Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings Street

Historic image of the Woodward's Department Store. Photo: City of Vancouver Archives.

SFU Woodward's Legacy

The Woodward's Department Store was famous for its beloved Christmas window displays and its basement Food Floor, and the "W" sign at the top of the building was a distinctive landmark on the Vancouver skyline. Since its bankruptcy in 1993, the department building sat vacant, except for in 2002, when a housing occupation occurred which initiated the redevelopment process by city counselor Jim Green.

In late 2007, the B.C. government announced funding of $50.3-million to enable Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts to move into a new home on the former department store site in the 100-block of W. Hastings in downtown Vancouver. The $80-million project was completed with the generous support of donors, including a $5 million donation from Goldcorp which was recognized in naming the Centre. Another $5 million dollar donation was given to support programs aimed at community engagement in the Downtown Eastside community.

SFU Woodward's Cultural and Community Programs (SFUW), created to program public and community programs, opened Goldcorp Centre for the Arts in 2010 during the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad when SFUW and the Audain Gallery were lead producers of the two acclaimed signature events entitled Robert Lepage’s Blue Dragon and First Nation / Second Nature installation.

Since opening, SFUW has presented wide variety of professional arts programs within the venue that exemplify the nature of SFU’s community engagement. SFUW was borne out of SFU ‘s unique commitment to the Westbank Woodward’s redevelopment and its overall community engagement to professional arts, public discourse, advancing accessibility and embracing the core principle of the right to culture for all. Three hundred arts presentations reaching out to over 50,000 patrons. SFUW works closely with SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement in advancing accessibility, affordability, public discourse and other community outreach initiatives.

The Westbank Woodward's Complex today. Photo: Greg Ehlers.