media release

SFU celebrates 25 years in Vancouver

May 21, 2014

Laurie Anderson, SFU Vancouver, 778.782.5010,
Kamilah Charters-Gabanek, SFU Vancouver, 778.782.5151,

Simon Fraser University’s downtown campus will formally celebrate 25 years in the heart of Vancouver with a private ceremony on Wednesday evening (5 p.m.) at its Harbour Centre campus.

The campus, referred to as the “intellectual heart of the city” by the Vancouver Sun, changed the landscape of urban education in Metro Vancouver when it first opened its doors in May, 1989.

“’In the city and of the city’ is an expression commonly associated with our Vancouver campus,” says SFU President Andrew Petter.

“[SFU’s Vancouver campus] has long been at the forefront of SFU’s engagement with the City of Vancouver and surrounding communities. Our presence in the downtown core enhances our continued pursuit of establishing SFU as Canada’s most community-engaged research university.”

SFU had developed a downtown presence in the early 1980s, pioneering the concept of continuing studies by offering courses and professional programs through a storefront centre. As public demand grew, the university formally expanded to Harbour Centre, transforming the historic Spencer building at 515 West Hastings St. into a hub for urban education.

In addition to Continuing Studies, Harbour Centre is now home to multiple SFU departments, centres and faculties, including the Centre for DialogueGerontologyUrban StudiesPublic Policy, the Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology and SFU Public Square.

In 2012, the university renewed its lease at Harbour Centre, keeping the iconic building as a part of SFU Vancouver until at least 2028.

Harbour Centre is one of the four primary downtown locations for SFU Vancouver, which now includes the Segal Graduate School of Business (500 Granville Street), the Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue (580 West Hastings Street), and the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts (149 West Hastings).

The campus also utilizes a visual arts studio at 611 Alexander Street, and entered a partnership with the Bill Reid Gallery (639 Hornby Street) in September 2011, when the university received a landmark gift of Bill Reid art valued at more than $10 million and consisting of 158 works.

Today, SFU’s Vancouver campus covers over 385,000 square feet of the downtown core and serves over 70,000 people annually, while more than 6,000 students attend class at SFU Vancouver each semester.

Simon Fraser University is consistently ranked among Canada's top comprehensive universities and is one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 125,000 alumni in 130 countries.


Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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