Langford Station: A New Beginning
Last month the City of Langford was proud to announce its new ‘cultural district’ in the core of town.
Stretching for a few blocks along Station Avenue, from Veterans Memorial Parkway and heading west, the revitalization project at 720 Station Avenue included six artist studios, six business incubators and a community arts workshop named The Creation Station, all housed in custom retrofitted 10-ft and 20-ft sea cans.
In partnership with the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF), the City opened phase one of The Langford Station revitalization project on May 20, with a large local audience in attendance. It’s caught on right away, becoming a popular spot.
The Langford Station also includes a purpose-built area for up to five food trucks, formalized parking, picnic and chess game tables, a stage area for performances, a permanent washroom building, and an off-leash area.
In addition to the new amenities, the site was significantly enhanced with the addition of trees, a beautified streetscape, additional grass seating areas and underground infrastructure including electrical and drainage. Funding for the project is through the Union of British Columbia Municipalities Gas Tax Fund and two grants.
The day’s big launch:
Introductions and an overview of how Langford Station came to be was presented by City of Langford Senior Manager of Business Development and Events, Donna Petrie. She called the new Langford Station as “something really special for our community”.
Council’s commitment to nurturing and supporting the emerging artists and entrepreneurs of Langford is a big part of the reason for the new cultural district, together of course with a new space for the public to come and gather informally or in small groups.
It took just over one year to arrive at this opening day, after an initial announcement about the new cultural district back in late April of 2021 — very cautiously during the early emergence from COVID — at the very same outdoor spot.
Short timeline, but a long one:
Mayor Stew Young opened his remarks by saying it was a short timeline from last spring to this spring, to do the on-the-ground work to construct the Langford Station. But for 30 years “this was home to broom and people dumping their garbage”.
“What an improvement! A big round of applause for everybody,” said Young at the podium.
He said it’s pretty exciting to have this sort of feature in a downtown core. Artisans and food trucks were among the features he highlighted, adding they will be there “hopefully seven days a week”.
“As we grow as a community, we’ve always had plans to revitalize the downtown core of Langford,” said Mayor Young. “With taller buildings here and the density increasing, this is really important now, because we want to make sure that we do more in our community to make sure there is a place to go, a place to congregate.”
“If you’re going to live in a condo or an apartment block it’s actually really important to have the connectivity of your community,” said Stew Young.
Mixing business and art:
“To see this significant area of downtown Langford revitalized into a community gathering space celebrating local artists and businesses is really exciting,” said Langford Mayor, Stew Young.
“Station Avenue had become very run down over the years, now we have a vibrant cultural district providing the community with a place to explore and connect. Council is focused on bringing more arts and cultural opportunities to Langford and this is just the beginning,” said Young.
“The next project we are focusing on is a performing arts theatre located in the downtown. The Langford Station and the theatre will complement each other and will highlight downtown Langford as the place to be for arts and entertainment in the modern city we are building,” he told the crowd.
Larry Stevenson, CEO of the ICF, echoed Young’s enthusiasm. “We are extremely proud to be a part of this project and to see it come to life. At its heart, the Island Corridor Foundation is about connecting people, and The Langford Station will be a place that will bring people together,” said Stevenson.
“We are very grateful to the City of Langford for their willingness to partner with us, for their vision, and the work they have done to make this a reality. One of the goals of the ICF is to promote opportunities for flexible infrastructure that will benefit communities along the corridor and this project is a great example of how our corridor can do that,” said Stevenson, who has been working closely with the City of Langford to pull off the Langford Station.
Phase Two still to come:
Phase two of the Station Avenue project will include an overhead lighting canopy, murals and sculptures designed by local artists, and interactive lighting elements, designed by Limbic Media. These elements are all being paid for by grant funding. The second phase opening date will be announced later this summer.
Upon completion, The Langford Station will be totally transformed into a vibrant, pedestrian friendly destination and will provide an overall economic impact to the local business and visitor economy.
“It’s exciting to see how the community of Langford has created an engaging and accessible public outdoor space that supports local artists and entrepreneurs and serves as a new visitor attraction,” said Island Coastal Economic Trust CEO Brodie Guy.
“The Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) in partnership with Tourism Vancouver Island launched the THRIVE Small Capital Funding Program to support exactly this kind of collaborative concept-driven initiative which fosters increased visitor attraction and resident engagement.”
Langford Station updates:
Check out the Langford Station webpage for updates.
Photos on the day:
Island Social Trends captured some of the Langford Station opening day moments, in these photos: