Birds, Flowers and Attractions in Stanley Park, Vancouver BC

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A yellow flag flower in Stanley ParkA blue flag iris flower
A yellow flag flower in Stanley Park
A yellow flag flower in Stanley Park | Source
A blue flag iris flower
A blue flag iris flower

Stanley Park is a beautiful, 400-hectare park in Vancouver, British Columbia. It contains a large forested area with a rich assortment of wild plants and animals, as well as cultivated areas and tourist attractions.

The park is located on a peninsula which juts out into the ocean. A sea wall path travels around the peninsula, providing walkers, runners, cyclists and inline skaters with beautiful views as well as an enjoyable exercise route.

Stanley Park offers visitors a wide choice of activities. Nature study and photography can be enjoyed throughout the park. The seawall path, sandy and rocky beaches, trails through the forest and cultivated areas such as the rose garden are very popular. Lost Lagoon and Beaver Lake are great places to observe birds and wildlife.

The Vancouver Aquarium is located in the park and is a major tourist attraction. A collection of First Nations totem poles is also popular with visitors. Horse-drawn carriage rides and a miniature train ride are enjoyed by many people. The park also contains playgrounds for children, open areas for sports, concession stands and restaurants.

For many people visiting Vancouver, Stanley Park is one of the "must see" attractions. I visit the park frequently to do three of my favourite activities - walking, nature study and photography. All of the photographs in this article were taken by me.

Lord Stanley welcomes everyone to the park.
Lord Stanley welcomes everyone to the park. | Source

Lord Stanley

Stanley Park is named in honor of Frederick Arthur Stanley, the 16th Earl of Derby. He lived from 1841 to 1908 and was the Governor General of Canada from 1888 to 1893. (The Governor General is the Queen's representative in Canada.) Stanley Park was opened on September 27th,1888. Lord Stanley dedicated the park to the public.

Hockey's Stanley Cup was also named after Lord Stanley. It was originally given as an award for the winning amateur ice hockey club instead of the winning professional club as is done today. The Earl of Derby and his wife supported amateur hockey in Canada. Their sons and their daughters were enthusiastic ice hockey players. It was the Earl's children who persuaded him to buy a large cup as a prize for a hockey tournament.

A female mallard and her ducklings confidently resting on the ground beside Lost Lagoon.
A female mallard and her ducklings confidently resting on the ground beside Lost Lagoon. | Source
A glaucous-winged gull
A glaucous-winged gull | Source

Bird Watching in Stanley Park

Stanley Park is a great place for bird watchers. There are some birds that a visitor is almost guaranteed to see, while the discovery of others requires a bit more effort. Binoculars are very useful for making observations and a camera with a telephoto lens is helpful for taking photographs.

Many of the resident birds at Lost Lagoon can be easily observed without binoculars and their photos can be taken without a long telephoto lens. Lost Lagoon was once connected to Coal Harbour in Burrard Inlet. Now a causeway carrying traffic separates the two bodies of water, causing the lagoon to become "lost". The lagoon has become a freshwater lake.

At any time of year, a visitor to the Lagoon is very likely to see mallard ducks, glaucous-winged gulls, Canada geese, cackling geese, northwestern crows, rock doves (pigeons) and mute swans. In summer great blue herons are a frequent sight because they nest in the park. The mallard ducks and the geese are very confident around humans, even when they have youngsters to look after. The young mallards in the photo above have already learned that humans often have food to give them.

A visitor to Lost Lagoon will probably see other birds too. Their identity will depend on the time of day or year, as well as on good luck. There is a nature house beside the lagoon, which provides helpful information about the birds that live around the lagoon or visit the area.

A wide variety of other birds and wildlife can be seen in and around Stanley Park. In addition, captive animals can be seen at the Vancouver Aquarium. The aquarium has a large collection of fish as well as some invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, birds and marine mammals. The aquarium runs education and exploration sessions for schools and the general public. It's also a rescue organization for local marine mammals.

Lost Lagoon and Burrard Inlet in Vancouver

Birds and Other Animals in Stanley Park

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A female mallard duck with her ducklingsSleepy DucklingsOne duckling is separated from his or her brothers and sisters.A Canada GooseA Cackling GooseGoslingsA female mallardA male mallardA mature glaucous-winged gullAn immature glaucous-winged gullA Pacific great blue heronThis heron had found a good source of fish.A mute swanA make red-winged blackbirdA squirrel looking for a handout
A female mallard duck with her ducklings
A female mallard duck with her ducklings | Source
Sleepy Ducklings
Sleepy Ducklings
One duckling is separated from his or her brothers and sisters.
One duckling is separated from his or her brothers and sisters.
A Canada Goose
A Canada Goose
A Cackling Goose
A Cackling Goose
Goslings
Goslings
A female mallard
A female mallard
A male mallard
A male mallard
A mature glaucous-winged gull
A mature glaucous-winged gull
An immature glaucous-winged gull
An immature glaucous-winged gull
A Pacific great blue heron
A Pacific great blue heron
This heron had found a good source of fish.
This heron had found a good source of fish.
A mute swan
A mute swan
A make red-winged blackbird
A make red-winged blackbird
A squirrel looking for a handout
A squirrel looking for a handout
 A garden flower and an ant
A garden flower and an ant | Source

Gardens and Trees in Stanley Park

In addition to wild flowers, Stanley Park has many cultivated areas. The Stanley Park Rose Garden is a popular site for summer weddings. According to the City of Vancouver website, the garden was established in 1920 and has over 3,500 rose bushes. In addition to flower beds, it contains arbors that support climbing roses. The rose garden display is best between March and October. The roses don't bloom until June, however. In the earlier months flowering bulbs are the dominant plants.

