Bollards & Post Covers

Enhancing Vancouver’s Urban Landscape

A bollard with a keyhole and a strip saying Reliance foundry guards a closed alleyway with lanterns strung across it

The Integral Role of Bollards in The City’s Core


A bollard with a keyhole and a strip saying Reliance foundry guards a closed alleyway with lanterns strung across it
A locked bollard makes an alley into a pleasant, safe pedestrian space.

Reliance Foundry, first established in 1925 in Vancouver, Canada, has evolved and expanded over the years, yet maintains a deep connection to the city. Downtown Vancouver is rich with attractions and amenities. Within just a square mile, you can explore the iconic Colosseum-styled central library, enjoy sporting events at two major stadiums, and experience live performances on numerous theatre stages. The area also features an entertainment district, historical sites, extensive shopping options, renowned restaurants, relaxing spas, and the prestigious Vancouver Art Gallery.

Amidst these bustling streets, our bollards play a crucial role. They not only manage traffic and protect pedestrians but also contribute to the urban landscape’s organization around these notable landmarks. We took a tour downtown to document how our bollards integrate with Vancouver’s famous sites.

A series of black bollards with eye rings each have slatted metal fences attached as gates.
Event attendees can line up through the fence gates and be out of traffic.

Adaptive Crowd Control with Removable Bollards on Granville Street

A domed column is a simple black metal bollard

The R-7902

Bollard Stats:

  • Height: 36 in
  • Body Diameter: 4-1/3 in
  • Base Diameter: 4-1/3 in
  • Weight: 29 lbs
  • Material: Steel

To locals, Granville Street is known as the vibrant heart of Vancouver’s entertainment district and hosts over thirty clubs, pubs, and event venues along just a seven-block stretch. The district is a popular destination due to renowned venues like the Orpheum Theatre, Vogue Theatre, and Commodore Ballroom, which consistently draw large crowds. On weekends, the area’s pubs and clubs are bustling, often reaching full capacity. To manage these crowds effectively, removable bollards such as the R-7902, are utilized in conjunction with fences to create a flexible system of crowd control. These bollards help organize queues and restrict access to pedestrian areas as patrons wait to enter venues. Once the crowds have entered, the bollards can be removed to clear the sidewalk, enhancing pedestrian flow.

Bollards serve not just as physical barriers but also as guides for expected behavior, providing clear cues on how to navigate and organize within the space. The integration of a fence-and-bollard system reduces conflicts and confusion, making it challenging for individuals to bypass the line without overcoming the physical barrier of the fence. Unlike the less stable rope and post systems, removable bollards offer a secure solution; they cannot be easily removed without a key and are designed to withstand impacts without tipping over. This ensures both safety and order in Vancouver’s bustling entertainment hub.

Beyond a single stainless steel bollard sits a large stone plaza with a collection of orange tables and chairs
The addition of a perimeter welcomes people in to protected, out-of-traffic space.

Versatile Bollard Integration at Art Venues and Plazas on Georgia Street

A stainless steel bollard with the components of a removable mounting system

The R-8464

Bollard Stats:

  • Height: 35-1/2 in
  • Body Diameter: 4-1/2 in
  • Base Diameter: 6-1/2 in
  • Weight: 26 lbs
  • Material: 316 Stainless

The north side of the Vancouver Art Gallery is home to a large public plaza, a key site for social gatherings for decades. This plaza hosts a diverse array of activities, including art installations, festivals, political demonstrations, and municipal ceremonies, making the Art Gallery a vibrant hub of activity in Vancouver. Revitalization efforts have transformed the plaza into a more inviting space akin to a public park, equipped with chairs, tables, shade, and other amenities, encouraging everyday use.

The installation of R-8464 Stainless Steel Removable Bollards has been integral to these enhancements, defining the plaza’s boundaries and making it more welcoming. These bollards not only demarcate the space but also communicate its purpose as a gathering place. Following the completion of the revitalization, the plaza was renamed “šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square,” incorporating two Indigenous languages to reflect its role as a cultural gathering spot and honor the history of the land.

The bollards are designed with flexibility, allowing for vehicular access when necessary. During large events, they can be temporarily removed to accommodate trucks and other transport vehicles for setting up stages, food trucks, or other event essentials. After the setup, the bollards are repositioned to recreate the defined, safe gathering spaces, ensuring the plaza remains a protected, multi-use area adaptable to both daily visitors and large-scale events.

