While I support the refurbishment of Queen’s Park Stadium, as well as the continuation of its intended use of hosting high-level sport, I do not support one aspect of the current proposal: for the wooden stand on the stadium’s east side to be demolished.
This wooden stand is built in the tradition of British pitched-roof grandstands, and has significant heritage value.
While it is not currently listed or designated for heritage protection by the City of New Westminster, there are very few such stands remaining anywhere in Canada, and thus it should be protected for the enjoyment of future generations.
The stadium’s wooden stand is a miniature version of similar stands in the United Kingdom that are today protected by English Heritage and Historic Scotland.
It resembles stands designed by renowned Scottish architect Archibald Leitch, who built the stadiums of such famous soccer clubs as Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea.
Not many local people seem to (yet) appreciate it, but New Westminster has an absolute gem of historical sporting architecture in its midst.
Rather than knocking down the wooden stand at Queen’s Park Stadium, it should be preserved, and the proposed new stadium stand should be built (in a complementary way) around it.
A second wooden stand previously existed in Queen’s Park Stadium’s outfield, but unfortunately it was torn down in 1979 to make way for additional playing-field space.
That stand is gone forever, but we still have the opportunity to save the remaining wooden stand.
One day this wooden stand could become an international tourism draw for what the British refer to as “groundhoppers” – those who visit stadiums to experience their character and aesthetic treasures.
Are we seriously considering simply razing it to make way for an unexceptional modern structure?
As the first incorporated city in British Columbia, New Westminster boasts a tremendous historical legacy. The preservation of heritage architecture shouldn’t be limited to residential homes – heritage value exists in various city structures, including stadiums.
Devon Rowcliffe, Vancouver