Program brings pianos to Vancouver’s public spaces

Program brings pianos to Vancouver’s public spaces

Have you ever wanted to try your hand at playing piano?

This summer might be your chance, with the Vancouver Public Space Network and CityStudio Vancouver providing four free, playable apartment-style pianos in public outdoor sites throughout Vancouver.

Called Keys to the Street, the program aims to inspire music and creativity in the urban core and help budding pianists pick up piano playing as a new hobby.

“The idea came from other sites in Canada and Europe, the most recent one in Toronto where they had 42 pianos across the city,” said VPSN member Stewart Burgess. “It was very successful.”


Four pianos were donated by members of the public, and restored rather than going to the landfill.

Three pianos will be available to the public from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Aug. 24, at:

• Creekside Community Center

• St. George and Kingsway

• Spyglass Dock

Local organizations that have signed on to steward these pianos include Creekside Community Center; the St. George Rainway, in partnership with the Vancouver Society of Storytelling; and a substance abuse counselling program of the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Coast B.C. The organizations will receive the piano for their own use after the project ends.

A fourth piano will be available for use at Robson Square 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday — Thursday. If the Robson Square piano is a success, hours could be extended.

Each piano will have a bench and be protected by a rain cover. Duane Elverum of City Studio noted that while the pianos won’t have somebody watching them at all times, they’re covered at night, the bench is locked to the piano, and a steward is always nearby.

“We’re concerned about vandalism, but we have to trust the process,” he said.

Upkeep of the pianos will continue through the summer.

“It’s surprisingly busy,” Elverum said. “When it’s not raining, there’s constant tinkering. People don’t hesitate to play.”

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