In Aug, 1992, my friends and I were jumped by some people who claimed to be in a gang because we were skateboarders. This event compounded with the problem of endless adults screaming at me that I was destroying public property, while they destroyed the ramps local skaters built, prompted me to write a letter to the local paper. Basically, the letter said help us build a local park or shut up since I wasn’t going to stop skateboarding.
Surprisingly enough, soon after, I received a call from the municipality asking if I would be interested in attempting to get a skatepark built in Ladner, BC. A committee was formed and a four year process began that involved several wooden interim parks, thousands of meetings, tons of fundraisers, and the beginnings of the outdoor skatepark boom in the Lower Mainland. When the Ladner park was completed in May, 1996 it was unlike other skateparks, since it was basically all street skating and did not cater to carving. The park was set up to be wide open and allow skaters to use individual elements-it incorporated actual ledges, rails, found in the street and transitions and funboxes that normally could only be found made out of wood.
Initially the park was hugely popular with images appearing in Thrashers Insane Terrain, Colin Mckay stating it was one of his favorite places to skate, ads with Adam McNat appearing in magazines and a never-ending list of locals and visitors. The municipality received an onslaught of requests from communities around BC regarding how the park was built and it served as an inspiration for how new parks could compliment the design.
The mid nineties was a prolific time for skating in Vancouver while places like New Spot were being shut down, you could turn up at the Ladner Park on any given weekday and see skaters from RDS, Whiskey and Cherry Bomb. During events like Slam City all the major teams like Girl could be found filming. There were so few street parks in fact that Ladner for a while was mecca. Original Ladner locals soon gained a reputation for being technical skaters who were less than welcoming to kooks. Locals like Mike Hastie absolutely ripped the Ladner Park from day one right to the end.
Yes the end-the Ladner Skatepark has been torn down to make way for the surrounding expansion of buildings. I hear there our plans to make a new park but time will tell. The Ladner Park quickly fell out of style as new parks have sprung up everywhere that continually build and improved on other skatepark designs. The Ladner Park was by no means just my park, as there were tons of people that contributed to its creation. Seeing the park so popular and having a hand in getting it built from that original letter to actually helping with the framing was pretty amazing. What I remember most about the Ladner Park was showing up on any night and skating with friends.