Over the past few days we've published a number of different stories concerning Vancouver Park Board signs that contain the word "chilling" in them, and we've seen it create some confusion on our social media channels.
When the Dude Chilling Park sign was stolen (again) we saw people commenting about how they should leave the barge sign alone. When the Barge Chilling Beach sign was spray-painted we saw people commenting about leaving the Dude alone.
We're offering an explanation and a brief history of these often conflated items. Feel free to forward it to anyone who you see who is mistaking one for the other.
Dude Chilling Park
Officially known as Guelph Park, Dude Chilling Park is the unofficial name given to the park by locals. It's located a couple of blocks east of Main St and a couple of blocks north of Broadway, near Kingsgate Mall.
It got its moniker due to the Micheal Dennis sculpture "Reclining Figure" located in the park and which looks like a dude who is chilling on the grass.
In 2012, another artist, Viktor Briestensky, created and installed a fake-but-very-convincing Park Board sign that deemed "Dude Chilling Park" semi-official. The sign was almost immediately removed by the powers that be.
A petition was launched, and Vision Vancouver Park Board commissioner Sarah Blyth (who now works as the Director of the Overdose Prevention Society) introduced a successful motion to make Dude Chilling Park somewhat official.
A Park Board-sanctioned sign was constructed in 2013 and went up at the corner of the park, adjacent to the roundabout.
Now a destination, the sign has been stolen multiple times over the years.
Barge Chilling Beach
The Barge Chilling Beach sign is a temporary one that appeared at Sunset Beach in the West End on Dec. 15, 2021, as a nod to the wayward chip barge that washed ashore and garnered a whole lot of attention.
Unlike the story of the Park Board answering a cry from the public who had taken it upon themselves to rename a place, the sign was all the board's doing.
A statement from them noted the sign was "Our little holiday gift to you, Vancouver. No matter what storms life may send our way, we’ll always be here for you. Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday and a prosperous 2022!"
Days after its launch Vancouver Is Awesome released a Barge Chilling Beach t-shirt which is still available for purchase at the time of this writing.
In what some saw as vandalism and others saw as an act of protest, in early Jan. 2022, someone spray-painted "Í7iy̓el̓shn" across the front of the sign. That's the traditional Squamish name for the beach. The spray paint was quickly removed.
How long the Barge Chilling Beach sign (and the barge itself) will remain where it is now is anyone's guess at this point.
Dude Chilling and Barge Chilling are two different things, located in different parts of the city, but both are products of the Park Board.
With files from Brendan Kergin, Cameron Thomson, and Sandra Thomas