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On Not Falling Down On My Face At East Vancouver’s “Leeside”


Every writer should probably have a hobby, lest he or she whither and suffer the horrors without a release valve. It can be the banjo, sex, speed-walking, tennis – whatever. The point is to take a step back from the mind-numbing pip-blank-pip of the mouse cursor and have some fun… I like skateboarding plenty, but for the past five years or so – really ever since I had kids and started writing about food and booze for a living – I’ve really put myself out to pasture. Thankfully, though, a few recent sessions – one under the Georgia Viaduct with fellow blogger Owen Lightly (that sounds so romantic) and the other last week in Tofino – have pulled me back onto my board.

So when my brother asked if I wanted to go skate Leeside a few days ago, I didn’t hesitate. Yes please. I was ashamed to say that I’d never even been there before, even though I’d heard so much about the place…

Alex Morrison | Frontside Wallride at Leeside Skatepark

Located in an East Van tunnel where Hastings St. goes over the No.1 Highway (on the east side of the PNE), it’s plenty far from home. Aside from a heap of garbage in the middle screwing kids out of their flatland action and the oft-disgusting detritus of youth scattered all around the periphery (broken beer bottles, etc), it offered lines galore, fairly good light, and most importantly a thick roof of concrete to keep the worst months of the year out. Aside from the occasional unseen pebble or bottlecap that might lock up a single wheel and send you flying (happened to me twice in the first ten minutes), it’s a pretty amazing little place. Michelle took several snaps while we were riding…

  • Leeside
  • Leeside
  • Quarters in quadruplicate...
  • Alex Morrison
  • Andrew Morrison - fs grind
  • Alex Morrison, frontside wallride
  • Dry
  • Breather
  • Andrew, frontside sugarcane
  • Alex, feeble to fakie on the highway divider
  • Alex, frontside grind
  • Alex
  • Andrew, frontside ollie
  • Pasture...

What makes it particularly cool is how the locals keep adding to it. A new speed hump here, a tightly transitioned quarterpipe there…and so on. Built and maintained by skateboarders for skateboarders, it was definitely one of the more unique spots I’d ever ridden, and I look forward to riding it again after giving it a few turns with a wide brush janitor’s broom.

Check the mini-documentary film Tunnel Vision below for the backstory on Leeside and the circumstances surrounding its construction (completed in the wake of its biggest proponent’s senseless murder).

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