Will You Take a Walk With Me in Stanley Park?

by | Apr 6, 2017 | Canada, Vancouver | 1 comment

We went to Vancouver for a wedding. We had a wonderful time with family and friends.

Even with lots of pre and post wedding celebration events, we found time to explore Vancouver on our own.

My top pick in Vancouver is Stanley Park. I am not alone:

Stanley Park is a National Historic Site.

Travel+Leisure ranks Stanley Park as second of the world’s most beautiful city parks.

TripAdvisor named Stanley Park as the top park in the world in 2014

TripAdvisor Announces World’s Top Landmarks And Parks

2014 TripAdvisor®, the world’s largest travel site*, today announced the winners of its Travelers’ Choice™ awards for Attractions, highlighting the top landmarks and parks around the globe.

Top 10 World Parks:

  • Stanley Park, Vancouver, Canada
  • Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA
  • Central Park, New York City, USA
  • Millennium Park, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • High Line, New York City, USA
  • Kings Park and Botanic Garden, Perth, Australia
  • Guell Park, Barcelona, Spain
  • Ibirapuera Park, Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Retiro Park, Madrid, Spain
  • Luxembourg Gardens, Paris, France

Have you visited any of Trip Advisor’s Top Picks?

What is your favourite park?

Stanley Park borders downtown Vancouver. It is almost entirely surrounded by water. There is a path that follows the water all the way around the park.

We went to Stanley Park two times. The first time, we walked …. but we did not make it all the way around. So we went again … on bikes.

Would you rather walk or bike around Stanley Park?

If you do not like to walk or bike, you can enjoy the photos from the comfort of home!

This totem pole honours all those who lived in Stanley Park before it was a park

Many large urban parks are created by landscape architects. Stanley Park, in contrast, is a living history of land, sea and sky.

Canada’s indigenous peoples lived on the land for thousands of years before British Columbia was colonized during the gold rush. The lands became a public park in1886.

The park is named after Lord Stanley, the 6th governor general of Canada. Stanley is better known for donating the Stanley Cup to the National Hockey League. (And it is long past time for the Stanley Cup to return to Toronto! Canada was 100 years old the last time that the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup. Canada turns 150 this year….but I digress…back to Stanley Park)

Lord Stanley dedicated the park to:

The use and enjoyment of peoples of all colours, creeds, and customs, for all time.

Stanley Park is densely forested with original growth trees, some as tall as 250 feet

Would you live in a houseboat?

Vancouver is a beautiful coastal city that sits on protected waters off the Pacific Ocean. Many office buildings have sweeping vistas of ocean, sky and snow capped mountains.

Stanley Park is a city park that borders downtown. To get to Stanley Park, we first enjoyed a fabulous walk through downtown to the water’s edge.

With the ocean and mountains at its doorstep, Vancouver is a highly desirable place to live. Housing costs are stratospheric, even by Toronto standards. People get very creative with their housing. Would you live in a houseboat? There is no lawn to mow and no leaves to rake!


Can you build a house in air space in Vancouver?

If you can’t afford a house, or a houseboat, can you buy airspace and erect a house in the sky? If so, don’t forget to buy an easement over the surrounding land so that you do not live like Rapunzel, trapped in a house in the sky.

Would you row to work?

Many people live outside of Vancouver proper and commute to work. Would you row a boat to get to work?

Look in the boat on the right. There is a woman with a bull horn, yelling at the ones in the scull. Wouldn’t that be a great way to start the day: someone yelling in your face to row faster, row harder.

I was glad we were walking …. at our own pace!


Row, row row your boat to work!

Would you fly to work?

Some people live way outside Vancouver and fly to work! (Look closely at the photo and you will see the floatplane getting ready to land)


The terminal for the floatplanes in on the water

When you are ready to head home from work, you walk down to the harbour and hop on a floatplane

You can watch the planes take off

Stanley Park is not a quiet park. You can hear planes and helicopters buzzing overhead all day long.

We rented bikes downtown just at the entrance to Stanley Park

It was sunny for our biking adventure, but cold, really really cold! By the time we finished our trip around the park, my feet were blocks of wood.

We barely got underway when I stopped to take pictures of the busy container port in Vancouver

The stand of totem poles in Stanley Park is beautiful

There is a plaque in the ground that describes the totem poles:

The totem pole was the British Columbia Indian’s coat of arms.

Totem poles are unique to the north west coast of British Columbia and lower Alaska.

They were carved from Western Red Cedar and each carving tells of a real or mythical event.

They were not idols nor were they worshipped.

Each carving on each pole has a meaning. The eagle represents the Kingdom of the Air. The whale, the Lordship of the Sea. The wolf, the Genius of the Land, and the frog, the transitional link between the land and the sea.

