Stanley Park, Vancouver
Favorite thing: Stanley park is all about the trees. It is 1000 acres of natural rainforest. The park has many walking trails. We spent more time walking round the edges than in the centre. To see it all you need more than one day.
Lost Lagoon was originally part of Coal Harbour. At low tide it would turn into mud flats. The first nations people gathered seafood here. With the construction of the Stanley Park causeway in 1916 Lost Lagoon became permanently detached from the sea.
The name Lost Lagoon comes from a poem written by Canadian writer Pauline Johnson. She had a Mohawk father and an English mother. She liked to sit lost in contemplation by this lagoon hence its name.
The lagoon has a fountain in the middle. It is home to many species of birds. As we sat next to it we suddenly heard a soft but clear farting sound. I looked at my husband. He looked at me. The sound came again. To our surprise we realised it was the call of a strange little duck. We had to move away as there were people approaching and we did not want them to think the embarrassing sounds were us.
After Lost Lagoon we finally left the beautiful Stanley Park.
Favorite thing: We could not leave Stanley Park without visiting The Ted and Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden as it was April and the rhododendrons were in full bloom. This Garden was named after two of British Columbia's most renowned rhododendron hybridizers - Ted and Mary Greig. When they retired in the 1960s, they donated thousands of plants to Stanley Park from their nursery on Vancouver Island. These gardens were absolutely stunning. A blaze of colour.
Favorite thing: Second Beach was a welcome sight because it meant we had almost finished walking right round the park. Like Third Beach, Second Beach is sandy. It is easier to get to than Third Beach so no doubt gets more crowded in summer. There is a large outdoor heated pool here, but it was not in operation when we visited. It was too cold. There are also toilets.
This is where I annoyed my husband because I insisted we doubled back into the park's interior to find the hollow tree after we left Third Beach. Yet more walking. I must admit our feet were getting a little sore by this point.
Hollow tree is around 700 to 800 year old. It is a Western Red Cedar tree stump. Around the bottom of it there are old photos showing people posing inside it, a car inside it and even an elephant inside it.
Hollow tree was badly damaged by the severe windstorm in December 2006 and was to be removed but a campaign to preserve it prevented it being destroyed.
Favorite thing: A first nations legend tells the story of a young chief who was brave, strong and upright in his traditions. He married a young girl from the north and they longed for a child. At last the girl got pregnant. When the child was due, they went swimming in order to purify their bodies in preparation for parenthood. The young girl returned to the shore to give birth, but the chief kept swimming. Four giants in a canoe approached him and demanded that he left the water and got out of their way, because they had magical powers and they would lose them if they came into too close contact with a human. The chief refused explaining that he was swimming for the purity of his coming child, so the giants turned him into a stone. The stone stands in the water at the top of Stanley park and represents clean fatherhood.
At the north end of the park there is a good view of the Lions Gate Bridge. It crosses over the narrows of Burrard Inlet. We passed under it on the sea wall. This bridge connects Vancouver to North and West Vancouver.
The Lions Gate Bridge first opened in 1938. Lions actually refers to two mountains in North Vancouver, but a pair of concrete lions, designed by sculptor Charles Marega, were placed on either side of the south end of the bridge in January 1939. We passed over this bridge by bus when we visited Lighthouse Park.
Favorite thing: I have too many photos for one tip as all the animals I seemed to meet came right up to me. Some of my photos are blurry because they were too close. Oh and I better add some pictures of the actual lake, too.
We came off the sea wall for a while to walk to Beaver Lake via a forest trail. The lake is small enough to walk around easily. I hoped we might see beavers but we did not. Instead as I walked around I was passing a little bridge when a little squirrel leapt out at me. As I tried to take its photo another squirrel leapt out. As I tried to photo it, a small bird tried to land on my hand. The squirrels were so tame they came right up to me.
All around the lake there were lovely yellow water flowers. The lake was home to many species of ducks including some I had never seen before.
Stanley Park is home to some wonderful First Nations totem poles. One of the highlights of the park for me. The totem poles are located at Brockton Point.
Three gateways created by Coast Salish artist Susan Point lead to the totem poles. These beautiful gateways took three years to make and were installed in 2008.
There are nine totem poles at Brockton Point. The first of these was purchased in 1920. Four of the totem poles are from Alert Bay on Vancouver Island; others are from the Queen Charlotte Islands and Rivers Inlet.
Stanley Park is a huge park, around 1000 acres. It was originally home to the Squamish First Nations people, but they were forcibly removed and resettled in 1888.
The park is called after Lord Stanley who had just been appointed governor general of British Columbia when the park opened in 1886.
The interior of the park is covered with rainforest. The coastal part of the park is surrounded by seawall. We walked all the way round this as well as visiting some of the sights the park has to offer. Even though we spent the whole day here, we could not see everything. It is just too big.
The park is home to Vancouver Aquarium which we did not visit. I am going to write separate tips for the parts of the park I enjoyed most.
I was very disappointed that we ran out of time to take the Horse Drawn tour of Stanley park.
The cost of this tour was included in our Vancouver card, which we had purchased for sightseeing in Vancouver.
We saw it, and passed it in Stanley park, what a great way to get around and to see the sites, clip, clop, clip, clop, a nice slow pace, and ideal for taking many photo's without any glare, as it is open air.
A guide fully narrates the tour which passes byDeadman's Island, Vancouver's Harbour, Lions Gate Bridge, a Coastal Red Cedar Forest, and includes stops at the Totem Poles, the Girl in a Wet Suit Statue, the S.S. Empress of Japan Figurehead, and the Rose Garden.
Tickets available only at the Horse-Drawn Tour Kiosk in Stanley Park.
Only seating for 20 people.
Departs every 30mins.
Cost in 2010......$28.99 Adults....$15.99 .....children [3-12yr old]
Fondest memory: http://www.stanleyparktours.com/
Practically all of Stanley park's trails have been severely damaged from the 3 or 4 winter storms we got here in december 2006.
And the Siwash trail is especially in bad shape since it lies on the west side near the seawall.
The Seawall is also closed indefinitely , as I am writing this on May 15th 2007 , the repairs have not yet started !!!!
So be advised and when you come , you will see how powerfull the winds were .
One motive for my walk through Stanley Park was to see racoons. Some locals I spoke to in Vancouver couldn't quite fathom the enthusiasm I had to see these critters. I guess to Canadians racoons aren't anything special - a bit like possums in New Zealand. However, we don't have many large land animals in my country (no native ones anyway) and racoons have been creatures of stories that I grew up with. Heck, I remember as a primary school kid writing a story about a group of North American animals setting out on a round the world adventure - and the only racoons I had ever seen were in Auckland Zoo!
Well, I had a map of Stanley Park and made for Racoon Trail, where I hoped to spot these animals. All I saw there were black squirrels! Disappointed and giving up hope, I walked up to Prospect Point to photograph the bridge and the view. It was here that I came across racoons! They didn't stick around very long, but obviously knew the best place to hang out to get some morsels of food! The one pictured was having a drink from a water fountain. It was a shame they got frightened off by some noisy kids. I would like to have watched them a bit longer.
archeological evidence has it, Vancouver had settllements of coastal Indians in the year 500 B.C.
Fondest memory: the many scenic locations in and around Vancouver makes this City a memorable stay. I personally enjoyed the beautiful Parks, 180 Parks in the City alone.
the world famous Stanley Park has so much recreational value and is appreciated by tourist and the locals. an area of over 400 hectares operated by the Stanley Park Ecology Society.
the Park is also well known for the Lost Lagoon, a Bird Sanctuary