After thousands of Vancouver residents basically told their municipal government to chill the fuck out, a city park will now permanently be sporting a sign that reads: “Dude Chilling Park.”
It’s so official that you can even search it on Google Maps, where the pin drops accurately on Guelph Park, Vancouver. Last week, Vancouver Park Board Commissioner Sarah Blyth unveiled the city-approved sign alongside Dustin Bromley, its biggest fan and champion. Apparently fed up with Vancouver’s habit of shitting on anything fun, Dustin led the petition to get the sign back when it was removed in 2012.
Viktor Briestensky, the local artist behind the sign, was inspired by another art installation in the park, a wooden statue that, to Viktor, looks like a wooden dude, chilling. The sign first appeared in November 2012, innocently looking like a carbon copy of an official Vancouver Parks and Recreation sign, logo and all. It rechristened the previously boring Guelph Park to the much more awesome Dude Chilling Park, which angered the city’s more proper and uptight municipal councilors, who may or may not have had sticks up their asses from too much chilling in Guelph Park after they removed the original Dude sign.
Apparently, since the park already had a name and since the sign was an artist’s installation and had not been approved by the city, it was seen as vandalism and promptly carted away. But, thankfully, Vancouver citizens have a much better sense of humour than their government and a petition was started by Dustin Bromley and presumably supported by other dudes (and dudettes) who just wanted to chill in the park. The cause was even supported by Jimmy Kimmel.
What followed the petition was plenty of hilariously stilted political talk during which people like news anchors and municipal councilors tried multiple times to say the words, “Dude Chilling Park,” without cracking a smile. In the end the dudes prevailed, and last week the city returned the sign, albeit a slightly more weather-hardy version. According to Sarah Blyth, the original sign’s inherent cheeriness would not have made up for its shoddy construction and couldn’t contend with the city’s constant rain. This brings up questions about whether or not the sign is a piece of art anymore, but I’ll leave that debate to art nerds at large.
The fun, sadly, is not open-ended. Even though the sign is permanent, city officials have stopped short of actually renaming the park, which will remain Guelph Park, after the maiden name of Queen Victoria.
May all the dudes who flock there find time to chill. @lindsrempel