Project Title:

Campbell River Downtown Revitalization

Project Organization:

City of Campbell River

Project Investment:

  • Island Coastal Economic Trust: $250,000
  • Total Budget: $1,888,850

Project Highlight:

The Spirit Square, located in Campbell River’s town centre, is a community focal point and provides an outdoor facility available for a variety of public events and gatherings.

In the early 2000s, the Campbell River downtown faced important challenges in retaining its vitality and ability to attract customers, businesses and investment. A study commissioned in 2005 concluded that one of the primary hurdles impeding further commercial and residential development in the downtown area was the lack of a central “draw” or gathering space.

As part of a larger revitalization effort, the Campbell River Spirit Square was built linking the downtown’s cultural amenities — the library, theatre and art gallery. A covered central stage with power and lighting capacity, surrounded by attractive concrete and cedar benches, was constructed to accommodate a variety of activities. The extended square included decorative stone, stainless steel features and etched patterns inlaid in the concrete floor to simulate the sea floor spreading outwards. Distinct marker poles were placed throughout to capture the attention of passersby. Green space with native plants was also incorporated, while existing downtown elements, such as the cenotaph and Netherlands memorial, received a prominent placement.

Completed in December 2009, the Campbell River Spirit Square is now an inviting place for people to gather. Special events, such as concerts, festivals and community celebrations, draw residents and visitors to the downtown core. The space also features a summer program of lunchtime and evening concerts drawing additional activity to the downtown area. The attending residents and tourists have significantly increased commercial activity in this location. The development of Spirit Square has also been a catalyst for the revitalization of the downtown core, with four very significant commercial real estate developments — each occurring less than a block away from this development. These include a very large, high-end senior’s residential complex, a new hotel, a new casino and large, attractive new corporate headquarters. Significant downtown revitalization has occurred in the vicinity of the latter and a business façade improvement program has also recently been approved to promote further business investment in beautification.

Island Coastal Economic Trust approved funding for this project in 2009 through the Capital and Innovation program.