Vancouver is a popular Canadian destination thanks to its temperate climate as well as its thriving, arts, culture and food scene. But there is a natural beauty to the city that cannot be ignored. Nowhere is that more apparent than Stanley Park.
Without question, Stanley Park is one of Vancouver’s most defining features. It is as tied to the city’s identity as much as Lions Gate Bridge or the mountains that surround Vancouver. Any trip to Rain City is incomplete without spending at least a day there.
Stanley Park is born
This world renowned urban park was established in 1888. It was named for Frederick Arthur Stanley, a former Governor General of Canada. In case you were wondering, the NHL’s Stanley Cup was named after him, as well.
Stanley Park is located just north of Downtown Vancouver, and across the Lions Gate Bridge from North Vancouver. Otherwise, it’s surrounded by English Bay and Burrard Inlet. Being that close to open water gives the park a unique feeling that is difficult to replicate in a city.
Part of the reason for that is how the park came to be. Most urban parks are developed by landscape architects. That was not the case with Stanley Park. It was a natural development process that occurred in many stages over several years.
A massive experience
At 1000 acres, Stanley Park is a large and immersive place to spend a lot of time. It is primarily made up of natural West Coast rainforest. Hiking, biking and walking trails weave their way through thousands of massive, stunning trees.
The Seawall is one of the park’s most famous features. Walking around it allows for incredible views of Downtown Vancouver, North Vancouver, the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. It also allows visitors to get a look at many of the cultural landmarks in the park.
Various monuments and sculptures can be found throughout Stanley Park, including one to Lord Stanley himself. But the park is also filled with stunning gardens, each one of them well stocked with beautiful flowers. A great way to take it all in is riding the Stanley Park Train.
Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park
On top of everything else Stanley Park offers, it’s also home to the Vancouver Aquarium. The non-profit organization originally opened it’s doors in 1956, offering an experience that favored education over entertainment.
That being said, the Vancouver Aquarium is still a fun place to go to. It contains approximately 70,000 animals in 30 exhibits. That includes the Graham Amazon Gallery which houses some amazing species from South America including a sloth.
While Stanley Park has done well during the pandemic, the experience has been much harder on the Vancouver Aquarium. It has temporarily closed its doors to the public. But when it does reopen, any visitors to the park need to make sure they take advantage of it.
That goes double for Stanley Park. With everything that Vancouver offers visitors, it can be easy to overlook something like a park. But in the case of Stanley Park, anyone stopping by Vancouver needs to bump it to the top of their itinerary.