British Columbia

Students build giant blanket fort, music stage beneath Cambie Street Bridge

The Cambie Bridge Warming aims to showcase what can be done with underutilized public space.

The Cambie Bridge Warming aims to showcase what can be done with underutilized public space

The Patio Jam installation featured a piano, xylophones and guitars while surrounded by warm neon lights. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

Just because it's cold and wet doesn't mean you can't have fun outdoors.

That's the message Sophia Larney and her 19 cohorts are spreading.

The university students organized a street festival beneath the Cambie street bridge on Friday, equipped with a book exchange, a musical patio jam space and even a giant blanket fort.

Student Sophia Larney is one of 20 students who contributed to the Cambie bridge installation. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

"We really wanted to take advantage of the cover that the bridge provides and activate a space that is normally underused," said Larney.

"These projects reimagine what could be in this space and what could be in other underused spaces around the city."

A blanket fort was one of several installations on display at the inaugural Cambie Bridge Warming. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

Cambie Bridge Warming

The event is called the Cambie Bridge Warming and is a culmination of a semester-long program at Simon Fraser University.

Students were tasked with developing installations that reflected growing needs in Vancouver. The City Gone Wild exhibit — a collection of gardens and plants — represents the importance of native and diverse plants to the city's greenspace.

The blanket fort represents Vancouver's urgent need for shelters during the cold winter months. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

The large blanket fort, equipped with warmers and hot beverages, illustrates the need for pop-up shelters as the city continues to grapple with its homelessness crisis.

Larney hopes similar installations will pop up in other underutilized spaces in the city.

"We think there's so much opportunity to have events like this in the city, if you take advantage of areas that are already covered."

Chalkboards mounted beneath the bridge ask passersby to write down what they would like to see underneath the city's bridge. They will remain intact as a public art installation for several weeks following the event. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)