Formerly an RCAF depot, this site was turned over to the Park Board by the federal government on October 28, 1966. It is named for the then Governor General of Canada, George Vanier. The park was officially opened May 30, 1967. Lumber baron H.R. MacMillan’s $1.5 million donation for a planetarium was the impetus for the museum/planetarium complex which were opened in 1968. Later in 1972, the Vancouver City Archives were opened with the subterranean building carefully located on the site.
Deputy Park Board Superintendent William Livingstone, famous for his landscape design for Queen Elizabeth Park and VanDusen Botanical Garden, increased the size of the original park site when he took advantage of tons of free fill which resulted in the excavation for the MacMillan Bloedel building on Georgia Street. The fill was free to the Park Board and added additional acres onto the park which was then beautifully landscaped by Livingstone and his crew.