There was a little pond in front of the stand of totem poles. I took a photo of the reflection of the totem poles as another way of showing the transition between the land and water.

This Shore to Shore sculpture celebrates the contribution of Portuguese in Vancouver

The plaque describing the scupture reads:

The sculpture is a tribute to the ancestral connection between aboriginal and Portuguese communities.

The mosaic tile base is made from stone imported from Portugal and laid by an Azorean master stonemason


This is a statue of Harry Jerome (1940-1982)

Harry Jerome was a track and field runner from Vancouver who represented Canada in the 1960, 1964 and 1968 Olympics. He is British Columbia’s Athlete of the Century.

If I could run like Harry Jerome, I could run to work in Vancouver.

Girl in a Wetsuit

Girl in a Wetsuit is a life size sculpture of a woman sitting on a rock, just off the shore in Stanley Park.

Some people claim that the idea for the sculpture came from The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen but the artist claims that this is not so.

It would be hard to swim to work in Vancouver. The water is cold, the current is strong and there are lots of boats and planes buzzing around.


Would you swim to work if you had a wetsuit?

This beach vista reminds me of The Beachcombers

Canadians of a certain age will remember the popular TV series, The Beachcombers, that ran from 1972 to 1990.

This is the figurehead from the ocean liner, the Empress of Japan

To me, it looks like the dragon is blowing clouds. Maybe he is Puff, the magic dragon.

In the distance, you can see the Lions Gate Bridge.

Most people drive to work in Vancouver. 70,000 cars a day drive across the Lions Gate Bridge.


Do you like your daily commute?

I think the Lions Gate Bridge is a beautiful structure

The Lions Gate Bridge reminds me of the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge in Halifax. And for good reason: the Lions Gate and the Angus L. were both designed by the same Montreal firm. I love the view of Halifax as you drive across the Angus L. On my next trip to Halifax, I will take photos.

The Lions Gate Bridge has a connection to the Guinness family from Ireland. (They are better known for their beer). The Guinness family bought the land in Vancouver in the early 1930’s that was necessary for the construction of the suspension bridge. They later sold the land to the province.

In 1986, the Guinness family gave a gift to Vancouver. They purchased lights to decorate the bridge. On my next trip to Vancouver, I want to get some night shots of Lions Gate.

The next time I drink a Guinness, I will think of their contribution to a Canadian historic landmark

Lions Gate Bridge is a National Historic Site. Normally, I do not include long quotes from the National Historic Site. Those who are interested can chase the links. But I like the description for the Lions Gate, so here it is:


The Lions Gate Bridge was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 2004 because:
– it is an outstanding landmark and has a significant symbolic value to Canadians;
– it is distinctive by its elegant design which complements a spectacular setting;
– it is an outstanding engineering achievement for its time in its advanced technical features; and,
– it had an undeniable and significant influence on the development of Vancouver.

Identified as one of Canada’s technical and engineering landmarks, the Lions Gate Bridge is noted for its innovative civil engineering.

When built it was recognized as the longest suspension bridge in the British Empire and one of the biggest construction projects undertaken in Canada during the 1930s.

Despite its enormous size, the open steelwork of the twin towers and pioneering use of a thin deck gave the structure a light weightless quality that blend well with its picturesque setting.

The bridge stimulated the geographic and socio-economic development of the north shore of Vancouver. Financed by the brewing tycoon, Sir Arthur Guinness, the Lions Gate Bridge was commissioned to open up the suburbs of West Vancouver for development by establishing a direct link between Vancouver and the north shore of the First Narrows of Burrard Inlet.


If you look up, way up, you will see a runner on the bridge

That runner is higher than the clouds, higher than the birds, higher than I will ever run, or walk.

By the time we reached Siwash Rock, my feet had no feeling in them

This famous rock outcropping is distinctive because of the Douglas fir that grows out of the top of the rock. The orgininal tree died during an exceptionally dry summer in 1965. To everyone’s amazement, new saplings took root and grew in this hostile location.

This is Siwash Rock from the other side

Now, I know that Vancouverites have a reputation for rugged outdoorsmanship, but this rollerblader is pushing the envelope. It is too cold for shorts!

We completed the circle tour of Stanley Park. We did not do it in record time because I stopped every minute to take photos.

Biking or walking, which was better? I liked the walk better but saw more on the bike.

I hope you enjoyed the trip around Stanley Park. Now it is time for a Guinness!


Rose Ann MacGillivray

Rose Ann MacGillivray

World Heritage Traveller at BoomerVoice.ca
I love visiting World Heritage Sites, celebrating the world’s most fascinating places and cultures, and most of all, having fun on a trip. Join me on the road to fun and fascinating places. Thanks for reading – and remember to add your e-mail below for updates!
Rose Ann MacGillivray

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