and with the flow of skating.

    About the Artists

    Bracken Hanuse Corlett is an interdisciplinary artist hailing from the Wuikinuxv and Klahoose Nations. His practice fuses painting and drawing with digital-media, audio-visual performance, animation and narrative. He studied at both the En’owkin Centre of Indigenous Art and Emily Carr University of Art and Design. He has also practised Northwest Coast art, carving and design through the mentorship of acclaimed Heiltsuk artists Bradley Hunt and his sons Shawn Hunt and Dean Hunt. He was a recipient of the 2014 BC Creative Achievement Award for Aboriginal Art and has exhibited in numerous galleries and has produced public art commissions from the City of Vancouver and the City of Victoria.

    Joel Good is a traditional Coast Salish artist from the Snuneymuxw First Nation. He carves in red and yellow cedar in the original Coast Salish style that has been revitalized by his father and mentor, William Good. In addition to carving alongside his father, he also works in drawing and graphic illustration, and collaborates with his sisters and mother for Ay Lelum–The Good House of Design. Throughout his career, Joel has had works commissioned by Nanaimo Art Gallery, The City of Nanaimo, BC Hydro, The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, The Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre, Leadership Vancouver Island, Snuneymuxw First Nation, and many others.

  • Background

    In 2010, Council received the Harewood Centennial Park Improvement Plan as a guide for future park enhancements.  Since 2010, a number of improvements have been completed including:

    • Installation of a playground for kids 2-12 that wraps around the water park and increases use for all four seasons
    • Improved climbing wall in partnership with the Romper Room Indoor Climbing Centre
    • Improved public parking
    • Removal of the barn/yard
    • Public access to over 3 acres of additional parkland
    • Mountain bike area in partnership with the Nanaimo Mountain Bike Association
    • Public art gateways
    • Some improvements to the existing lacrosse box
    • Site filling/preparation for future phases
    • Underground utility upgrades
    • Upgrades to the washroom and change rooms
    • Improvements to the uncovered sport court
    • Construction of a covered Sport Court

    In 2015, Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission (PRC) approved moving forward with a youth park concept design. In 2016, Council reviewed and approved the Skatepark concept and moving forward with a two-phase detailed design. Detailed design began in 2017. In 2019, detailed design was completed and it was recommended to combine the two phases of the Skatepark and construct it in 2020. The Skatepark officially opened on July 6, 2020.

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