Mount Pleasant Community Fence

Written by: Diego Rodriquez and Sophie Bégin

There is a park where Fraser Street ends. If you happen to find yourself walking down Fraser street one day and if you have some time to spare I would recommend you to visit this park, one block north of Broadway street this park brings Fraser street to an end and gives way to a calmed residential area. This park is home to a very particular piece of public art. The Mount Pleasant Community Fence is a fence that surrounds a small community garden in this park. Well this fence is made up of more than four hundred individual posts each one carrying a specific design made by someone different in the community. This fence has a very interesting story. The garden that this fence surrounds occupies a lot equivalent to that of two house lots and is part of the park terrain. A few years ago the city decided to build an alleyway right through the middle. People in the community weren’t too happy about this; more than seventy two families benefited directly from it. Artists Pat Beaton, Merle Adison, Haruko Okano teamed up with the community and organized an extraordinary protest. Neighbours were invited to contribute designs to carve into each and every post making the fence a reflection of what the garden was, a community effort. The project gained a big notoriety and sponsorships and the city had to call off its plans to build the alleyway and the posts were shown at an exhibition at a public gallery.

I moved around the area not long ago and I often walk past this garden. I had always noticed these posts and wondered what they were doing there and who had taken the time to make them. After deciding one day to research deeper into this I found this magnificent story about this particular piece of public art that differs from others around the city as it is made by the public, it’s there for the public and it serves the public. Its a wonderful piece that stands as proof of what a community can accomplish together, a magnificent piece that highlights the word unity in community.

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