Skip to content

Canadian artist unveils art installation to commemorate decade-long development in Burnaby

Douglas Coupland unveils art installation at Station Square, Metrotown, commemorating a decade-long development project's completion.

Does "cave-on-foods" ring a bell?

In the heart of Burnaby's downtown at the former Save-On-Foods site, a decade-long project has come to fruition. 

Station square, a 12-acre, six-phase development project in Metrotown, has been completed after a decade in the works providing 1,792 new homes and 450,000 square feet of retail and office space to the residents of Burnaby. 

The project is providing a foundation for urban landscape development in Burnaby. It was voted the best mixed-use highrise development of 2021-22 by UDI Pacific region, and created over 3,000 jobs during its development. 

To commemorate its opening, renowned Canadian artist Douglas Coupland unveiled a 15-foot art installation. The piece, which Coupland jokingly calls "blob kebab," is made out of material dubbed Fordite, in memory of the Ford factory that once existed in Burnaby at the very heart of Station Square. 

Fordite comes fro chunks of enamel automotive paint extracted from former spray-painting booths at the site. The chunks, when broken and polished, are sought-after items for their lustre. 

"For the Station Square site, I created stacks of polished fordite gems that remind people about the Ford factory that used to be in Burnaby," Coupland said. "As we know, Vancouver does not have a lot of history, but hopefully this will remind people that there is a little bit more history to Vancouver than we realize."

In a conversation with Glacier Media, Coupland said that he enjoyed the taping, sanding and giving the final touches to the installation, and that it has been inspiring to think about how it would provoke people's curiosity.

Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley, who was in attendance for the unveiling, said that the installation was a reminder for the people looking out from Vancouver and other areas about the evolution of Metrotown and downtown Burnaby over the years, and the "colourful history and bright future" of a vibrant downtown community in the city.

At the centre of Station Square is a bigger, five-metre installation, along with three smaller installations by the JJ Bean coffee roasters in Metrotown.