St. George Rainway

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Over view photo of St. George Street looking North from 8th Avenue

St George Rainway

St. George Rainway is a green rainwater infrastructure and sustainable transportation project that aims to re-imagine the street to support nature, mobility, community and learning.

What is happening?

The St. George Rainway was first envisioned by a group of community volunteers who wanted to add urban nature back into the streetscape while creating opportunities for artistic expression, education activities, and community gathering. In 2020, City of Vancouver began public consultation to make this project a reality. The Rainway will use green rainwater infrastructure to:

  • Reduce street flooding
  • Treat rainwater pollutants from roadways
  • Reduce combined sewer overflows into

St George Rainway

St. George Rainway is a green rainwater infrastructure and sustainable transportation project that aims to re-imagine the street to support nature, mobility, community and learning.

What is happening?

The St. George Rainway was first envisioned by a group of community volunteers who wanted to add urban nature back into the streetscape while creating opportunities for artistic expression, education activities, and community gathering. In 2020, City of Vancouver began public consultation to make this project a reality. The Rainway will use green rainwater infrastructure to:

  • Reduce street flooding
  • Treat rainwater pollutants from roadways
  • Reduce combined sewer overflows into local waterways
  • Enhance climate resiliency
  • Increase biodiversity
  • Cool the neighbourhood during summer heat

The project will also provide safety and comfort improvements for those who walk, bike and roll down St. George Street.

We have just completed our final phase of engagment of the Rainway concept design. A summary of the survey results are available here. What we hear in this final phase of public engagement will help city staff to develop a detailed design and construction drawings for the Rainway. Construction is anticipated to begin in early 2023.

Stay involved

Throughout this year, we will be running a citizen science campaign using iNaturalist to measure biodiversity along the Rainway. Learn more by visiting our citizen science page. The Rainway will have other opportunities for involvement too as the project gets implemented. To stay up to date, please sign up for our mailing list on the top right side of this page.

  • Public Engagement 1: Vision and Values Survey Analysis

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    In Fall 2020, we asked the community to share their values and vision for the St. George Rainway through an online survey that ran from November 3 to December 7, 2020.

    Staff reviewed all survey submissions and analyzed the data to better understand the wants, needs, concerns and ideas of the community.

    This is what we heard from you! St. George Rainway Survey Report from Public engagement 1: Vison and values.

    Stay tuned for updates on our community engagement process by visiting this webpage or signing up for our mailing list.

  • Public Engagement 1: Vison and Values Has Ended

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    During our first public engagement, we hosted an online survey to understand your values and visions for St. George Rainway and your concerns about the project. The survey was open from November 2 to December 7.

    We also worked with the City's Engineering Department Artist-in-Residence Holly Schmidt to launch a self-guided sensorial walk toolkit as a way to explore a familiar street in new ways. We hosted a virtual discussion to chat with the artist and discuss experiences with the sensorial walk. The toolkit is available online and we encourage you to explore the street in new ways in the months to come! You can also share your findings with us using the mapping tool or the toolkit submission survey.

    Staff will now be reviewing all survey submissions and analyzing the data to understand the needs, wants and concerns of the community. We will share our findings on this website in spring 2021.

    Stay tuned for updates on our community engagement process by visiting this webpage or signing up for our mailing list.

  • Remembering Lost Streams through Green Rainwater Infrastructure

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    Vancouver was once home to more than 40 creeks and streams that supported fish, birds, and other types of wildlife. Over time, those waterways were buried to make way for roads, sidewalks, and buildings, leaving an important natural legacy forgotten underground. One of those is what we now refer as St. George Creek.

    For years, rainwater was treated as a nuisance, put into pipes and conveyed away as quick as possible. But there is a new movement underway to rethink this approach by using nature as an ally to help manage rainwater. Some waterways, like St. George Creek, are buried too far underground to resurface. However, by using green rainwater infrastructure (GRI) we can find new ways to honour lost streams while also providing rainwater management services at the surface.

    Using thoughtful design, this rain garden has been shaped and planted to mimic water flowing in a stream

    What’s the difference between Green Rainwater Infrastructure and Stream Daylighting?

    Green rainwater infrastructure (GRI), uses a combination of nature-based and engineered solutions to help capture and clean rainwater. These are not just naturalized features, but are important drainage infrastructure.

    Unlike a daylighted stream, water will only be visible at the surface of a GRI feature during heavier rain events. During more modest rain events, the water is readily absorbed by soil and plants and less likely to be seen flowing through the system. During rainstorms, water may move through the infrastructure very similar to water running through a stream.

    An example of water entering a rain garden from the street.

    Slowing down and absorbing the rainwater is an important part of how the rainwater run-off pollutions get cleaned in a rain garden. Unlike a stream, which is conveying water away, GRI manages water by encouraging it to slow down and seep into the soils. GRI may appear dry on the surface, even though the plants and soils are working effectively to filter and absorb rainwater. Landscaped GRI is well-established as an effective rainwater run-off management too that can also provide beautiful landscape to be enjoyed by people and wildlife. GRI is designed to drain excessive ponding and to generally clean and absorb all surface water within 24 hours to ensure these features are ready to handle the next rain event and do not become mosquito breeding grounds.

    Rain gardens slow down rainwater and allow soils and plants to help remove pollutants

    Connecting the Drops to Support Aquatic Health

    Currently, much of the rainwater in the city is managed through grey infrastructure – it is captured in catch basins, conveyed through the sewer system pipes, and outfalls into local waterways like False Creek. Often, this water receives no treatment, so it carries pollutants from roadways directly into aquatic habitats.

    The St. George Rainway is an example of a different approach being taken by the City of Vancouver rainwater infrastructure is planned and built. GRI not only captures rainwater, but also treats that rainwater, removing many harmful pollutants. This means cleaner water flowing into False Creek, which helps to improve ecosystems for salmon and other aquatic life.

    Water is an important source of life of all living creatures. The St George Rainway is an opportunity to honour this incredible resource by helping to keep it clean.


  • St. George Rainway Project Community Group

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    The St. George Rainway Project is a collaborative initiative begun in 2008 by a group of passionate volunteers including local residents, students, parents, storytellers, designers, educators, business people, artists and others.

    This community driven initiative seeks to honour a historic waterway in Mount Pleasant. The goal is to use rainwater runoff from adjacent properties, the street, and connecting laneways to reimagine this lost stream as part of a “Rainway” along St. George street from Kingsway to the False Creek Flats.

    Through a range of community events, they have worked with diverse stakeholder groups to envision what the Rainway could look like. This initiative is both an engineering and community-building project and the group has worked with in partnership with the City, as well as local schools and organizations. In addition to naturalizing the streetscape and drainage, the project is creating opportunities for artistic expression, educational activities, urban agriculture, and community gatherings.

Page last updated: 19 Sep 2022, 09:18 AM