Stanley Park is one of the largest parks in Vancouver, if you travel across Burrard inlet to get to the north shore, you'll have to travel through this park. It has a long history & past tragic times, where the local natives where displaced from here where they had existed for centuries to make room for the europeans coming in. You can find historical plaques in various areas.
Lost lagoon up until the early 1960's, used to have small row-boats to rent, where people could enjoy a day on the lagoon, its a shame this is just not possible any longer. But, there are many trails to explore and discover. Some very nice beaches, and some, you can actually find a spot for your body on the sand. There is the Aquarium here, in the former zoo, this was thankfully almost entirely shut down, as it had become a miserable thing, and a sad place for many of the animals.
The mini train is still in service, and this is very enjoyable for folks with children.
During Christmas time, they put on quite the show with lights and different scenes the train passes through. During the winter of 2006 - 2007 Vancouver experienced quite the winter snow storm. Heavy winds with much snow, caused Stanley Park to lose many long standing trees. Clean-up is still going on at this time, and it's now february 2007.
Unique Suggestions: Go for a walk, rent a bike, visit the beaches, spend some time around the Lumber Mans' arch, here you'll get great views of the north shore,with the mountains. This is a favorite spot for Vancouverites and tourists alike. It's a large open space where large events happen during the summer months. Such as large open concerts etc...
Fun Alternatives: If you're not enjoying the natural side of things, and need some excitement in your day. Head east, just outside the park, you'll find many, many pubs and restaurants, and high-end shopping selections.
from the Parks and Recreation website:
"To the use and enjoyment of people of all colours, creeds and customs for all time."
- Lord Stanley, Governor General of Canada, in 1889, at the dedication of Stanley Park
Stanley Park, Vancouver's first park, is an evergreen oasis of 400 hectares (1,000 acres) close to the heart of Vancouver's downtown core. Its natural west coast atmosphere offering a back drop of majestic cedar, hemlock and fir trees embraces visitors and transports them to an environment rich in tranquility.
I personally love going to this huge city park, so much to do and see, aquarium, sea wall, picnic areas, lakes, trails, restaaurants, tennis courts, pitch and putt golf course and small Zoo.
Unique Suggestions: Although the sea wall can be crowded, there are two paths, one for walkers and one for roller bladers and bicycles. Every day rain or shine it is packed with people in about a 10 km. walk around the the park.
Fun Alternatives: The city of Vancouver has many parks, Queen Elizabeth Park (flower garden) and Van Duesen Gardens, are amazing examples of the beautiful parks of Vancouver.
One of the favourite past times of Vancouverites and tourists alike, is walking the 10 kilometre-long sea wall that winds around lovely Stanley Park in the heart of Vancouver.
There are two paths, one for joggers/walkers and one for bikes, rollerbladers - to avoid collisions.
It is a busy place, especially on a sunny day in the city, nothing better than a walk around the seawall.
Unique Suggestions: There are other paths inside this huge park in Vancouver, so rent a bike or go walking on those lovely trails in the park, you'll end up at the Aquarium or the children's zoo, or the totem poles, picnic tables, the list is endless, so enjoy.
Fun Alternatives: If you don't like walking the park, there is a tram pulled by horses that will take you around the park, you can get on and off at your leisure and hop on the next one (free or small fee in summer)
Stanley Park, of course! Its around 10km to get round the perimiter. If you get half way and have had enough, theres no getting out of it ;o)