on January 23, 2001
One of the things that make Vancouver such a great place to live is the proximity of the Stanley Park, one of the world's greatest urban parks. Just about 10 minutes from the business district it is on of the favourite recreation places of locals. Originally a marine base for the Royal Navy, the British government handed over the 1000-acres forest land in 1888 to the city for a symbolic price. It was named after Lord Stanley, the former Canadian governor- general whose conservasionist vision made it into a recreational area. To have a great view on the ocean and mountains surrounding Vancouver, take a walk around the park or rent a bike for the 7 mile long trail along Stanley Park Drive. Splendid panoramas are guaranteed. If you take the trail counterclockwise, you will first encounter a cluster of 19th century totem poles, the symbol of Western Canada. A bit further, at the most eastern point of the peninsula is Brockton Point, where you will see a small lighthouse. At the next viewpoint, a copy of the figurehead on the old 'SS. Empress of Japan' reminds of the Canadian fleet in the Pacific ocean. From that point, you have a view on Lion's Gate Bridge, which connects the park and downtown Vancouver with North Vancouver. Both piers reach up to 100 yards above sea level, and the road itself is elevated almost as high, enabling the mammoth tankers and other ocean ships to pass under the bridge. The Lion's Gate Bridge is very similar to the Golden Gate Bridge and was built around the same period (1938), but it never quite reached the same amount of fame. Maybe because the green color is not as eye-catching? Further along the northside of the Stanley Park, you will encounter a statue of a girl in a wet suit, much resembling Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid in Copenhagen. From that point, the Stanley Park Drive goes winding through the woods in the northwest up to the pier of the Lion's Gate Bridge, and ultimately leads back to the beaches along the westside of the park and back into downtown Vancouver.
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