Vancouver, June 2017 – With heavy hearts we received the news that Hon. Grace McCarthy passed away on May 24th at the age of 89.
The German Canadian Heritage Plaza, one of 3 German memorials in Vancouver, owes its existence to Grace McCarthy. Last year, the committee celebrated its 30-Year Anniversary.
Sadly, Ms. McCarthy was unable to attend the gathering for the first time since its conception.
Many friends gathered at the Plaza, located at the corner of 29th Avenue & Atlin Street, for the annual celebration.
The local German Community appreciated Ms. McCarthy’s willingness to reach out and attend their important cultural gatherings over the past 30 years:
Day of German Unity, the 50th Anniversary of the German Canadian Business Association, the German Canadian Heritage Plaza Party as well as many other events.
Beatrice Schreiber, Chair of the Heritage Plaza Committee, was an especially close friend.
Her Board of Directors commissioned an artist to create a painting of the Plaza to honour its 30 years of existence. The painting was then presented at the celebration in the Alpen Club.
Hon. Grace McCarthy was the Transportation Minister during Expo 86, themed “World in Motion”. She was the advocate for the newly created “SKY TRAIN”, which opened in January 1986. Grace McCarthy contacted all the multicultural communities and asked them to each “adopt” a garden and take care of it, with the cooperation, support and partnership of the Vancouver Parks Board.
The German Canadian Congress at that time created a “Parkway Committee” and the German Canadian Heritage Plaza was born. The opening ceremony took place on June 29, 1986. Around 2,000 VIP’s, members of the German Community and the public attended.
Only 3 of these original gardens, one of them being the German Canadian Heritage Plaza, are left.
In her letter to the German Canadian Heritage Plaza Committee in honour of their 30-year milestone, McCarthy stated: “I remember the beginnings of the “Deutscher Platz” and have always admired the volunteer work that has maintained the beautiful gardens and sitting areas. It truly gives a respite from our busy lives for residents and visitors alike.”
Grace was known as “Amazing Grace” and with every celebration we will know she is watching us and enjoying the flowers and friendship of our German Community.
Her energy, vitality, compassion and joy were an inspiration to us all and will always be remembered.
Farewell to “Amazing Grace”!