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Granville Street's car-free experiment gets underway in downtown Vancouver

The Granville Promenade is a summertime pedestrian-only zone that runs weekends and features live entertainment and activations

A stretch of Granville Street in downtown Vancouver is now closed to vehicle traffic on weekends as a new pilot program gets underway to test out what it's like to make the city's "Entertainment District" a pedestrian promenade during peak hours.

Dubbed the Granville Promenade, Vancouver city council passed a resolution supporting the idea in June, approving the event to take place between Smithe and Helmcken streets. 

Initially slated to begin July 24, the program got off the ground - or on the ground - on Saturday, July 31, with the portion of Granville closed from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The promenade zone will also be closed to cars, trucks, buses, and taxis Sunday, August 1 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. 

The program, which is being put on by the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA), will run every weekend through September 5, 2021.

"The promenade aims to infuse energy, promote community in the Downtown core, and create a family-friendly environment that encourages the public to support local businesses," explains the DVBIA.

To that end, people strolling the promenade zone can expect to see the blocks infused with public seating and temporary restaurant patios, art, and a giant sign perfect for photo ops that reads "❤️ VAN." 

From noon to 7 p.m. the promenade will also boast two stages for live music and performances, and live public art.

With a file from Cameron Thomson