BC Hydro Salmon Stream


Stanley Park near the Vancouver Aquarium

Vancouver, BC


Content Type
  • Infrastructure
Completion date
Site/Building area
Site: 300 m
Certifications & Awards
Project Team
  • Responsible Parties: Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre
  • Responsible Parties: Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation
  • Lead Designer: PWL Partnership Landscape Architects Inc.
  • Mechanical Engineers: Earth Tech Canada
  • Environmental Consultant: Pottinger Gaherty Environmental Consultants
  • Contractor: Matcon Civil Contractors Inc.
  • Sub-Contractors: Brinkman & Associates Reforestation Ltd.; Arcon Rock & Waterscapes; Moscone Brothers Landscaping Ltd.
  • Funders: BC Hydro; Alcan; Fisheries Renewal BC; EJLB Foundation; Weldwood; Cominco; Canadian National; Shell Canada


Key Sustainability Features:

  • 14,000 salmon fry released in 1998, first returns in 2001. Coho returns: 27 in 2001, 28 in 2002, 4 in 2003, 100 in 2004
  • Since 1999, Coho Salmon accessing upstream spawning sites
  • Lower stream utilizes waste sea water from the Vancouver Aquarium whale pools
  • Waste recirculation system replaces park's former freshwater to wastewater stream and pond system
  • Interpretive programming available to Stanley Park's 4 million annual visitors

The BC Hydro Salmon Stream project is a human-made stream developed on the site of a former parking lot in Stanley Park. Though the $2 million sculpted concrete basin is not a stream restoration project it does help to highlight the importance of habitat restoration projects throughout the province. The Vancouver Aquarium uses the stream project as part of their mandate to promote public education and stewardship of wild salmon. The project calls attention to the life cycle of BC salmon and shows that habitat damage can be mitigated. It also shows that hard landscape areas can be reclaimed with permeable, natural surfaces.


The BC Hydro Salmon Stream project offers an extensive education program including a self-guided tour, on-site interpreters, family programs, volunteer opportunities, and educational supplements. For example, the Shell Salmon Squad - volunteers equipped with props and information - can be found educating visitors on-site during weekends and peak seasons. Stanley Park's 4 million visitors per year are presented with the opportunity to experience the beauty of a natural salmon stream and to learn about the requirements for a healthy salmon habitat. The project teaches Vancouver regional history as seen through the lens of salmon as a food source, spiritual element, and way of life in First Nations culture.

The demonstration stream is also a functional success. In 1998, 14,000 salmon fry were released into the ocean using morpholine, an organic molecule that produces a scent that helps adult fish navigate back to Coal Harbour. The stream has been the site of yearly salmon returns since 2001. A fish ladder helps the spawning salmon to pass through a culvert under the Stanley Park roadway. The Alcan Spawning Pool, where the water level can be manipulated, facilitates the removal of fish bound for the hatchery to spawn.

The stream has also brought significant benefits to the park's water system. It has replaced the former water-to-waste system with a recirculated water system, which also recycles the waste sea water from the aquarium's whale pools.

Tours: Open to the public

This post was imported from the 'Greater Vancouver Green Guide', it's part of the 'Green Guide Portal' to the Green Building Brain.