Haven’t found that special someone to spend Valentine’s Day with yet? Throw convention to the wind and fall in love with New Westminster.
That’s what one resident is hoping folks from all over the Lower Mainland will do come Feb. 14.
What started out as a grassroots initiative to encourage couples to lock up their love at Westminster Pier Park, has quickly transformed into an experiment in promoting the Royal City.
Yosuke Ito is the man behind the Quay de L’Amour, an idea inspired by a trip overseas to Italy’s famous love locks. He hopes the idea will entice people to visit New Westminster and check out its new waterfront.
“The whole point is for people to come down to the Quay and to New Westminster and to really rediscover it. It’s changed so much in the last 10 years,” Ito said.
Ito, who grew up in the Tri-Cities area, has lived in New Westminster for about three years now, and he continues to be surprised by how it’s changed.
“Ever since they finished the urban beach last year, I go down there with my girlfriend and we hang out,” he said. “I felt like it was our little secret place, but I feel like everyone should be able to enjoy that space.”
And it’s not only Westminster Pier Park that should be attracting visitors. The River Market is another one of Ito’s favourite places to hang out in the city.
“River Market has undergone a lot of changes over the past five, six years as well,” he added.
With his love of New Westminster in mind, Ito is encouraging couples and singles alike, to spend Valentine’s Day in the Royal City. They can start by locking up their love lock at Westminster Pier Park and then stop by River Market for a bite to eat or something sweet.
“This is an idea (I’ve had) since 2013,” Ito said. “This is a great way to have people come down, and … have a shared experience at the Quay.”
Some of Ito’s other favourite places in New Westminster include Brick & Mortar on Sixth Street and Steel & Oak Brewing just off Stewardson Way – all accessible by foot, he added.
The idea is purely a social experiment. Ito said he doesn’t stand to gain anything except the joy it’ll bring him to see people visiting his beloved city.
It’s a community project much like events such as Pecha Kucha and Quest New West, and he hopes everyone, residents and non-residents, will partake.
“The city is changing, and I think it’d be great for everyone in Vancouver to really kind of help put New West back on the map,” he said. “I think it could be a great thing.”