This is Burnaby’s plan to create its own vibrant brewery row near SkyTrain

Call it the Beresford Brewery Row.

Imagine a half-km-long brewery district in Burnaby along Beresford Street between Merritt Avenue and Curragh Avenue, which is a strip just east of Royal Oak SkyTrain Station.

The City of Burnaby would encourage a high concentration of breweries, craft distilleries, cideries, and small-scale food production businesses along the north side of this street.

Such businesses are often located in light/creative industrial areas, where manufacturing and on-site consumption of liquor are permitted, specifically in a lounge or bar setting and with retail areas for liquor sales.

Improvements to Beresford Street would also make it more pedestrian-oriented, and further public realm integration with the Highland Park Line trail and the future Buller Park just to the south would also be included.

The concept of Beresford Brewery Row as part of the wider area’s Creative Employment District is a component of the City’s new Royal Oak Urban Village Community Plan, which is a new transit-oriented development area plan that intensifies new employment uses, introduces more mid-rise multi-family residential uses, and improves its amenities, public spaces, and active transportation options.

Existing condition:

beresford street buller avenue

Existing condition of Beresford Street looking east from the intersection with Buller Avenue. (Google Maps)

Future condition:

royal oak urban village community plan

Conceptual artistic rendering of Beresford Brewery Row looking east towards Beresford Street from the intersection of Buller Avenue, as part of the Royal Oak Urban Village Community Plan. (City of Burnaby)

royal oak urban village community plan

The area plan is still being drafted, but Burnaby City Council is expected to finalize it by Fall 2024.

“I’m really excited to see the Beresford Brewery Row proposal,” Daniel Tetrault, a Burnaby city councillor, told Daily Hive Urbanized this week. Over the years, he has been a vocal advocate for such uses in the Royal Oak area.

“With this dedicated character street, design, and location, the Beresford Brewery Row has the potential to build community, improve the local economy, and be a connector to adjacent green spaces and neighbourhoods.”

He acknowledges the setback of the recent closure of Studio Brewery, which was located in the immediate area on the south side of Beresford Street. After three years of business, it closed at the end of 2023, citing challenging economic conditions and changing consumer preferences as some of the leading factors. But Tetrault says for this reason, “we are more committed than ever to bring liveliness to the Royal Oak area and all of Burnaby.”

According to City staff, a brewery row could also support other types of complementary small businesses, such as food trucks and street vendors, to further increase foot traffic and create synergies with the breweries.

Specific local examples of successful brewery districts named by City staff include Mount Pleasant in Vancouver and Port Moody.

More recently, the City of North Vancouver also created its own brewery district in a light industrial area just northeast of the Lower Lonsdale waterfront.

royal oak urban village community plan

royal oak urban village community plan

Conceptual artistic rendering of a new public plaza at SkyTrain Royal Oak Station as part of the Royal Oak Urban Village Community Plan. (City of Burnaby)

Some of the specific directions under the draft plan include creating a curbless street design for the brewery row segment of Beresford Street to help foster a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly public realm, along with special lighting, pavement, and street furniture. These features would also create an event-friendly street to support street closures.

At the southeast corner of the intersection of Beresford Street and Buller Avenue would be the future Buller Park, spanning from the edge of Beresford Street to the property just south of SkyTrain’s elevated guideway. This new park would feature BBQ stations, benches, and other seating areas and amenities to support the future businesses along brewery row, along with some recreation spaces.

Improvements would also be made to the pedestrian and cycling pathways of the existing Highland Park Line.

The Royal Oak area is already seeing higher-density, transit-oriented development without the catalyst of the future area plan. BC General Employees’ Union (BCGEU) has plans to develop 6877-6945 Palm Avenue — immediately northeast of Royal Oak SkyTrain Station — into two towers up to 20 storeys with nearly 300 secured purpose-built rental homes, new office space for the union, retail space, and a childcare facility.

6877-6945 Palm Avenue Burnaby BCGEU Royal Oak Station SkyTrain 2023

Artistic rendering of the 2023 revised design for 6877-6945 Palm Avenue, Burnaby. (DA Architects & Planners/BCGEU)

Separately, the City is also currently in the process of planning a new and improved design for a three-km-long segment of the BC Parkway through the Metrotown area — between Central Park’s Kingsway edge and Royal Oak Station.

The intention is to improve the BC Parkway’s pedestrian and cycling infrastructure and turn this corner underneath the SkyTrain guideway into a vibrant, active space that adds to the area’s urban life. The initial public consultation on the BC Parkway improvements began this week.

The BC Parkway corridor running through the Royal Oak area has already seen major public realm improvements, specifically new nighttime lighting from the installation of programmable colourful LED lights on the underside of the SkyTrain guideway between Patterson Station and Edmonds Station. The municipal government funded the installation of special lighting on 178 guideway pillars over a five-km-long segment of the Expo Line.

burnaby skytrain expo line metrotown accent lighting

New permanent programmable lighting installed on the SkyTrain Expo Line guideway near Metrotown Station. (City of Burnaby)