Located at the north terminus of Main Street, CRAB Park is a 2.5 hectare waterfront green space and beach destination so effectively tucked away from busy Gastown and the surrounding Downtown Eastside that it remains largely – amazingly – bereft of the crowds typically associated with Vancouver’s urban beaches.
It’s a busy place. The crescent shore is lapped by the wakes of slowly passing cruise and container ships, and the air buzzes with dock sounds, train shuntings, and seaplanes and helicopters taking off and landing nearby. And yet the park itself always feels tranquil, as if it’s somehow – magically – removed from the city skyline it so beautifully frames. It is precisely this oasis-like quality that makes it especially magnetic to those who frequent it.
CRAB Park’s real name is Portside Park, and it should be noted that it isn’t really a park at all (more like a long-term loan by the Port Authority). Although there would have doubtlessly been crab shacks once lining the shores of Burrard Inlet, the CRAB in this case is actually an acronym that stands for Create a Real Available Beach, which was the name of the committee that pressured the Park Board to get it made in the early 1980s.