Choklit Park

Walk, drive or cycle along Vancouver’s West 7th Street at Spruce and you’ll find Choklit Park. Just about every time I cycle by, my mind begins to wander to chocolate! Taking a few moments to slow down and enjoy the little park and its view across False Creek recently, I noticed signage regarding its history.

Choklit Park-2

Turns out, my chocolate association was spot-on. Back in 1969, Purdy’s Chocolates (located at 1107 West 7th from 1949 to 1982) had narrow, steep driveway access to its loading facilities. Truck drivers didn’t like to back down the driveway as it would often cause unsecured loads to tip over.

Choklit Park-3

A circular driveway would solve the problem: Trucks could then drive down, swing out and back up to the factory’s loading bays.

Since the area around the factory was a mix of industry and residences, it lacked parks for kids. A year later, Charles Flavelle, co-owner of Purdy’s Chocolates, created a little wooded area for them, hiring a crew of six workers on a $5,000 Opportunities for Youth grant obtained from the federal government. In turn, this created an easier, safer way for the trucks to load up the goods next to Flavelle’s factory.

The original Choklit Park sign
[The original Choklit Park sign; Vancouver Heritage Foundation photo]

Completed by summer’s end of 1970, the park became a big draw for both local residents and Vancouverites from other parts of the city. The original sign evolved into the current green Parks Board branding; Choklit Park remains a sweet little space to relax and to enjoy a breather anytime of year.

How did chocolate become “choklit”, you might ask? Turns out that spelling was suggested by one of the crew — “That’s the way a kid would spell it”.

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