Stanley Park is a 1000 acre jewel of green space that was established in the city of Vancouver in 1887. It’s one of North America’s largest and most beautiful urban parks, even larger than Central Park in New York. It has it all, vast areas to picnic, manicured gardens, playgrounds, water parks, an aquarium, beaches, trails through coastal forests, and a seawall walk that offers spectacular views. You can spend a full day exploring the park in its entirety.
I met my husband on Vancouver Island, but a memory we both have is time spent in Stanley Park during our youth. Both our families lived in the lower mainland when we were small children. Going to Stanley Park was a regular family event. We knew we had an instant bond when we could relate to sitting at picnic tables while eating fish and chips from the concession at Lumberman’s Arch.
You can easily make your way on foot to Stanley Park from downtown Vancouver. It is within twenty minutes walking distance of the city center. A scenic way to get there is by walking on the waterfront causeway, a good starting point is at the Vancouver Convention Center. During our visit to Vancouver we were lucky enough to be staying at the new Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel that is located right across the street.
Located outside of the Convention Center is a Digital Ocra or Pixel Whale. Most people say it looks like a giant toy made of Lego.
Sitting very near the orca is the Olympic cauldron that was originally lit by Wayne Gretzky during the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics that were hosted by Vancouver in 2010.
The start of the waterfront walk heading towards Stanley Park.
The Light Shed is a piece of art that reflects the waterfront as a working dock in Coal Harbour.
There are a several restaurants and cafes along the waterfront to enjoy a meal or enjoy a drink on a patio while soaking up the afternoon sun.
Colorful houseboats at the marina.
Beautiful yachts, how the other half lives.
A view looking back at the Vancouver Convention Center.
The start of the Stanley Park Seawall. It happened to be very quiet during our visit in late September. On a busy day make sure you stay in the appropriate lane while walking or jogging, or the bikes and roller bladders will take you out.
You can often find artwork for sale or artists set up to do hand drawn portraits of you or your dog.
The seawall offers incredible views of the ocean and mountains, it will also allow you to get a perspective of the skyscrapers of downtown. It is 8.8 km’s in length and goes around the circumference of the park.
A view of Canada Place, the cruise ship docks and the Harbour Center tower.
The 19th century Totem Poles at Brockton Point are a popular tourist attraction. They represent several British Columbia nations and are a tribute to the native people who used to reside in the area of Stanley Park.
The lighthouse at Brockton Point.
The Girl in the Wetsuit statue was created as a modern version of the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen. It has been sitting on a rock along the Stanley Park seawall since 1972.
There’s always a seagull or two hanging around the seawall in hopes of scavenging food crumbs.
A relaxing spot to watch the stately cruise ships go past.
A replica of the figurehead for the ship SS Empress Of Japan, that sailed to the Orient from 1891 to 1922.
A walkway leading to Lumberman’s Arch.
A statue of Lord Stanley, a former Canadian governor general for whom the park was named after. He had a vision of making the space into a recreational area. The plaque beneath the statue reads, “to the use and enjoyment of people’s of all colours, creeds, and customs, for all time. I name thee, Stanley Park”
The Rose Gardens of Stanley Park continue to be one of the most admired areas, they were established over 80 years ago. They are part of a larger network of gardens in the park that have an assortment of plants and flowers that can be enjoyed from March through October.
A network of roads and pathways lead you through the real stars of Stanley Park, the giant cedars and firs. There are many other varieties of trees throughout the park. In total you can explore 27 km’s of forested trails.
Lost Lagoon sits west of Georgia Street near the entrance to Stanley Park. There is a trail surround the lake that will take you past a view of the fountain. There are many nesting birds in the area including Canada geese, ducks and Great Blue Herons.
You can complete the loop back to the city along the causeway or for a change of scenery head back through town. The beauty of Vancouver is its abundance of gardens, greenery and trees that break up the concrete jungle. It is just one of the reasons this is one of our favorite cities.