Stanley Park is a very large, 1000 acre, open, green city park that is reminiscent of a rainforest. A plaque dedicating the park reads: "To the use and enjoyment of people of all colours, creed, and customs, for all time, I name thee Stanley Park."
It is located at the northwestern tip of the Vancouver peninsula at the base of the Lions Gate Bridge connecting downtown Vancouver with North Vancouver, within minutes of the hussle and bussle of the financial district. Its primary purpose is that of preservation of the giant trees that forested the entire region in bygone days.
Upon entering the park, you'll find a one direction street taking you entirely around the perimeter with several cut-through streets. There is a gorgeous view of the downtown Vancouver skyline across the bay complete with a stunning statue of an athletic runner. Countless plaques and statues can be found throughout the park.
Canada Place, with it's billowy white tent-like toppings on the building, is across the bay and home to cruise ship dockings. This is also where you can access the Vancouver Yacht Club and Deadman's Island off to your right in the harbor.
Next on the drive around the park comes Totem Park with it's multiple totem poles and souvenir shop complete with cart vendors selling refreshments and restrooms. Old-fashioned horse-drawn carriages and motorized cable-car styled trolleys can take you on a tour if desired.
At the northeastern point of the peninsula is a charming red and white lighthouse and statue of the "Girl in a Wetsuit" sitting on a rock out in the English Bay Harbor.
If you go on a Sunday you might catch a game or two of Cricket taking place on the expansive grassy lawns.
A leisurely cup of tea or lunch can be enjoyed at the Tea House Restaurant (see my journal entry on this restaurant), one of three full service restaurants within Stanley Park.
This is also the home of the Vancouver Aquarium, gorgeous rose gardens, Prospect Point lookout,a hollowed out tree trunk in the red cedar forest that the kids will love to stand in, tennis courts, lawn bowling, children's farmyard and miniature railway, 3 beaches, swimming pool and water playground,pitch and Putt Golf, waterfront on the bay with fantastic sunrises and sunsets, forests, and total serenity.
If you are a walker, this park is for you with its sidewalk seawall encircling the entire park. It would be easy to spend a whole day in the park.
Take a picnic lunch to leisurely enjoy the outdoors. Be sure to take your camera. Remember the kites and bubbles for the kids. Gray Line Bus Company services the park from downtown Vancouver.
Every town should have a retreat as wonderful as Stanley Park. When can we go again!
There is a terrific website at www.seestanleypark.com that is very intricate with all the details you might need to plan a day or two in the park.