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The opening of Canada’s first outdoor parkour facility is the latest step in an ambitious 20-year plan to transform Hastings Park, site of the Pacific National Exhibition and Playland.

Plateau Park was envisioned as a place of active sport and recreation that would complement the field sports available at the adjacent Empire Fields facility.

Dave Hutch, the Vancouver park board manager of research and planning, said the plaza offers alternatives to team sports for those who march to the beat of a different drummer.

“It’s energetic and self-propelled, and you don’t need a team or any sports equipment,” said Hutch. “For kids who don’t really fit in with a team environment, they can try this out.”

Plateau Park, or as Hutch calls it, a ‘destination urban park,’ is part of a gradual Hastings Park transformation that also includes greenway connections with New Brighton Park and Burrard Inlet.

On a sunny Tuesday afternoon, parkour aficionados Rene Scavington and Ma Yuet — limited only by their imagination — carefully and strategically mapped out lines and routes through the new parkour park.

Similar to how a skier or snowboarder chooses a line through a mogul field, the pair talk it over before flying through the air, landing flips and suspending themselves far above some rather unforgiving pavement.

“I’m already starting to see new lines and new opportunities,” said Yuet, launching some invert jumps and landing them all safely. “I could probably do this every day — there’s probably 1,000 different lines to take.”

Scavington worked along with city staff to come up with a challenging park for practitioners of all abilities.

“I do things deliberately — you can see me trying things out, and then building on that,” said Scavington, who describes his ‘Origins Parkour’ indoor facility on Main Street as a ‘10,000-square-foot playground.’

“I’m always thinking of new goals there’s a real sense of accomplishment,” he said.

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