It’s probably too soon in our relationship to say “I love you” but the past few weeks next to you in Vancouver have been so intense that I think it’s time to say it out loud: Stanley Park, I love you. Bearing in mind how happy I feel having met at the “worst” time of the year, I can’t wait to discover what this impressive 400-hectare park has to offer in spring and summer. Until then, here’s a taste of – cliché coming up – Vancouver’s oasis.
As you can see in the map below, the park is at the edge of the peninsula in which downtown Vancouver is found, meaning that it is completely surrounded by water – views, views, views! One of the things I like the most about living in the West End, the closest neighbourhood to Stanley, is that it allows you to pop in the park any time because it won’t take you more than a 15-minute walk until you can start your workout, casual stroll or hopefully a picnic when the weather gets nicer. Actually, the amount of doable activities in the park is as big as your imagination, but in case you need some help, keep reading
1. COAL HARBOUR
A very popular entry to the park, especially for the riders, since there are bike rentals nearby – one of the most touristy activities to do in Vancouver is renting a bike and cycling the Seawall taking snapshots at the different landmarks along the way. Regarding the harbour itself, it contains the Water Aerodrome, several marinas and rowing, boating and yachting clubs, with the best backdrop: the snow-capped mountains.
2. LOST LAGOON
The first time I was here I couldn’t believe there could be such thing just a few minutes away from my apartment. A super beautiful (artificial) lake where you can spot swans, ducks and some cute restless squirrels.
3. THE SEAWALL
The Seawall is the 8.8 km pathway that goes around the perimeter of Stanley Park – accessible on foot, bike or roller skates -, although the entire stone wall is a 22 km path that goes beyond the park, lining all Vancouver’s waterfront. Say hello to the most recreational spot in the city, always busy with sporty locals and tourists alike. For the less active, there are wooden benches – with memorial plaques – all along the way.
4. TOTEM POLES
At Brockton Point, not far from Coal Harbour taking the Seawall, is where you’ll find British Columbia’s most visited tourist attraction: the totem pole display, an example of First Nations art featuring nine hand-carved poles, some of which are replicas since the originals were moved to museums.
5. ENGLISH BAY
If you’ve done the Seawall’s 8.8 km, arriving to English Bay is such a nice reward. Here is where you can chill on the beach and watch the sunset – weather permitting, like everything in this city (duh).
6. BEACH AVENUE
To be able to get back in the city you’ll need to reach Beach Avenue, just above English Bay. You’ll probably be surprised/scared by these laughing guys… Who else thinks they’re creepy?
As I said, Stanley Park is MUCH MORE than this; I haven’t showed you other landmarks found in the park yet, like Beaver Lake, Siwash Rock, the Vancouver Aquarium… So I hope you’re looking forward to “I heart Stanley Park, summer edition” because I certainly am!
[This article is featured on Nomadic Notes Travel Guides]