Vancouver’s chillest green space lost its cool yet again this weekend when the Dude Chilling Park sign was stolen from Guelph Park.
The mellowed-out guerrilla-art piece has been torn down, spray-painted and now stolen since it first appeared in the Mount Pleasant park in 2012, but it will be back, vowed Park Board Commissioner Sarah Blyth.
“It’s unfortunate that this happened,” said Blyth. “This is a sign that was brought to us by the people.”
Local artist Viktor Briestensky surreptitiously installed the official-looking sign at Guelph Park in 2012, but staff at the park board soon took it down. A grassroots campaign then succeeded in getting the popular sign reinstalled as a public art piece in February.
“It’s really unfortunate that it’s gone this way,” said Blyth. “It’s obviously an illegal action and we’d like people to bring it back.”
She said the park board doesn’t have any extra signs on hand and it will have to make a new one, something that will cost public money and the time of park board staff. Blyth said she did not know the replacement cost of the sign, but added that the tongue-in-cheek art piece should not be treated differently from any other park amenity.
“We have to ensure that the community gets what the community wants,” said Blyth.
“Once something’s in a park it’s a part of the park and I don’t think people would like anything in their parks going missing.”
Park board found overwhelming public support for the sign in a voluntary online survey earlier this year. Some three quarters of the 372 respondents wanted the sign at the park, while just eight people said they did not.
Guelph Park was named in 1972 after Guelph Street — which is also the family name of Queen Victoria.