Westbank has built a practice around long-term commitments to artistry, sustainability and city-building. These commitments underlie an orientation towards projects like Woodwards, Vancouver House, Mirvish Village, Telus Garden and Oakridge – catalysts for larger change that go beyond the borders of the projects themselves. We are here to create. To provoke. To ignite. We are the vehicle for a new movement of cultural expression.

As the practice matures, we have become more ambitious. With every new project reflecting our commitment to the philosophy behind Gesamkunstwerk, or in our recent work the Japanese philosophy behind layering, the net effect is that our work becomes much more complex and far-reaching.

The core of Westbank’s mission is to create a body of work with a high degree of artistry that helps foster more equitable and beautiful cities. Westbank is active across Canada and in the United States, with projects including luxury residential, Five Star hotels, retail, office, rental, district energy systems, affordable housing initiatives and public art. Established in 1992, we are one of North America’s leading developers, with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Seattle, Shanghai, Beijing, Taiwan, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shenzhen and over 25 billion dollars of projects completed or under development.

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May 15, 2014

Westbank Salon Series: Mike Harcourt Recap

We welcomed Mike Harcourt, the former mayor of Vancouver and former premier of British Columbia, as the seventh guest speaker of the Westbank Salon Series.

Engaging and remarkably insightful, Mike began his talk by telling attendees about his career start as a young lawyer with an interest in community equity and human rights, before getting involved with the city. He also spoke about Vancouver itself, as a city built on bold and big ideas, such as Stanley Park. A theme that continued to emerge throughout his salon was that cities are about choices — and that making bad choices leads to long-term consequences.

Other big ideas put forth by Mike included bringing down the number of municipalities from 22 down to six, in order to address regional concerns in the most effective way possible, and that the current 8% of municipal tax money, which goes toward bettering and improving cities, needs to be higher. He stressed the importance of keeping young creative people in the city, because we can’t afford to lose them. We also can’t afford to prevent outside talent from coming here, and that can be solved by being the kind of great city that this talent will move here for.


He ended with a synopsis of the consulting work he is currently involved in, much of which is around conservation and sustainable development all over the world.

Congratulations to Erin Klassen, our #gwerksalon winner this week! Her winning question inquired about a milestone achievement or key takeaway during his time as advisor to Prime Minister Paul Martin.


It was a pleasure to have Mike in our exhibition space, addressing the public and their interests once again.

“We’re still a work in progress.” – Mike Harcourt, on the current state of Vancouver 

The next salon series is on Tuesday May 20, 2014, at 5:30pm with Bruce Haden of DIALOG. RSVP here!


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