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Described by the Vancouver Sun as the “Intellectual Heart of the City,” Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) Vancouver campus was the result of a 10-year project the university undertook that changed the landscape of urban education in downtown Vancouver. The university had pioneered continuing education in the city in the early 1980s with the launch of a storefront centre, but the small space was unable to meet the public’s demands.
“It was clear there was need for a downtown university centre,” said Dr. Warren Gill, then SFU’s vice-president, university relations and an urban geographer who played a key role along with SFU President Emeritus, Jack Blaney, in the development of SFU’s downtown presence. “Simon Fraser knew it had to establish the facility through private sector support.”
After years of planning, SFU achieved Blaney and Gill’s vision and officially opened a rebuilt and revitalized 1927 Spencer building at 515 West Hastings Street on May 5, 1989, as the official home of SFU’s Vancouver campus in the Harbour Centre complex.
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