Another attractive garden is the Ted and Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden, which was started in the 1960s. Ted and Mary Greig were keen rhododendron breeders. Rhododendrons and azaleas from their nursery formed the basis of the Stanley Park garden, which has 4,500 plants.

The Shakespeare garden has an interesting theme. It contains trees mentioned in William Shakespeare's plays and poems, as well as plaques that show the relevant quotes.

A flower bed
A flower bed | Source

The Stanley Park Windstorm

There is also a rock garden in Stanley Park. This garden was created in 1911 and has an interesting history. Although the garden was popular for a while, for some reason the forest was allowed to encroach on portions of the garden and reclaim the land. The knowledge of the original extent of the rock garden was forgotten as time passed.

In 2006 a severe windstorm passed through Stanley Park, damaging and destroying old and historic trees in the park and worrying conservationists. However, the storm actually had a benefit with respect to the rock garden. Trees that had covered parts of the garden were felled by the wind, revealing the remnants of the rock garden underneath and showing people its original extent. The garden has now been restored to its full size.

The 2006 windstorm was a very serious event in the history of Stanley Park. 41 hectares of trees were destroyed and the seawall was seriously damaged. A tremendous restoration effort was made, which went well, and a detailed management plan was created to improve the park's resiliency to bad weather conditions.

Flowers and Plants in Stanley Park

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A rhododendronAnother rhododendron flowerA view in a Stanley Park gardenAnother garden viewA bridge in Stanley ParkGarden flowersMore garden flowersPansiesMushrooms in Stanley ParkA habitat near the entrance of the park
A rhododendron
A rhododendron | Source
Another rhododendron flower
Another rhododendron flower
A view in a Stanley Park garden
A view in a Stanley Park garden
Another garden view
Another garden view
A bridge in Stanley Park
A bridge in Stanley Park
Garden flowers
Garden flowers
More garden flowers
More garden flowers
Pansies
Pansies
Mushrooms in Stanley Park
Mushrooms in Stanley Park
A habitat near the entrance of the park
A habitat near the entrance of the park

The Nine O'Clock Gun at Stanley Park

Totem Poles, Landmarks and Entertainment

The totem poles at Stanley Park and the accompanying Brocton Point Visitor Centre are on the itinerary of many tour buses. The visitor centre describes the history and culture of the Coast Salish people. The totem poles and other art around the centre were all created by First Nations artists. Some of the poles are painted in bright colours and a few have an uncoloured wood surface, but all are intricate and very interesting to observe and photograph.

Stanley Park contains a number of sculptures and monuments. One colourful sculpture is a replica of the Empress of Japan figurehead. The Empress of Japan was a ship that transported goods between Vancouver and Japan from 1891 to 1922. Another interesting structure is the nine o'clock gun. This is a canon which is loaded with a black powder every day and fires at 9:00 pm every night.

A fun way to travel around the park is in a horse-drawn carriage. Visitors can also travel in a miniature train, which takes travellers on a two-kilometre trail through the forest. At certain times of the year the route is decorated to create a theme ride, including a Christmas ride and a Halloween ride (the "Ghost Train").

Totem Poles

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Source

Some Other Interesting Sights in Stanley Park

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Exploring the park in a horse-drawn carriage is an enjoyable activity.Another view of a horse-drawn carriageAnother choice of horse-drawn carriageThe replica of the Empress of Japan figureheadA plaque under the figurehead replicaThe fountain in Lost Lagoon
Exploring the park in a horse-drawn carriage is an enjoyable activity.
Exploring the park in a horse-drawn carriage is an enjoyable activity. | Source
Another view of a horse-drawn carriage
Another view of a horse-drawn carriage
Another choice of horse-drawn carriage
Another choice of horse-drawn carriage
The replica of the Empress of Japan figurehead
The replica of the Empress of Japan figurehead
A plaque under the figurehead replica
A plaque under the figurehead replica
The fountain in Lost Lagoon
The fountain in Lost Lagoon

Cruise Ships at Canada Place

Stanley Park is located close to Canada Place, which is operated by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. Canada Place is an attractive tourist attraction which offers great photographIc opportunities. It's also the site where giant cruise ships dock in summer. These ships take tourists to Alaska. The close-up view of the ships while they are docked at Canada Place is very impressive.

There is a walking path that follows Burrard Inlet and connects Canada Place to Stanley Park and the seawall path. The path offers beautiful views of the Inlet, the marinas and Stanley Park in the near distance.

