Vancouver is one of the most visited destinations in Canada, and no trip to this city is complete without visiting the iconic Stanley Park. This gorgeous park lies in the center of the city and is visited by more than eight million people annually. It has a plethora of attractions, such as the waterfront trail and the outdoor theatre, allowing travelers of all ages to bask in the glory of nature.
About Stanley Park
Stanley Park, opened in 1888, is one of Vancouver’s most popular tourist attractions. Located in downtown Vancouver, this is the largest urban park in Canada that spans an area of more than 1000 acres. The park is named to honor Lord Stanley, who was a governor-general. It is a green oasis in the middle of the bustling city of Vancouver and an excellent spot to escape the crowds and spend some tranquil moments.
Why is Stanley Park so famous?
Stanley Park has a unique geography and is flanked by the Pacific Ocean on almost all sides, making it one of the most awe-inspiring landscapes in the country. It comprises many attractions, including 27 kilometers of forest trails, two freshwater lakes, a community pool, an aquarium, an 8.8-kilometerseawall, and more than half a million trees. Besides its numerous attractions, the park treats you to the gorgeous views of Burrard Bay and English Bay.
Things to Do in Stanley Park
Stanley Park is home to several famous attractions of the city. Here is a list of some of unmissable things you can do here.
The Seawall is an 8.8-kilometer stretch that circles Stanley Park and extends to downtown Vancouver. You will find people walking, jogging, cycling, or rollerblading at any time of the day. It makes a loop around the park’s coastline and offers some breathtaking vistas, including the northern mountains, the cityscape, and the Lion’s Gate Bridge.
There is more than 27 kilometers of forest trails passing through the park. It offers you the perfect natural escape, where you can hike through the winding paths and enjoy the lush greenery. The park is home to many trees, such as Douglas fir, redwood, hemlock, spruce, and more; some are even hundreds of years old. The Hollow Tree is one of the park’s oldest trees, believed to be around 600-800 years old. Whenever the tourists and locals visit this park, they love to get their photo clicked with this famous tree, which is just a stump now.
The Vancouver Aquarium has over 70,000 aquatic creatures, such as Beluga whales, jellyfish, otters, dolphins, penguins, sea lions, sharks, and turtles. Spread across 30 exhibits, visiting this aquarium is a fantastic learning experience for the entire family. The aquarium also hosts animal shows daily; it lets you know a lot about these creatures displayed in their natural habitat.
The imposing nine totem poles in Brockton Point are the most-visited attractions in British Columbia. They were created by the First Nations people and carved from Western Red Cedar. Each of these poles depicts a specific story and if you are interested you can hear about them on walking tours. Some of them are replicas, as the originals were removed from the park to protect them from harsh weather conditions.
Lost Lagoon is one of the most favored landmarks in Stanley Park . It is located inside the park’s main entrance and serves as a sanctuary for different birds and animals. You can explore it on your own or learn more about the park from experts at the Lost Lagoon Nature House.
Stanley Park has two famous beaches – Second Beach and Third Beach. Second Beach is renowned for its heated pool, volleyball court, and playgrounds. Third Beach is a little secluded and is a lovely spot to watch the sun slowly dipping into the horizon. Both beaches have public restrooms, seasonal concession stands, and picnic tables open all year round.
Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS)
Malkin Bowl is an outdoor seating area that can accommodate around 2,000 people. TUTS has been a summer tradition in the park since the 1940s when its amphitheater began to host musical performances. Every season, it brings two mega-musical productions on alternate nights. This open-air venue is located close to the aquarium and miniature theatre.
Pitch and Putt
Pitch and Putt is an 18-hole golf course, ten minutes from the Second Beach Pool. It has holes ranging from 40 to 100 yards, apt for all levels of players. It is a scenic spot amidst colossal trees, and you can rent clubs and golf balls and spend some time playing golf. In the vicinity, you can also find tennis courts and a lawn bowling club, making it a perfect spot for fun things to do in Stanley Park.
Stanley Park has three gardens: -Ted and Mary Grieg Rhododendron Garden, Shakespeare Garden, and Rose Garden. The first one is dedicated to the beautiful rhododendron flowers. The Shakespeare Garden pays tribute to the celebrated writer William Shakespeare and marks his 300th death anniversary. Interestingly, many of these plants were mentioned in his writing. The Rose Garden was created in 1920 by the Kiwanis Club and is in the park’s center.
The trail from Stanley Park to Beaver Lake is 1.5 kilometers. It is a wetland with varied wildlife and is not suitable for swimming. You can see the beaver dam from the central spot, walk around the trail, and enjoy the diversity of the place.
Siwash Rock is a natural rock around 49 and 59 feet tall, sitting right in the middle of the water. It is unique for Squamish people as it represents a man named Skalsh, who was transformed into the eternal rock as a reward for his unselfishness.
Riding the miniature train is one of the fun activities in Stanley Park. The train ride is for 15 minutes and takes you through the dense wilderness of the forest. It consists of a vintage engine, and the ticket price for an adult is CAD 7. There are special trains for events/festivals, such as the Halloween Ghost Train and the Christmas-themed Bright Nights.
Stanley Park is a treasure trove of so many incredible attractions that you will always find something or the other to do here. It is also possible to plan a day trip or a weekend getaway from Victoria, British Columbia, to Stanley Park, Vancouver. So, next time you are in Canada, visit this splendid park and enjoy some beautiful moments in the lap of nature.