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3 Vancouver spots among this year's Great Places in Canada

Here are the three "Great Places in Canada" finalists from Metro Vancouver for 2017.

What makes a place great? Some may say it's all in the planning. From refreshed urban spaces to vital bridges, to entire communities, there are many great places across Canada that deserve recognition for the work that made them what they are.

Every year, the Canadian Institute of Planners runs the Great Places in Canada contest, which "recognizes the contributions of planners by celebrating their lasting impressions on Canadian communities."

Done through a public nomination and voting method, the 2017 crop of contenders includes three Metro Vancouver great places (and a couple more from elsewhere in British Columbia, too).

Check out the nominees and vote; the voting period is open until October 27.

Here are the three "Great Places in Canada" finalists from Metro Vancouver for 2017.

Front Street Mews (New Westminster)

 City of New WestminsterCity of New Westminster

There have been major changes to New West's Front Street in the past few years, including the demolition of half the riverfront parkade. Now Front Street has been revitalized as a "mews," for bicycle, pedestrian, and one-way vehicle traffic. "

The site of a popular new summer Friday night market, Front Street is a vibrant new destination. "Animated with street furniture, catenary lighting, a parklet and public art, the Mews continues to evolve into a great place, inviting people to linger, to socialize, and to truly experience the unique culture and character of Downtown New Westminster," notes Great Places in Canada's voting page.

Town Centre Park (Coquitlam)

Lafarge Lage in Coquitlam used to be a gravel pit. Now it's home to Town Centre Park, a 42-hectare city park packed with amenities including a live performance venue, sports facilities, year-round events, and more.

"Town Centre Park is a place of destination, connection, evolution and celebration," and is "the spirit and pride of the City of Coquitlam."

Alley Oop (Vancouver)

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Who knew that what downtown Vancouver needed was a pink and yellow alley way with a basketball hoop and some very Instagram-able walls? That's Alley Oop, the revitalized laneway between Seymour and Granville and Hastings and Pender.

From Great Places: "Alley Oop has become recognized as an icon of Downtown Vancouver’s progressiveness and a symbol of diversity in the business district. With literally thousands of Instagram posts associated with the geolocation and hashtag, and three major public events hosting upwards of 5,000 people, the project has had a measurable impact on the city."