Olivia Skye

Located at 41 East Hastings Street, between two of Vancouver’s most vibrant and distinctive neighbourhoods, Chinatown and Gastown, Olivia Skye is named in honour of Marnie Crassweller, after her two daughters.

Olivia Skye is comprised of 198 studio and some junior one-bedroom suites, 68 of which (all studio) will rent at between $765 and $1,200/month (depending on income) to individuals or couples whose total annual household income is $48,000 or less. An additional 78 units will rent at $1,242/month (studio) and $1,561/month (one bedroom) to individuals or couples whose total annual household income is between $48,000 and $80,000.

A common lounge, deck with built-in brick barbeque, and a fitness room (gym) are available to all tenants. A studio unit is available to tenants for visiting family and friends, at $100/night. Cablevision is provided for the first 12 months.

A concierge service will be available at the front door to assist tenants in getting settled into the building and into the neighbourhood. A Community Animator will coordinate and facilitate social initiatives including activities such as movies nights, jam sessions and long-table dinners, with a goal to encourage tenant engagement and build community within the building.

Olivia Skye is managed by Atira Property Management Inc. To apply for rental housing, visit: oliviaskye.ca

Building Art

Local artist Judy Chartrand was asked to create art for the 14 glass panels on the front façade of Olivia Skye, as well as for the glass canopy that will shelter people walking by. Judy’s statement is below.

I am an inner-city First Nations woman who grew up in the skids (DTES) since the age two. I am the fourth youngest of 13 children raised by a then single parent who spent 12 years of her formative years growing up in the harsh, loveless environment of an Indian Residential school.

When I was first approached about this project, I was asked to create something that “reflected the history of the neighbourhood,” from its original communities of Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, and Musqueam peoples to its large Japanese and Chinese communities, who settled in nearby Japantown and Chinatown, its waves of immigrants, and Hogan’s Alley, Vancouver’s first neighbourhood that was home to a substantial, concentrated black population. In addition and because of its developer’s mission as a women’s anti-violence organization, I was asked to honour the resilience of the women who live in the Downtown Eastside, as well as the women we have lost.

I decided to use similar figures from the ancient Mimbres culture that I used on a Memorial Bowl and a large three-person banner that has been a part of the Women’s Memorial March for more than 20 years. I incorporated a medicine wheel because it represents the four directions, the four elements of life, the four medicines, the four seasons, the four states of wellbeing and the four colours of humans as well as the four stages of life. In addition to this, I created a word cloud to reinforce the presence of the people who lived in the margins of the then downtown Vancouver. The medicine wheel is about as indigenous as any symbol comes and it signifies health and healing.

The design with the women holding hands around the medicine wheel will be displayed in its entirety on a wall as you enter the building. The word cloud will be on the glass awning so that on a sunny day, the words will be projected as shadow onto the sidewalk, and at night through illumination. We hope that on any given day of living life in the DTES that someone receives comfort from the text.

The 14 large panels on the front of the building hold cropped and enlarged sections from the women figures around the medicine wheel. It’s contemporary and artistic as well as recognizable as figures that have been displayed at the annual women’s march. The cropping gives them an otherworldly movement across the surface of the building. I liken the female images as ancient Spirit Guides placed to watch over everyone.

I am honoured to have this opportunity to create work for a community that is dear to my heart.

Housing TypeLow-Income
Age RangeAny
Number of Beds276
Common Lounge
Community Animator
Parenting Support

Project Location