Whether you are a tourist visiting Vancouver, or if you’re just looking to be a tourist in your own town, a must see spot is Stanley Park. With over 450 hectares and 27 km of trails, Stanley Park is a lot of park to see. There is lush forest, wildlife, spanning beaches, tennis courts, rugby fields, delicious restaurants and historical landmarks so plan accordingly and you might want to take more than one day to explore everything the heart of Vancouver has to offer.
Located in the heart of Stanley Park lies the largest and most renowned aquarium in Canada, the Vancouver Aquarium. They are home to beluga whales, dolphins, porpoises, sea otters, seals, turtles, jellyfish, sharks, and you can even find a few sloths hanging out if you’re lucky. The team at Vancouver Aquarium are global leaders in marine conservation, education and research, which makes it the perfect place to learn about BC’s coastline, native sea life and their natural habitats. Make sure to leave time to visit the electric eel that powers a light-up tree and take in a beluga and dolphin show and learn how the the teams works closely with the aquarium animals to learn more and contribute to research that helps the animals in the wild. It’s the perfect place to visit while you explore Stanley Park.
Learn more about Canada’s rich history by seeking out the First Nation art in Stanley Park. When visiting the Brockton Point visitors centre you will be greeted by three hand carved red cedar gateways in the style of the Coast Salish people called the ‘People Amongst the People’ gateways. At Brockton Point you will also find 9 totem poles that show a variety of traditional Native styles including Totems from Haida Gwaii, Alert Bay and the Squamish Nation that were carved anywhere from 1920s to 2009.
With one of the best views in the city, Prospect Point is a great place to go check out stunning panoramic views of the North Shore, Lions Gate Bridge, and the Burrard Inlet. Grab an ice cream cone from the Prospect Point Cafe, watch a beautiful sunset and wave to a cruise ship leaving port. It is a beautiful and relaxing spot to hang out and see some of the rich beauty Vancouver has to offer.
Feet, bikes, skateboards or roller blades are all excellent ways to take advantage of the Stanley Park Seawall. A 9 km loop takes you around the outer edge of the whole park and provides stunning scenery the whole way. On your journey you’ll see the Brockton Point Lighthouse which was built in 1914, and Siwish Rock that is slightly older at 32 million years. The park itself has over 27 km of trails but the seawall is a great route to take if you want to soak in the sun and some stunning ocean views.
Located in a Coastal Rainforest, Stanley Park ensures a climate to help plant life, nature and tree life thrive. Centuries-old massive red cedars, hemlocks, douglas firs, pacific dogwood and bigleaf maple trees are some of the impressive beauties you’ll see. Once you get into the forest and smell the intoxicating scents and see the lush and vibrant greenery you’ll forget that you’re anywhere near the city. Check out the 700 to 800 hundred year old Hollow Tree as well, which is one of the most photographed spots in the park. It was almost lost in a big storm in 2006, but some local people rallied to save Hollow Tree and they were able raise the funds personally to stabilize it and keep it a fun spot to visit. (They have even had an elephant inside of it!) In addition to elephants, you might be lucky enough to see a deer or at least a couple of squirrels making their home in the park and you’ll be happy you made time to see some of the enchanting forest Stanley Park has to offer.
Want to see more of Vancouver? Canadian Craft Charters offers 2-hour, 4.5 hour and 7 hour Vancouver City Tours.