Keys to the Streets

Bringing free, playable pianos to public spaces in Vancouver.




Centre for Dialogue


SFU Semester at CityStudio


  • Duane Elverum
  • Janet Moore

City of Vancouver:

  • Jenniffer Sheel | VIVA Vancouver
  • Doug Smith | Sustainability

Student Team:

  • G.P. Mendoza (2013)
  • Jen Vallee (2014)
  • Ebba Hassel (2014)


  • Healthy City Strategy

City goal area:

  • Being and Feeling Safe and Included
  • Cultivating Connections


Keys to the Streets began as a SFU Semester at CityStudio project in the spring of 2013, placing one piano at McAuley Park. That summer, GP Mendoza lead the project’s expansion pilot throughout the City of Vancouver with four outdoor pianos. CityStudio expanded the program once more in the summer of 2014 with 10 pianos.

Each piano is placed in an outdoor public space with a bench and a rain cover and is looked after by a community steward for the summer months. The project is made possible through partnerships and collaboration with City of Vancouver staff, community organizations, individuals and business sponsors.

The project was inspired by “Play Me, I’m Yours” and other similar pop-up initiatives in Montreal, Toronto, and New York.  The project also grew by creating stronger partnerships and turning the pianos into public art. Keys to the Streets seeks to build upon this spirit of inspiring music and creativity in our urban environment through revisiting the public piano concept in a way that is uniquely supported by Vancouver community organizations.

The 10 locations in 2014 were:

  • Canada Place (Artist: Paola Savasta)
  • Robson Park (Artist: Jackson Lovett)
  • Creekside Community Centre
  • Strathcona Park (Artist: Sarah Hennekens)
  • Main St. & 21st Ave (Artist: Miralda Reyes)
  • Chinatown (Artist: Jamie Bizness)
  • Lot 19 at 901 W Hastings St (Artist: Danielle Vallee)
  • Spyglass Dock
  • Stanley Park at the Vancouver Aquarium
  • Dude Chilling Park (Artists: Cheryl Cheeks, Josephine Wang, Carolyn Bell and Marnie Hiebert at East Broadway Art Walk)

The project continues to this day, now stewarded by Pacey’s Pianos and the Pianos on the Streets program.


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