Every city should be so lucky to have easy access to such a diverse and beautiful park. This 1,000-acre green space, a wonderful respite from downtown, is the one truly must-see attraction in Vancouver or never live it down.
You can bike, in-line skate, or stroll along an iconic perimeter path (see below), or explore the miles of paths that crisscross the park’s interior. You’ll also discover lawn bowling (for the ultimate British experience) and a par-three golf course — bring decent shoes, the course can be a minefield of Canadian Goose poop, themed gardens, and the very impressive Vancouver Aquarium.
Begin at the park information booth near Lost Lagoon, the taking-off point for horse-drawn carriage tours and bicycle rentals. As you drive, bike, or walk the 6-mile, one-way circuit, you pass Brockton Oval, a semicircle of native Kwakiutl totem poles and two native canoes carved from a cedar log. This area has the largest concentration of tour buses and camera-toting tourists.
If you continue beyond the children’s farm and a miniature train, things quiet down again and you pass Deadman’s Island, a former First Nations burial ground and quarantine during a late-19th-century epidemic of smallpox; the Empress of Japan figurehead; and then remote Third Beach and Ferguson point, home to The Teahouse Restaurant. Completing the circuit, you pass The Fish House restaurant in Stanley Park, positioned strategically near Denman Street and English Bay.
Tip: When you descend the stairs to Third Beach, turn right and walk down to the end of the beach. Any of the benches along that walk are secluded and have a kissable view of the sunset. At Second Beach, you’ll find a free, kid friendly outdoor, fresh-water pool.
Stanley Park is a gathering place for local artists of all styles and talents imaginable, usually on Sunday mornings. Some paintings you love; others you question. A great stroll if it’s sunny weather – bring your wallet.