New generation of Filipino community leaders commits to renew Pinoy Plaza

Pinoy Fiesta prizewinners gather at Pinoy Plaza in Vancouver.

A new generation of Filipino community leaders has taken up the challenge of renewing and expanding Pinoy Plaza, a legacy of Expo 86 created in just 10 months before the 1986 World’s Fair.

Tucked under the Expo Line Skytrain, just a few hundred feet west of the Nanaimo Station, Pinoy Plaza  was a gift to the city as well as a mark of the Filipino community’s emerging confidence. Visitors can enter under an arch to a small plaza, surrounded by a brick wall bearing the names of scores of Filipino-Canadians who donated to the $20,000 project. A berm, intended ultimately to hold bleachers, provides a small amphitheatre for outdoor performances.

Today, the plaza was the location for the presentation of prizes to the best participants in August’s Pinoy Fiesta, another project that was a big success despite tight organizing deadlines. Jay Razon and Jojo Quimpo are collaborating to lead the work on the Fiesta and the Plaza.

“We had great support from Filipino seniors,” says architect Bert Morelos, who designed the plaza. “But most of them have now passed on, and it is great to see a new generation taking up the task.”

Many ethnic communities created legacies on the linear park under the Skytrain in 1986. The Italian project, formerly at Clark Drive and Grandview Highway, was later moved to the Italian Garden at the PNE. Others remain in place in varying states of repair.