Seawall, the, Vancouver
Starting at Canada Place and running west, then south, and then along the small bay known as False Creek, and finally ending at Kitsilano Beach, the Seaside Greenway is a paved pedestrian and bike trail that runs uninterrupted by traffic for 28 km / 17 miles. The trail is quite well designed and in almost all places the bike traffic (or other wheeled devices such as roller blades and skateboards) are segregated from the walking traffic.
As it runs along the water, the views from the trail are fairly good in a number of locations.
There are a number of city parks along the waterfront through which the trail runs, and these provide other diversions.
At Stanley Park, the trail divides, with the main traffic trail cutting across the neck of land that connects Stanley Park to the rest of Vancouver. The trail ducks under the busy roads so that it is continuous without interference from major auto traffic routes. See photo 4. You can continue all around Stanley Park if you want, but if you want to bypass Stanley Park and get further south in the city you can use the underpass shown and then continue along Lost Lagoon and other trails to Park Lane and Beach Avenue, where it is possible to reconnect with the Seawall Trail once more.
A loop of trail runs along the perimeter of Stanley Park. The bike trail part of this must revert to the nearby streets (mostly the perimeter road) in a few locations as it is not possible to have combined bike and pedestrian traffic on the very narrow sections of the trails along parts of the water. However, mostly the bike traffic is kept separate from road traffic even on the more lightly traveled of these roads.
Finding the trail is pretty easy: starting from pretty much anywhere in Vancouver (except for the area east of Canada Place on the north side of town), head towards the water and you will see the trail running along the water. The trail does not enter Granville Island, but you can easily get to the trail from Granville Island by heading towards the connector road that brings traffic into Granville Island. This crosses the trail just after leaving the island.
Harry Winston Jerome was a native of North Vancouver and star track runner. He Competed for Canada in the 1960, 1964 and 1968 summer Olympics. at one point he was the only athlete to hold the world records for both the 100 yard and 100 meter dash.
How could you not enjoy this. On a beautiful day grab your inline skates, bicycles or just your legs and complete the circuit. It takes between 1-2 hours if you are inlining to do the complete circuit. The seawall goes along the water with beautiful views of the mountain, the sea and back into the city. You can rent at Bayshore Take advantage of the clear days and enjoy this wonderful perk of the city.
Directions: Stanley Park, from english bay to the northwest end of downtown
If you're spending any amount of time in Vancouver, you'll likely come across the seawall without even realizing it. This is probably Vancouver's most famous promenade - a favourite among locals as well as tourists!
The seawall was originally built as a promenade around Stanley Park's perimeter. As its name suggests, the seawall offers a waterfront view all the time, often with beach access and lookout points.
The seawall in Stanley Park has several rules. While you can walk and jog in either direction, if you're planning to rollerblade or cycle the sea wall, you'll have to head in a counter clockwise direcion. Fortunately, there are separate cycling and rollerblading lanes from the walking lanes.
While Stanley Park is home to the original seawall, the promenade has been extended along Coal Harbour to Gastown, and south-east past English Bay, all along to False Creek, all the way to Granville Island and Kitsilano!
If you're looking for some beautiful scenery, or an ideal place for bike riding or walking, the seawall would definitely be it.
The seawall is dotted with various points of interest. The one I like is the mermaid lounging on the rock. My wife has a different point of view. About halfway between Brockton Point and Prospect Point is Lumberman's Arch. In the summer they have a water park going here and a concession stand. Prospect Point has a spectacular view of North and West Vancouver.
Directions: Located at the very west end of Georgia St.
Phone: (604) 257-8400
I love rollerblading the sea wall. You can pick up rollerblades for under $20 for 3 hours on Denman in between Robson and Alberni. Then cross Georgia and head for Coal Harbour and the sea wall. (Everyone goes counter-clockwise). The wall goes all the way around Stanley Park (and far beyond).
There are some hilly sections, but they do provide a "low road" in many sections for less experienced bladers. You can grab your helmets and pads in the shop when you get your blades.
Pedestrians stay on one path, bladers and bikers on the other. Be aware that you may be passed and people will try to yell "On your Left!" as they approach.
Here's a park map:
A suggestion: before you pick up your rollerblades, head up Robson Street about 3 blocks. Pick up a picnic lunch at Capers and have it on this section of sandy beach. The view is great.