A stainless steel bollard in the foreground shows an attractive urban scene and artistic station painting
Fixed bollards never open to traffic: they can be used with a removable bollard offering singular access.

Georgia Street: permanent bollards to protect passersby

A stainless steel bollard has anchor points below grade for setting into fresh cement

The R-8460

Bollard Stats:

  • Height: 35-1/2 in
  • Body Diameter: 4-1/2 in
  • Base Diameter: 6-1/3 in
  • Weight: 20 lbs
  • Material: 316 Stainless

Directly southeast of the Vancouver Art Gallery lies the Pacific Centre Mall, which spans several blocks and connects both underground and via skywalks. Adjacent to this shopping hub, on Georgia Street, is a quaint outdoor plaza nestled between the Vancouver City Centre SkyTrain station and the north entrance of the former Nordstrom store.

During the summer months, this area becomes a vibrant intersection teeming with activity. As people exit the City Centre station, they encounter a lively scene featuring food trucks, flower vendors, bicycles for hire, and street entertainers. The plaza serves as a crucial junction where foot traffic converges from office buildings, the mall, the Granville entertainment district, and Robson Street. On sunny days, the square is a popular spot for shoppers to relax, workers to take a break, and tourists to orient themselves.

Encircling this urban oasis are stainless steel fixed bollards, which play a vital role in organizing the space. These R-8460 bollards effectively separate those enjoying a pause from the bustling street flow, delineating areas with slower and faster pedestrian traffic. This setup not only facilitates the placement of tables and chairs but also invites people to rest, dine, or meet without obstructing the general pedestrian movement. These bollards ensure the plaza remains a serene yet functional space amidst the urban hustle.

A line of black, thick bollards each have three annular rings as a decorative element
When traffic patterns change abruptly, bollards can help communicate the change.

Bollards Bolstering Urban Housing Security on Cambie Street

A black domed bollard has three thick metal rings as a decorative element at the top

The R-7576

Bollard Stats:

  • Height: 34 in
  • Body Diameter: 5-3/4 in
  • Base Diameter: 5-3/4 in
  • Weight: 51 lbs
  • Material: Ductile Iron
  • Max Int Pipe Height: 31 in
  • Max Int Pipe Diameter: 4-1/2 in

Vancouver, ranked as the third-least affordable housing market in the world by Demographia, faces significant challenges due to rising land and building costs which exacerbate homelessness. In response, the city has implemented a temporary modular housing program to make use of underutilized city land for emergency housing. These units, designed to be occupied for 3-5 years with the potential for a 5-year renewal, were placed in 2018 at locations such as Cambie and Dunsmuir, utilizing half of a parking lot that serves as overflow for nearby stadiums. Although this parking lot is frequently used, it is not always at capacity, making it a viable location for these homes. Positioned at the intersection of Chinatown, Downtown, and Gastown, the area is not centrally located within any of these neighborhoods, resulting in lighter traffic yet remains accessible due to a nearby bustling SkyTrain station and good transit services.

Introducing housing into a traditionally non-residential area necessitated changes to ensure safety, leading to the installation of steel and concrete security bollards around each housing unit. These bollards, utilizing sturdy R-7576 cast iron covers, not only protect the residents but also serve to guide traffic, delineating safe areas in this mixed-use space.

Vancouver’s sleek modern lines

Vancouver is often dubbed “The City of Glass,” a nod to its predominant architectural style characterized by modernist influences with extensive use of glass and steel. These materials are crafted into simple geometric shapes, creating structures with open interior layouts that enhance natural light infiltration. This architectural aesthetic is reflected in the design of bollards throughout downtown Vancouver, which not only perform their functional role in traffic and pedestrian management but also seamlessly complement the city’s modernist vibe.

Even at sites like the Vancouver Art Gallery, which is housed in a neoclassical building once used as the main courthouse, the integration of contemporary elements is evident. Despite its traditional architecture marked by elegant stone construction, classical columns, and grand staircases, the choice of sleek stainless steel bollards introduces a contrasting modern element. These bollards not only underline the building’s historical grandeur but also contribute a touch of modern simplicity, inviting a more casual interaction with the plaza. This blend of the classical with the contemporary through bollard design exemplifies how even unlikely buildings are tied into the broader narrative of Vancouver’s West-Coast contemporary style, where each element is carefully chosen to maintain both functional integrity and aesthetic harmony with the surrounding cityscape.