In a city as vertical as Vancouver, large amounts of park space and protected natural land can be difficult to conceive of. Stanley Park goes beyond a plot of land at the edge of a city or the creation of a renowned landscape architect though. Donning accolades and attractions, the park welcomes some 8 million visitors each year, and from the beaches to the forest and the seawall to the landmarks, we were quite impressed by all of the beautiful offerings of Stanley Park.
Location: Bordering downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Nearest Neighborhood: Downtown’s West End
Officially Opened: September 27, 1888, though many indigenous peoples still lived on the land at the time
Area: 1,001 acres (404.9 hectare), more than 10% larger than New York City’s Central Park
Fees: Free to enter. To park a vehicle:
- April – September – $3/hour or $10/day
- October – March – $2/hour or $5/day
Stanley Park Quotes:
- “To the use and enjoyment of people of all colours, creeds, and customs, for all time. I name thee, Stanley Park.” -Lord Frederick Arthur Stanley at his 1889 dedication of the park
- “A city that has been carved out of the forest should maintain somewhere within its boundaries evidence of what it once was, and so long as Stanley Park remains unspoiled that testimony to the giant trees which occupied the site of Vancouver in former days will remain.” -The News Herald, 1939
Things To Do:
- Walk, run, cycle, or rollerblade (apparently, they still do that in Canada) the seawall which lines Stanley Park’s waterfront. The 22 km (13.7 mile) path, originally endeavored upon to prevent erosion of the shore, took 54 years to build, required an additional 9 years to complete the loop, and now stands as the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront walkway.
- Explore the Vancouver Aquarium.
- Enjoy the recreation facilities by playing tennis on one of the eleven free courts, practicing your putting at the Pitch and Putt, taking a dip in the heated Second Beach Pool (only open May-September), or reconnecting with the child inside at a Stanley Park playground.
- Stroll through cedars, hemlocks, and firs along 6.5 km (4 miles) of easy hiking trails in the park’s enchanting West Coast rainforest.
- View the numerous monuments, landmarks, and works of art throughout the park.
- Take a ride on the miniature railroad.
- Grab a bite to eat at one of the park’s restaurants, concession stands, or food carts.
- Spot a black squirrel or two.