It’s official: Vancouver is now home to Dude Chilling Park.
Located in Mount Pleasant, not far from Main Street and Broadway, the park was known for the last 40 years as Guelph Park, after nearby Guelph Street. (Guelph, if you’re curious, is the family name of Queen Victoria.)
Then, two years ago, a prankster stole the official Vancouver Parks and Recreation sign. In a rather creative practical joke, the prankster (later revealed to be local artist Victor Briestensky) replaced it with an exact replica of the sign – except the name was changed from Guelph Park to Dude Chilling Park.
City officials would have none of it, at the time. The real sign was quickly restored to its rightful place. But among area hipsters and other advocates, momentum gathered to have the park’s name changed to Dude Chilling Park. A social media campaign culminated in some 1,500 signatures of support from Mount Pleasant residents.
Last month, park officials finally caved and conceded to a compromise. They announced via Twitter that Briestensky’s original Dude Chilling Park sign would be reinstalled as a piece of “public art.” (It appears that the park’s official name, however, will remain unchanged.) In late February, the sign was unveiled.
The “dude” in question refers to a large wooden sculpture in the park that resembles a person reclined in the grass, one leg crossed over the other, just “chillin’.” At the same time, park benches are often filled with real life dudes and dudettes, admiring the views to the North Shore mountains, chatting, smoking (and occasionally drinking something out of paper bags) and just generally hanging out. In other words, the name works on several different levels.
News of the unusual name change has already spread far and wide. Jimmy Kimmel even referenced Dude Chilling Park on a recent episode of his late-night talk show.