That’s not a park. THIS is a park.
Vancouver’s Stanley Park
“Stanley Park is the top park in the entire world.”
~ Trip Advisor.
Not an hour’s drive from Surrey is the city of Vancouver, home to Stanley Park – one of the most iconic urban green spaces in the world. Over four hundred hectares of West Coast rainforest situated between the ocean and the city, this national historic site is every bit as idyllic as it sounds. Take a closer look…
Nowhere is Lotus Land’s lifestyle so apparent as on its world-famous Seawall.
Stretching twenty-two scenic kilometers, this dual pedestrian/bicycle route rings the city’s waterfront from Kitsilano to Stanley Park. The route is peppered with patio bars and restaurants, so there are always good reasons to stop en route. Walking, running, riding, rollerblading… whatever your fancy, this is a not-to-be-missed activity, rain or shine. Take heed of the signs! The Seawall is busy so it’s important to make sure you’re not walking in the cycling lane or cycling in the wrong direction!
Trails & Beaches
Love roaming the great outdoors? It’s much closer than you think. Stanley Park boasts over 27 kilometers of shaded trails, which wind through the dense rain forest that comprises most of the Park.
Looking to cool the kids down? Visit the Variety Kids Water Park at Lumbermen’s Arch from June 1st to September 1st or hit Second Beach for a family-oriented day out. For those cooler summer days, check out Second Beach’s heated, outdoor pool, which is open from Victoria Day to Labour Day. Eighty meters by fifty, it also features a cafe, slide, playground, picnic area, washrooms, wheelchair access and pay parking. On the flipside, Third Beach (while family friendly) tends to attract the young adult crowd but arguably boasts the best beach views in the City. Located at Ferguson Point, it includes a concession, washrooms, summer lifeguards, and pay parking. Barbeques permitted!
Playgrounds & Trains
Stanley Park features four playgrounds: Second Beach, Ceperley, Miniature Train, and Rose Garden. If the kids are done blowing off steam and craving something a little more unique, the Park has four unforgettable kid’s trains: The Easter Train that celebrates Spring with an Easter Egg hunt and a visit from the Easter Bunny; the Spirit Catcher Train at Klahowya Village is a summer ride that takes passengers for an unforgettable journey through Vancouver’s unique aboriginal culture; the Ghost Train haunts the Park every Halloween with a intriguing array of spooky costumes; last but not least, the Bright Nights Train is a winter spectacle that includes over three million twinkling lights!
Sometimes, a concession hotdog just doesn’t cut the mustard. The Park has two exceptional dining destinations: The Fish House in Stanley Park and The Teahouse Restaurant. The Fish House is exactly that, with a mouthwatering menu of BC freshest catches and the Teahouse is pretty self-explanatory, too. And of course, the views from both are absolutely unforgettable.
If you’re looking for a relaxed approach, one-hour narrated horse-drawn carriage rides through the park’s eastern side are available from mid-March to the end of October (departing from the tour kiosk beside the Information Booth). No reservations are required and all tours are wheelchair accessible.
During the summer months, check out the Vancouver Trolley Company’s 45-minute hop-on, hop-off tour. It’s a charming experience aboard an old-fashioned San Francisco-style trolley, stopping at fifteen of the park’s most popular spots (again, totally wheelchair accessible).
Throughout the year, you’ll discover a number of private bus tours offering similar scenarios. Tourism Vancouver is happy to provide more information.
Next time you’re in Surrey, take a little drive (or ride on the SkyTrain) into Vancouver and go green! You won’t regret it.
Photo Courtesy of The Vancouver Sun