On my summer walks along the Stanley Park seawall, I often see a cruise ship which has left the port and has started its journey to Alaska. There is always something interesting to see and do at Stanley Park!

The float plane dock at Canada Place, with Stanley Park in the background
The float plane dock at Canada Place, with Stanley Park in the background | Source

Cruise Ships Going to Alaska

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The Saphire Princess, a Princess Cruises shipThe statue in the foreground is "Girl in a Wetsuit" by Elek Imredy. It's sometimes referred to as the little mermaid after the famous Copenhagen statue. The Zuiderdam, a Holland America ship
The Saphire Princess, a Princess Cruises ship
The Saphire Princess, a Princess Cruises ship | Source
The statue in the foreground is "Girl in a Wetsuit" by Elek Imredy. It's sometimes referred to as the little mermaid after the famous Copenhagen statue.
The statue in the foreground is "Girl in a Wetsuit" by Elek Imredy. It's sometimes referred to as the little mermaid after the famous Copenhagen statue.
The Zuiderdam, a Holland America ship
The Zuiderdam, a Holland America ship

© 2013 Linda Crampton

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Comments 26 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

I haven't been up there in a very long time, but it is a lovely park. Thanks for the tour my friend, and have a great week.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you for the comment, Bill. I hope that you have a great week, too!


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 3 years ago

I have been to this lovely park many years ago and I enjoyed my time there. The photos of flowers and ducks are so awesome !

The yellow flag flower looks so much like an orchid.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks, Ingenira. I appreciate your comment. Stanley Park is full of beautiful sights!


bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi Alicia. This brings back some great memories of our visit to Vancouver and Stanley Park many years ago. I remember well the totem poles, the beautiful gardens, the mermaid, and we did go to the aquarium. It really is a wonderful place. Thanks for bringing back some great memories. The photos are wonderful. Voted up, shared, etc...


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Bill. Thank you very much for the comment, the vote and the share. I'm glad to see that other people like Stanley Park, too!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

Wonderful hub Alicia! I just added a link from this hub to mine titled Visiting Stanley Park in Vancouver, Canada. Loved your photos! Voting this UUBI and pinning.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you so much for the comment, the link, the votes and the pin, Peggy! I appreciate them all. I will link to your hub too when I update this one. There are so many photos and descriptions that I could add!


Maren Morgan M-T profile image

Maren Morgan M-T 3 years ago from Pennsylvania

Loved the info on Lord Stanley and the First Nations totem poles -- and, OF COURSE, the photos!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much, Maren Morgan. Stanley Park is an interesting place to explore. It offers great opportunies for photography, too!


Sue Bailey profile image

Sue Bailey 3 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

Completely and utterly blown away by this! Definitely top of my agenda if ever I am in that part of the world. Voted up, interesting, awesome and beautiful. Am sharing and pinning this one. Marvellous!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you so much for the lovely comment, Sue! I appreciate the votes, the share and the pin very much. If you ever do make it to Vancouver, Stanley Park is definitely worth a visit!


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

This is, indeed, a lovely park, with so much to offer. perhaps I will be lucky enough to see it one day. I would love to get pictures of the birds that I don't have in this area. The Glaucus Gull was around this past winter, but I didn't see it. Perhaps next year! Thanks for the great tour guide, I really enjoyed myself on this.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks for the visit and the comment, Deb. I hope you are able to come to Stanley Park sometime. I'm sure that you would enjoy the park if you managed to make the trip!


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

What a great hub Alicia.

Enjoyed immensely and voted up.

Eddy.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you, Eddy. I appreciate your comment and vote!


Fossillady profile image

Fossillady 3 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

Hello Alicia, I greatly enjoyed the tour and a bit of interesting history about Stanely Park and Earl of Derby and the Stanley Cup. The mother duck with babies is adorable, great capture! Voted +


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Kathi. Thanks for the comment and the vote! I appreciate them both.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

Hi Alicia, that was a great tour of Stanley park, I often look at articles about Vancouver and think, If we had taken notice of my great aunt I would have been born there! they moved out in the early fifties I believe, and they wanted my mum and dad to go with them! Ah I wish! loved it, thanks!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks for the comment, Nell. I appreciate it. Fate is certainly strange at times!


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Birds, Flowers and Attractions in Stanley Park, Vancouver BC, a unique hub on this topic, and you do it so well, informing us on new information, in detail and with a great presentation of the video and the photos.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, DDE. I 'm glad that you enjoyed the hub and the photos.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida

Your photos added so much to your article. They made me get a real sense of what I could find their. That coupled with your descriptions made me sure I would enjoy coming there.

The adventures in nature would be all it would take for me to have a most pleasurable day.

Totem poles have always fascinated me...It is a gift to be able to create such structures.

Thanks for sharing Angels are on the way ps


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, pstraubie. Thank you for the lovely comment and the angels. I appreciate them both!


Elsie Hagley profile image

Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

Beautiful article, loved the flowers and that one with the ducklings all nestled together with their mom was priceless. Thanks for sharing brighten my day.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much, Elsie! The ducklings were definitely cute. I was amazed how confident they were, too.

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