An East Vancouver park that achieved infamy just over a year ago when a local prankster/artist surreptitiously renamed it “Dude Chilling Park” will forever be associated with the cheeky moniker thanks to a recent decision by the city's apparently chill parks committee.
The little-known Guelph Park, southeast of downtown Vancouver, attained instant fame after an official-looking sign with the hip, new name was posted without formal approval. The change was celebrated in local newspapers, trumpeted on social media, and Google Maps briefly began identifying the park by its new name before city staff ended the party.
Thanks to a recent decision by the Vancouver Parks Board, the change is now official and the comical sign will be returned to the park.
The story behind this amazing evolution, which took the boringly-named Guelph Park to the cutting edge and beyond, began in November 2012, when an unauthorized sign was secretly erected declaring the space to be named "Dude Chilling Park."
The sign mimicked standard park signs, complete with a Vancouver Parks logo. It stood for about a day before being removed by city staff.
The moniker "Dude Chilling Park" was the creation of artist Viktor Briestensky, who was inspired by a sculpture of a reclining man that can be found at the park. The creation of the sign as an act of street art was itself somewhat celebrated on the Museum of Vancouver website.
The sign's demise led to a petition signed by more than 1,800 residents calling for its return.
"Dude Chilling Park will become a destination, a place to meet with friends. Imagine a visitor from Toronto sharing his photo relaxing with the "chilling dude," instead of just another boring picture of him riding the downtown bull statue," reads the petition, which cheekily called the park an immediate tourist destination.
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The decision to return the sign to the park was not made lightly. According to a city board report, technical approval was first obtained and an aesthetic review was conducted by the Public Art Committee.
Community consultation was held, which included a survey that found 77 per cent of respondents in favour of the sign's return.
Vancouver is not the only city to see official-seeming signs posted within their borders. Late last year, someone in Edmonton changed “Welcome to Edmonton” signs to include such titles as “Road Construction City” and “Alberta’s Capital City: Suck it Calgary.”
Those signs have yet to receive permanent approval from city officials. For some reason.
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