Directions: Stanley Park beginning at Denman/Robson.
The Stanley Park Seawall is one of the most picturesque places, not just in Vancouver, but anywhere in the world! It's a flat 8.85km path that circumnavigates the peninsula that is Stanley Park.
If you walk it, and can do so a reasonable pace, then it'll take you about 3 hours. The other modes of transportation will certainly take less time than this.
If it's your first time I might suggest you start on the Coal Harbour (east side) and walk around counterclockwise. This will have you ending up in English Bay, about 2km from where you started from.
If you prefer one of the other modes (ie. with wheels) then you MUST go in this counterclockwise direction, albeit on a path that is separated from the pedestrians.
Both bicycles and rollerblades can be rented from a number of shops that are in & around Denman & Robson.
Address: Stanley Park
Is an excellent day adventure. Great for families or couples or a group of friends, there is stanley park the aquarium, a water park, a beach. It takes a few hours to walk around the entire wall but do not hesitate to bike or rollerblade.
Directions: Downtown, stanley parkRelated to:
A beautiful, 10-mile stretch with views of forest and ocean. Frequented by runners, rollerbladers, walkers and casual cyclists, it's a MUST-DO in Vancouver. Grab a grande vanilla latte from Starbucks before you go and you're set!
Give yourself a couple of hours to do the whole thing, a wonderful way to enjoy the park, the ocean and the afternoon. At the end, you're in English Bay with plenty of great restaurants to choose from on Davie street or Denman.
By foot, if you're staying anywhere downtown, the seawall is accessible from anywhere on Beach Ave, Denman at Davie or Denman at Georgia, or from the bus loop at the West end of Georgia (go under the underpass to get to it).
Address: Stanley Park (Downtown Vancouver)
Directions: By road: Take Georgia street towards the Lions Gate Bridge (Northbound), and at the last minute, turn off into Stanley Park. Pay park, and off you go. Or better yet, be cheap and take transit.
"Because you have defied all things that came in your path we promise this to you," he chanted; " you have defied what interferes with your child's chance for a clean life, you have lived as you wish your son to live, you have defied us when we would have stopped your swimming and hampered your child's future. You have placed that child's future before all things, and for this the Sagalie Tyee commands us to make you forever a pattern for your tribe. You shall never die, but you shall stand through all the thousands of years to come, where all eyes can see you. You shall live, live, as an indestructible monument to Clean Fatherhood."
The four men lifted their paddles, and as the handsome young chief swam inshore, as his feet touched the line where sea and land met, he was transformed into stone.
Then the four men said, "His wife and child must ever be near him; they shall not die, but live also," And they, too, were turned into stone. If you penetrate the hollows in the woods near Siwash Rock you will find a large rock and a smaller one beside it. They are the shy little bride-wife from the north, with her hour-old baby beside her. And from the uttermost parts of the world vessels come daily throbbing and sailing up the Narrows. From far trans-Pacific ports, from the frozen North, from the lands of the Southern Cross, they pass and repass the living rock that was there before their hulls were shaped, that will be there when their very names are forgotten, when their crews and their captains have taken their long last voyage, when their merchandise has rotted, and their owners are known no more. But the tall, grey column of stone, will still be there--a monument to one man's fidelity to a generation yet unborn--and will endure from everlasting to everlasting.
Source: Legends of Vancouver, Vancouver: Thompson Stationery Co., 1911.
"But you shall cease!" they commanded. "We are the men (agents) of the Sagalie Tyee (God), and we command you ashore out of our way!" (I find in all these Coast Indian legends that the Deity is represented by four men, usually paddling an immense canoe.)
He ceased swimming, and, lifting his head, defied them. "I shall not stop, nor yet go ashore," he declared, striking out once more to the middle of the channel.
"Do you dare disobey us," they cried--"we, the men of the Sagalie Tyee? We can turn you into a fish, or a tree, or a stone for this; do you dare disobey the Great Tyee?"
"I dare anything for the cleanliness and purity of my coming child. I dare even the Sagalie Tyee Himself, but my child must be born to a spotless life."
