Vancouver Revisited: Stanley Park

I have been fortunate to have visited the lovely city of Vancouver on Canada’s west coast twice and written several posts about both trips. This one which is about the beautiful Stanley Park (click link for a map of the park) at the tip of the downtown city has never seen much in the way of traffic so I thought I would reblog it as it truly is a magnificent area for discovering nature.  There are 27 km (17 miles) of trails winding through this lush rainforest of towering red cedar, hemlock and Douglas fir.

The park covers 1,000 acres and is a wonderful green space to have so close to a city. Trails and the seawall path take you around and through the park with so much to see. Stanley Park teems with an amazing variety of wildlife. Douglas squirrels, raccoons, river otters, beavers, salamanders, purple sea stars and Pacific Great Blue Herons—at least 500 species are known to live in the park. You could probably spend a week exploring this park, but if you only have time for a quick look then please join me on this short walk.

(just watch out for the cyclists and the inline skaters along the path! They are supposed to travel counter-clockwise so if you walk clockwise at least you will see them coming towards you!)

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A leisurely drive up the Sunshine Coast

The last of my travels in British Columbia: this is the route up the Sunshine Coast on the west coast of the mainland, north of Vancouver, which we took to reach Vancouver Island in 2005. It is a truly lovely drive along with a couple of short ferry rides across the fjords along this spectacular coastline. We were fortunate to be able to buy a CirclePac ticket from BC Ferries which gave us discounted fares on the routes up the coast and to and from the island. I believe we also got discounted fares travelling to the smaller islands such as Hornby, Denman and Cormorant Island (Alert Bay). Sadly this ticket was discontinued in 2011. However, it is still a route I recommend for the scenery alone. Continue reading A leisurely drive up the Sunshine Coast

Vancouver: English Bay

On my final day in Vancouver I walked up Denman Street all the way to English Bay Beach on the opposite side of the peninsula. Denman has a mixture of shops (most are very tacky) and restaurants (lots of fast food outlets) and bike rentals. It is useful to know that there is a large Safeway store on the corner of Denman and Robson where you can buy a huge variety of help yourself take-away food including Chinese, salads and freshly cooked pasta dishes. Why don’t English supermarkets do this? All we get is a miserable choice of cold antipasti, sandwiches and sometimes  a cooked chicken! Continue reading Vancouver: English Bay

Vancouver: Stanley Park

Today I decided to spend walking around Stanley Park which covers 1,000 acres at the tip of downtown Vancouver. There is so much to see in the park from the seawall walk (8.8 km), several beaches, Beaver Lake and the Lost lagoon, ‘monument’ trees and many trails amongst cedar, hemlock, and fir trees which lead you away from the madding crowds into the cool quiet forest. Continue reading Vancouver: Stanley Park

Vancouver: Art, History and Nature

On my own today, so I walked along the seawall down to Canada Place along Coal Harbour where the Harbour Air Seaplanes are based with stunning views across Burrard Inlet. Vancouver is filled with hundreds of pieces of public art; everywhere you go you find odd sculptures or examples of Chinook phrases, and since 1998 they have the International Sculpture Biennale with temporary exhibits from all over the world.

At Harbour Green Park you will see the “Light Shed” which imitates the simple boat-sheds that stood along the harbour over a century ago. Poised on log stilts, this aluminium-coated shed is particularly lustrous after dark when a dim, moving light shines from within. The park itself is a lovely shady area which seems to float at the edge of the harbour and it has plenty of benches from where you look at the appealing views and watch the float planes arrive and take off. It contains a variety of European Beech, Northern Red Oak and London Plane trees. This was going to be a long, slow walk….

Further along I came to the Vancouver Convention Centre West. A fascinating building as it appears to lean out over the harbour and resembles the prow of a ship. It has huge glass windows that reflect the view (on this day lovely clouds over the North Vancouver Mountains). Also along the seawall are railings similar to those you find on a ship and there are lots of interesting information plaques telling you the stories of different people who came to BC and what they did. What a wonderful way to learn history. All the photos come from the BC Museum in Victoria. (Another must-see museum).

Finally you come to an impressive blue bulbous sculpture “The Drop” by Inges Idee. The west building has a 6 acre living roof with 400, 000 indigenous plants and 4 beehives and 40% of the building juts out over the water. An impressive building. You then arrive at the distinctive Canada Place with the five sails that dominate the Vancouver Downtown skyline and which is home to the Vancouver Convention Centre East and the cruise ships terminal, and if you look up West Hastings Street you will see an impressive example of art deco, the Marine Building, which was built during the great Depression and was the tallest building in the British Empire in 1930.


As it was a lovely day I decided to catch the #17 bus from Granville to the Van Dusen Gardens (Oak and W 27th) which is one of my favourite gardens. Transport in Vancouver is easy to use and buses are frequent on most major routes and a single journey costs $2.75 and is valid for 90 minutes so if you need to transfer you have plenty of time to do so. I love gardens and am very happy to wander around on my own for hours, which I did.

To my delight there was also a sculpture exhibition “Zimsculpt” in the gardens by Zimbabwean sculptors so that was an added pleasure. Had lunch in the Shaughnessy Restaurant (a bit posh but the Garden Café had closed for the season). I had a vegetarian Panini – goat’s cheese, olives, artichokes, spinach, cherry tomatoes with a mixed leaf salad and a large glass of Merlot. Well a girl has to have energy for a walk around 55 acres.

Back in Downtown, dinner was at The Crime Lab Restaurant on the seawall at Devonian Harbour Park next to the hotel where I had a great veggie burger with yam chips, and my OH had a trio of fish and chips in tempura batter, the trio being prawn, cod and salmon. Oh and the Singapore Slings weren’t half bad either.