No Lions and Tigers and Bears here. Well I don’t think so at least, although as it is Vancouver’s biggest urban park at 400 hectares, and is filled with natural rain forest, I guess it could hide some big beasts. Highly unlikely however, given the proximity to the city, its popularity and foot traffic through here. It takes me about 40 minutes to walk from our apartment in downtown to where Stanley Park begins, so really very close. It’s filled with walking/jogging/cycling paths so you can weave your way through rainforest although in reality you are in the middle of a city. There are a couple of lakes in there too, Beaver Lake and Lost Lagoon, so you get to see some local water fowl amongst other animals.
I love the east side by Coal Harbour. Coal Harbour houses a water plane company, and M and I have stood there fascinated watching these water planes take off and land. There is also a marina on that side – the money parked in there is incredible!
We’ve also sat around that side on a warm summer evening listening to a woman busk. She was singing some of her own original songs and she was really good.I’ve been running around parts of the sea wall that completely encompasses Stanley Park, but I prefer to run in the park, as then you don’t have to contend with tourists on rented bikes, roller bladers, walkers, other joggers, kids, dogs… The sea wall is extremely popular, especially in good weather! And inside the park is just beautiful. I’m not saying you don’t see people in the park, but the sea wall is certainly a draw card.
Just after we first moved to Vancouver I had the luck to have an old uni friend come visit and stay with us for a few days. We took a full day exploring Stanley Park, just walking around and going to the main attractions. We still didn’t see the whole park however – I’ve had to go back a few times since, and still, there are paths in there I haven’t yet seen. I have been running and walking through the area, and you can even do some basic mountain biking.
There is the famous hollow tree stump of a 700 to 800 year old Western Red Cedar, which is now held up with supports for fear it would fall over and hurt someone; Second and Third beaches on the west side of the park; a stone memorial at Prospect Point (the northern point of Stanley Park) erected after a huge storm in December 2006 downed more than 10% of the park’s trees; another stone memorial in memory of a steam boat that was wrecked in 1888; the totem poles; the aquarium… the list goes on and on. For a longer list of what you find in Stanley Park, click here.
I found the totem poles to somehow share some similarities with Pacific Island carvings. I can’t quite pinpoint what it is that made me think that, perhaps the colours used, or the patterns?