Guide to Robson Square in Vancouver, BC

Quick Guide to Robson Square Events, Activities & History

Robson Square at the 2010 Winter Olympics
Robson Square during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

Dana Lynch

Robson Square is Vancouver's de facto town square and one of the city's most important landmarks. Situated in the heart of downtown Vancouver, Robson Square is ground zero for intra-city outdoor activities (including free ice skating in winter and free dancing in summer), plays host to a parade of events throughout the year, and is the spot for downtown people watching, picnicking on street food, or just taking in the hustle and bustle of downtown Vancouver life.

Getting to Robson Square Vancouver

Robson Square is located at 800 Robson Street, across from the Vancouver Art Gallery. It forms the apex for downtown shopping, functioning as the cross-point for walking from the department stores (The Bay Downtown, Holt Renfrew) and Pacific Centre Mall to Vancouver's most famous shopping destination, Robson Street Shopping.

Underground parking near Robson Square is available, but it's easiest to access by public transit; it's just one block from the Canada Line Vancouver City Centre Station.

Map to Robson Square Vancouver

Ice Skating Rink at Robson Square downtown, Vancouver
Ross Durant Photography/Getty Images 

Robson Square Vancouver Events & Activities

Though Robson Square is home to a number of city businesses--including UBC Robson Square and the Provincial Law Courts--its public spaces are what makes it famous. Its major feature and attraction is the Robson Square Ice Rink, which is covered by a steel-and-glass dome (so that the rink can be used even in rain). A floor covering the ice rink transforms the space into a dance floor / multipurpose venue during the summer months.

Robson Square also hosts various community celebrations and events throughout the year, including New Year's Eve parties, Christmas celebrations, free outdoor concerts during the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, and free summer movies.

Unfortunately, there is not an official Robson Square website to aggregate all Robson Square events. The Square is operated by the BC Ministry of Citizens' Services, but--though they do post some information about the Robson Square Ice Rink--they don't address other events.

The best way to find out what's happening at Robson Square now is to follow Vancouver events sites (like mine), which chronicle Robson Square events as they occur.

Or: You can just go there and check it out for yourself.

Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games - Day 11, Robson Square
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Robson Square Vancouver History

Robson Square's public facilities were developed between 1978 - 1983; the Robson Square Ice Rink operated until its initial closing in 2004.

In 2009, as part of the lead-up to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, Robson Square underwent a massive reconstruction, during which the Ice Rink was renovated and resurfaced. The Robson Square Ice Rink reopened in December 2009 and the Square became an epi-centre for Vancouver Olympics parties and events. Since its re-opening, Robson Square has again become the heart of downtown Vancouver and, today, plays a role in many of the city's most important events.

Was this page helpful?