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Gastown square reopens after red bricks replaced by hand

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Repairs in Gastown are now complete after damaged brick was replaced by hand, city officials say.

Maple Tree Square had been closed since March as crews worked to replace asphalt patches in the road and make the street more accessible. The neighbourhood's iconic red brick roads were originally installed in 1970. Like then, the new bricks were installed by hand – section-by-section – as part of a $10 million capital plan to revitalize the neighbourhood.

"What's happening in Gastown is really exciting stuff – now that construction is done, the fencing is down and summer weather is upon us, Maple Tree Square and Water Street are ready to shine as a patio, community and business hot spot," Mayor Ken Sim said in a statement.

As the area transitions from construction to a pedestrian-only pilot project, Maple Tree Square will remain closed to vehicle access. That pilot project will expand in July and August, closing all of Water Street to vehicles.

"With the brick repairs now complete, we are excited to begin transforming Water Street into a vibrant pedestrian zone with expanded patios, merchandise displays, plenty of seating and art and storytelling features courtesy of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and the səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations," Lisa Parker, City of Vancouver director of public space and street use, said in a statement.

"The city is working to ensure Gastown is safe and welcoming for everyone throughout the pilot, which includes activating the street as well as enhanced sanitation and cleaning services, community safety and peer support." 

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