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How Cactus Club Transformed English Bay

Vancouver Retail

Cactus Club at English Bay has won the City of Vancouver’s first-ever Urban Design Award for a commercial building. The 6,200 SF location, Canada’s first LEED-Gold certified restaurant, replaced an old concession kiosk. Architect Mark Ostry (pictured left with Acton Ostry Architects partner Russell Acton) says their glassy, airy design does a better job of connecting the city to the beach and heralds a new era for waterfront design.


The transparency and openness of the building—with a green roof, triple-glazed curtain wall and patios that terrace down to the beach walkway—helps to seamlessly transition the city into the waterfront, says Mark. The site's challenges were immense, though. It’s bound by city streets, pedestrian walkways, and bike paths. There's also a height restriction above and a 200-year floodplain below to be avoided. Plus there were mature trees butting right up against the property. It wasn't easy building Cactus Club at English Bay, but Mark says the end result is a good template for the redevelopment of subsequent concession buildings on the city’s beaches.