November 5, 2021

The Secret Public Art in Leg-in-Boot Square, False Creek South

There is a secret in  Leg-in-Boot Square in Vancouver’s South False Creek. You have walked over it but you may not have seen it. I checked on a City run tour that was undertaken with designer and artist Frank Ducote in 2017 and it was not mentioned.

A recent site visit shows the bones of the public art are still there, but the story has been lost. A check through archival newspapers did not produce any information on this public art, other than the allegory of the place to the Riviera, Acapulco and Portofino (in that order). You can take a look at that advertisement for Leg-in-Boot housing that was in the Vancouver Sun in August 1979 below.

But if you are in Leg-in-Boot Square, you will notice that there are bricked lines delineating the pavement. Then come forward to a former fountain to the south of the square, and then form geometric patterns as they terminate towards the water’s edge.

But they are not patterns.

This is actually a public art piece that was produced in the 1970’s by a student of Constantinos Doxiadis who was a Greek City planner born in 1913.

He was the planner for Athens, taught internationally and coined the word “Ekistics” which is also what he called his consulting firm. He spoke in Vancouver in 1969 and believed that cities needed to work at home and work connections, and that children had the right to cross the street safely, with traffic calming designed into cities. That was 52 years ago.

The lines that are intentionally bricked in to the pavement are actually “Ley lines”, drawn lines that direct and tie in different points of reference, either geographical or built.

Two of the ley lines in the pavement point to The Lions promontory across on the North Shore. You can go to the square on a sunny day and see if you can ascertain where the other lines point to. The concept of leylines came out of Europe, where some thought that prehistoric peoples built on these favoured alignments. That has been a theory for Stonehenge in Great Britain  as well as the Nazca Lines in Peru.


Take a look at this artwork and take a peek through the “porthole” in the back of the fountain. What was this set up to see? Please leave your observations in the comments below, and this article will be updated as more information about the project…and what it is pointing to…becomes available from Vancouver Viewpoint Readers.

So what do those lines all point to?

To start you off, please see the excellent 360 degree panorama of Leg-in-Boot Square done by Viewpoint Vancouver reader Robert Renger in the comments below.


Leg-in-Boot square ad 1979Leg-in-Boot square ad 1979 04 Aug 1979, Sat The Vancouver Sun (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)

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  1. The Leg-in-boot ley line to the Lions made it a priority viewcone when the corridors were established. Now the two walls and floor of the cone are all apparent in the subsequent development.

  2. Very interesting, I’m originally from Mexico and every time I walk by the square, the floor reminds me of a place I used to visit often in Acapulco. But overall, not just the floor, definitely the marina, and other features give a bit of that look and feel.

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