Stanley Park, Vancouver
Situated on a small peninsula immediately west of the Vancouver city center, Stanley Park is a 405 ha (1000 acre) park-cum-nature reserve with a host of sights and leisure facilities including an aquarium. Particularly on the western side of the peninsula there are numerous huge, centuries-old, red cedar and Douglas fir trees. Being earmarked for use if repairs were needed to sailing ships of the British navy, they escaped the woodcutter's axe and saw.
Situated in Stanley Park is the internationally renowned Vancouver Aquarium. In the Max Bell Marine Mammal Center performing dolphins, beluga whales, and captivating sea otters attract large audiences. In addition however the aquarium provides a fascinating introduction to the marine life of the North Pacific.Free-roaming animals can be found in the popular Amazon Gallery. Check out the interactive exhibits in the Clownfish Cove children's area. The 4D Experience Theatre combines the high-definition excitement of a 3D film with thrilling sensory effects. Canada's Arctic highlights the impacts of climate change in Canada's majestic Arctic.
Address: Box 3232, Vancouver, BC V6B3X8, Canada
Opening hours: Jun 28 to Sep 2: 9:30am-7pm
Sep 3 to Jun 27: 9:30am-5pm
Sep 3 to Jun 27: 9:30am-5pm
Always opened on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Family Day - Alberta (3rd Monday, Feb), St Patrick's Day (Mar 17), St George's Day (Apr 23), Discovery Day - Newfoundland (Jun 24), Fête Nationale / St John Baptiste Day - Quebec (Jun 24), Canada Day (Jul 1), Labor Day - Canada (1st Monday, Sep), Thanksgiving - Canada (2nd Monday, Oct), Remembrance Day / 1918 Armistice Day (Nov 11), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), Victoria Day - Canada, Good Friday - Christian, Easter Monday - Christian
Entrance fee in CAD: Adult $21.00, Child 13-18 $16.00, Senior $16.00, Child 12 & under $13.00, Child 3 & under FREE
Coal Harbour (where a small coal seam was discovered in the 19th c.) is the start of an 11 km (7 mi.) walk/cycle ride along the top of the low sea wall encircling the peninsula of Stanley Park. One splendid view follows another - of Vancouver's towering skyline, of Burrard Inlet with shipping inward and outward bound, and across First Narrows to North Vancouver and the mountains beyond.The Stanley Park seawall is always a popular place with walkers and bikers and consequently there are lanes for each so walkers don't need to worry about being run over by bikers. The seawall is particularly popular on summer weekends.
The one-way, about 10 km (6 mi.) Scenic Drive round Stanley Park begins from Georgia St., branching off past Coal Harbour with its view of the Vancouver Rowing and Yacht Club.This Scenic Drive is a nice way to get an overview of the park. There are numerous pullouts with parking where visitors can get out and look around or begin a walking trail. The drive is very busy on weekends and in the summer, parking can be difficult to find. Most visitors to Stanley Park find a place to park near where they want to visit and then explore the area on foot.
"Discovery", or HMCS Discovery, the ship in which Captain George Vancouver surveyed the waters around Vancouver Island in 1792, is now permanently berthed at Deadman's Island (naval base).From Halleluja Point there is a very fine view of downtown Vancouver.The entrance to Dead Man's Island is via a bridgeat the south end of the park, that connects the island to the mainland of Stanley Park.
The famous Stanley Park totem poles are the work of various North-west Coast Indian tribes. The oldest erected here were acquired by the city in 1912. Also worth seeing is the more than 100 year-old Nootka canoe.The Stanley Park totem poles are located near Brockton Oval, just a short distance from the seawall. An interpretive centre stands near the totem polls, along with a give shop. The totem poles are well labelled with accompanying histories and stories.
Every day without fail an old cannon known as the 9 O'Clock Gun is fired from its position near the tip of Brockton Point in Stanley Park. Manufactured in England in 1815 it was brought to Vancouver in the late 19th c. and used to be fired at 6pm to signal the end of the fishing day.From Brockton Point (lighthouse) there are fine views of the Lions Gate Bridge and the port of Vancouver. The cross commemorates the victims of a 1906 shipwreck.
Empress of Japan
Adding a touch of history at a viewpoint in Stanley Park is a replica of a figurehead from the Canadian Pacific Line's "Empress of Japan". The ship plied the Pacific Ocean between Vancouver and east Asian ports from 1891 to 1922. A rock at the water's edge in front of the figurehead provides the setting for Vancouver's equivalent of the Copenhagen Mermaid, although Elek Imredy's Canadian girl, sports a wet suit and dive mask.The Empress of Japan is a bit of an icon in Stanley Park and is often referred to as the Stanley Park Mermaid.
The walk to attractive Beaver Lake (so-called because it was once home to a beaver colony) is well worth the effort. In summer the lake, the only natural freshwater lake in the Stanley Park and haunt of herons and trumpeter swans, is a mass of variously colored water lilies.The water fowl are usually quick to approach visitors, hoping to be fed. The geese in particular will often peck at the hands or pant legs of visitors standing near the shoreline.Beaver Lake is a very tranquil area of Stanley Park, nice for relaxing or picnicking.
In Stanley Park, only a few meters from Prospect Point (at the north-western tip of the peninsula) the Lions Gate Bridge spans First Narrows, linking North Vancouver to the city center. Both the bridge and the nearby totem pole date from 1939. The pole was carved by Chief Joe Capilano and commemorates George Vancouver's original meeting with the Salish Indians in 1792.The Prospect Point lookout offers beautiful views of the North Shore Mountains, Burrard Inlet, as well as the Lions Gate Bridge. Prospect Point is the highest point in Stanley Park and a must see for visitors to the park.
From the "Hollow Tree", a partly hollow red cedar estimated to be between 800 and 1000 years old (about 1 km / .5 mi) beyond Prospect Point) walking trails lead to Third Beach (very popular in summer) and Shiwash Rock lying close offshore.The Hollow Tree was once one of the parks highlights. However, the tree is no longer alive but the stump still remains as does a plaque.
As recently as 1945 Ferguson Point, another "look-out" in Stanley Park was the site of some important military installations. The Teahouse restaurant at Ferguson Point, formerly the CO's quarters, is a great favorite on account of its views.Ferguson point is a well treed area along the seawall with fabulous views across the water.
Second Beach in Stanley Park is a much frequented part of Vancouver. In 1912 sand dredged from False Creek was used to build up the beach and bathing huts were erected. Today the large swimming pool and wide range of leisure facilities draw crowds of visitors.Second Beach is a particularly popular area with children and families. On summer weekends the area can be very busy.
Prior to construction of the road and causeway through Stanley Park, the marshy Lost Lagoon was part of Coal Harbour and virtually dried out at low water. In 1936 an electrically lit fountain was installed. Despite so much human intervention large numbers of waterfowl continue to gather at Lost Lagoon. The Canada geese, swans and ducks clearly enjoy being fed.Lost Lagoon is located at the Georgia Street entrance and there is a walking path around the water. In the spring the area comes alive with the cherry trees in blossom.
The Stanley Park Pavilion & Rose Garden
When it was built in 1911 the wooden Dining Pavilion in Stanley Park housed the park administration. Today it is used as a restaurant.Next to the Pavilion there is a pretty rose garden, first laid out in the 1920s.The restaurant in the Pavilion features dishes that try to use local ingredients. It also offers a patio area that overlooks the garden.
Map of Vancouver Attractions