Vancouver, BC
Devonian Harbour Park First Known AIDS Memorial - Vancouver Cherry Tree AIDS Memorial Grove since 20 October 1985
4 names
Shrouded within historical secrecy due to discrimination and stigma, one of the first-known AIDS memorials has been located in Vancouver. Thanks to research by Be the Change CEO Brandy Svendson during AIDS Vancouver's 30th anniversary project in 2013, the location of an AIDS memorial was uncovered at Devonian Harbour Park in Coal Harbour. According to a Vancouver Sun article dated October 21, 1985, four cherry trees were planted near Stanley Park in the memory of four men who died of AIDS. Indicative of the homophobia and AIDS/HIV stigma prevalent at the time, particularly during the onset of the AIDS crisis that ravaged LGBT communities, the men were only identified by their first names—James, Ivan, Gino, and Randy. Furthermore, an AIDS Vancouver spokesperson at the time requested that the location not be revealed in order to prevent the trees from being vandalized.
A plaque was installed on a large boulder in July 2018 reading
'First Known AIDS Memorial
Planted on October 20, 1985
This grove of cherry trees is a living monument, planted in loving memory of those we lost in the very early days of the AIDS epidemic here in Vancouver.'
The (re-)dedication took place on September 4, 2018 in the presence of City Councillor Adriane Carr. Photo © 660 City News

AIDS Vancouver