VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The Vancouver Park Board officially unveils the completed version of Emery Barnes Park Saturday morning.

Barnes may best be remembered as a long-standing NDP MLA, but before that he was an Olympic-calibre athlete and played football for the BC Lions.

His daughter, Park Board Chair Constance Barnes, says despite his achievements, he made a name for himself by siding with not-so-privileged.

“He was a really gentle, huge, soul. He was a big man. What I remember most about ‘Pop’ is that he was people person. He is remembered for his advocacy.”

He served as an MLA from 1972 to 1996 and made headlines for losing 30 pounds while he spent a month on welfare. He was Canada’s first black Speaker of the Legislature.

The last phase of the park reflects Barnes’ legacy.

“One of the things he used to play with my brother Craig is chess. So we have chess tables. This is also the very first park that will have interpretive signage. So visitors will see a picture of my father and they can read his history,” says Ms. Barnes

The park, which first opened in 2003, is located at Davie and Seymour. Saturday’s festivities include performances by a choir, drummers and dancers, plus a barbeque and cake.