The Fresh Street Market in Ambleside, West Vancouver stands in the place of what was previously a non-descript Safeway supermarket from the 1960s. The current market is as much a reflection of West Vancouver’s thriving present as the Safeway was a reflection of its outdated past. The Market sources fresh local foods first locally, then regionally, and finally internationally for a public that is growing increasingly interested in where their food is coming from and how it is produced. Seniors comprise the majority of Ambleside’s demographic, and for many the Market provides a community gathering place and a convenient one-stop-shop.
Fresh Street Market is the first landscape architecture project to subscribe to Ambleside’s Village Centre Strategy, a comprehensive strategy that includes the recommendation of specific policies, design guidelines, and implementation measures. The site’s green wall contributes significantly to the Strategy’s vision of placing Ambleside as the vibrant heart of a sustainable, complete community of West Vancouver.
The green wall addresses the community values of aesthetic integrity, ecological and economical sustainability, and functionality through its technical design. Drawing extensively from the neighbourhood’s natural environment, The wall reflects the biodiverse gardens of West Vancouver. Colourful arrangements of flowering and foliage plants such as Golden Sweet Flag, Long-eared Holly Fern, Deer Fern, and Purple Palace stimulate visitors’ visual senses and are accompanied by edible fruits from Huckleberry and Woodland Strawberry plants typical of what one might find wandering through the BC wilderness. Woodland strawberries and Evergreen Huckleberries are produced, but exist solely for demonstration as fresh fruits are sold inside the store. While the berries are not meant for human consumption, they provide nutrition for local songbirds.
The overall brownfield redevelopment of a former Safeway Supermarket contains several ecological design features in addition to the green wall. Rain gardens treat and infiltrate run off from both the municipal streets and sidewalks at the corners of the city block, Heritage Japanese flowering Cherry blossoms trees are retained, high canopy shade trees are added into the surface parking lot and the festive streetscape.
The green wall acts as a backdrop to the outside marketplace patio. The vertical garden works well with the sidewalk garden store retailing horticultural plants and small fruit and vegetable plants for yard or balcony gardens.
Fresh Street Market is emerging as the heart of this West Vancouver community, providing a focal point around which other businesses and professional services situate themselves in Ambleside. With its successful green wall and additional high performance landscape features, the Market is a living representation of design devoted to fundamentally positive community values.