The four men were astounded. They consulted together, lighted their pipes and sat in council. Never had they, the men of the Saglie Tyee, been defied before. Now, for the sake of a little unborn child, they were ignored, disobeyed, almost despised. The lithe young copper-colored body still disported itself in the cool water; superstition held that should their canoe, or even their paddle blades, touch a human being their marvellous power would be lost. The handsome young chief swam directly in their course. They dared not run him down; if so, they would become as other men. While they yet counselled what to do, there floated from out the forest a faint, strange, compelling sound. They listened, and the young chief ceased his stroke as he listened also. The faint sound drifted out across the waters once more. It was the cry of a little, little child. Then one of the four men, he that steered the canoe, the strongest and tallest of them all, arose and, standing erect, stretched out his arms toward the rising sun and chanted, not a curse on the young chief's disobedience, but a promise of everlasting days and freedom from death.
"I must swim, too," she smiled with the perfect understanding of two beings who are mated. For them the old Indian custom was law--the custom that the parents of a coming child must swim until their flesh is so clear and clean that a wild animal cannot scent their proximity. If the wild creatures of the forests have no fear of them, then, and only then, are they fit to become parents, and to scent a human is in itself a fearsome thing to all wild things.
So those two plunged into the waters of the Narrows as the grey dawn slipped up the eastern skies and all the forest awoke to the life of a new, glad day. Presently he took her ashore, and smilingly she crept away under the giant trees. "I must be alone," she said, "but come to met at sunrise: you will not find me alone then." He smiled also, and plunged back into the sea. He must swim, swim, swim through this hour when his fatherhood was coming upon him. It was the law that he must be clean, spotlessly clean, so that when his child looked out upon the world it would have the chance to live its own life clean. If he did not swim hour upon hour his child would come to an unclean father. He must give his child a chance in life; he must not hamper it by his own uncleanliness at its birth. It was the tribal law--the law of vicarious purity.
As he swam joyously to and fro, a canoe bearing four men headed up the Narrows. These men were giants in stature, and the stroke of their paddles made huge eddies that boiled like the seething tides.
"Out from our course!" they cried as his lithe, copper-colored body arose and fell with his splendid stroke. He laughed at them, giants though they were, and answered that he could not cease his swimming at their demand.
While walking around the seawall you are bound to come across this beauty. The rock has its own story told by the following Native legend:
It was "thousands of years ago" that a handsome boy chief journeyed in his canoe to the upper coast for the shy little northern girl whom he brought home as his wife. Boy though he was, the young chief had proved himself to be an excellent warrior, a fearless hunter, and an upright, courageous man among men. His tribe loved him, his enemies respected him, and the base and mean and cowardly feared him.
The customs and traditions of his ancestors were a positive religion to him, the sayings and the advice of the old people were his creed. He was conservative in every rite and ritual of his race. He fought is tribal enemies like the savage that he was. He sang his war songs, danced his war dances, slew his foes, but the little girl-wife from the north he treated with the deference that he gave his own mother, for was she not to be the mother of his warrior son?
The year rolled round, weeks merged into months, winter into spring, and one glorious summer at daybreak he wakened to her voice calling him. She stood beside him smiling,
"It will be to-day," she said proudly.
He sprang from his couch of wolf skins and looked out upon the coming day: the promise of what it wold bring him seemed breathing through all his forest world. He took her very gently by the hand and led her through the tangle of wildernesses down to the water's edge, where the beauty spot we moderns call Stanley Park bends about Prospect Point. "I must swim," he told her.
Directions: The Siwash Rock stands tall and proud right by the seawall around the 6km mark.
Down by the seawall is a busy place. People can walk thier dogs, rollar blade, or bike all along the seawall, and the view is just amazing. Picture the ocean meeting snow-capped mountains under a sunny sky- BEAUTIFUL!! You can hop down and walk along the sand, or just sit on a log and watch the waves. It's gorgeous ;)
The Stanley Park Seawall was originally conceived as a precaution to erosion in the early 1920s. Though it took nearly six decades to complete the entire seawall, which rings the peninsula of Stanley Park, it was obviously well worth it as visitors and residents alike make this outdoor recreational facility the most popular activity in Vancouver. It's circular route racks up 5.5 miles or 8.85 km. Most spots are now physically separated so that in-line skaters and cyclists can peacefully co exist with pedestrians.
Of all my walks in life this was one of the most scenic with the Pacific Ocean views mixed with the mountains and BC Forest. It was amazing, it is very clear as well walking this seawall that the local people really use it and take advantage of it.
The City of Vancouver has done an exceptional job integrating nature with their city as far as I was concerned.