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Creekside Paddling Centre, Vancouver, BC

Adding to the Function and Beauty of the Vancouver Harbourfront


Client: City of Vancouver, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation

Our Client’s Challenge

The client’s objective was to create a new state-of-the-art paddling centre to increase accessibility to water and paddling-based recreation at Vancouver’s False Creek harbourfront. The new centre, designed by McFarland Marceau Architects Ltd., was set to hold six floating storage sheds for non-motorized boats and paddling equipment, six floating docks and a gang way for entry and exit. WSP was engaged to provide the lighting design for the small storage buildings.

The goal was to create a Chinese paper lantern effect from the storage buildings – a concept that is not only aligned with the rich, cultural heritage of dragon boat racing but also reflects the city’s proud connection to its significant Asian population.

Our Approach

Due to the facility’s proximity to Vancouver’s Science World and BC Place, precise and careful lighting design was required by WSP to preserve and enhance Vancouver’s scenic harbourfront. As a result, our consultants’ approach was to design lighting that is subtle and in harmony with the landscape surrounding it while achieving the desired illumination at night.

The team used blue-toned translucent polycarbonate wall panels to create the transparent skin of the illuminated lanterns at night. WSP Lighting studio incorporated one set of energy efficient LED luminaires to highlight the inside face of the wood finish ceiling in each storage shed, which creates the desired warm glow lantern effect in the dark. In addition, another group of the interior ceiling mounted light fixtures provide work lights for the paddlers without destroying the lantern effect perceived from the outside.


WSP consultants designed an attractive lighting effect while ensuring low budget, low energy consumption and vandalism protection. The lighting added another decorative element to the beautiful and unique image of the False Creek harbourfront without competing with Vancouver’s other evening attractions.