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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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: A foggy day

The opportunity to re-visit Vancouver arose when my husband had a conference there in September 2010. We had previously spent three days in Vancouver and twelve days on the island and enjoyed it so much that this was not a chance to pass on.

We stayed in the Westin Bayshore with an incredible view over the Devonian Harbour Park, the Lost Lagoon of Stanley Park and the mountains of North Vancouver. In fact I would have been quite happy just to stay in the room all week and gaze at that view as it changed constantly with the light and position of the sun. It was also perfectly positioned to watch people walking, jogging, cycling or roller-blading along the seawall walk, and the coming and goings of yachts and rowing boats from the picturesque rowing club opposite.

On the first day though we awoke to fog, and the view though still magnificent, was obliterated by the grey mist. Nevertheless hating to waste a day, and it being the only day we had here together, we decided to have a gentle walk to stretch our legs after the long flight and set off around the seawall and in to Stanley Park.

We walked up to the totem poles and then followed the seawall around Hallelujah Point, past the nine o’clock gun up to Brockton Point lighthouse and past the Empress of Japan figurehead and the Girl in a Wetsuit statue. We took it slowly, taking as usual, far too many photographs despite the grey light. In fact because it was so still the water in Coal Harbour was like glass and we spent a quite a while looking for interesting reflections to shoot. I only found out on this visit that cyclists and inline-skaters must travel around the seawall in Stanley Park in a counter clockwise direction only.

Being autumn the trees and leaves were also very photogenic. And at the children’s water park where we cut back through the park we passed close to the aquarium where we came across a family of racoons on the hunt for food. I know they may be considered a nuisance but they do look quite cute and make a change from the (black) squirrels.

We intended to eat at Ciao Bella on Denman Street but being a Monday it was full (they do 50% offers on all pasta dishes at lunch and on Monday and Tuesday dinner) so we ate at a Mexican restaurant further up the street called Ponchos where they create authentic Mexican recipes. We shared great paella, but the deserts were rather too sweet for our liking. One customer was celebrating a birthday and the owner grabbed her guitar from the corner of the room and began singing to her in Spanish. She then made special liqueur coffees with kahlua, brandy and something else that I didn’t catch, setting fire to the spirit in a way I have never seen before – pouring the spirit into a long handled ladle, then setting fire to it and pouring the flaming spirit back into the glasses from a distance. The lights in the restaurant had been turned down, so it was quite a spectacle, though I’m not sure what Health and Safety officials would think about it 🙂