The Beautiful Burnaby Mountain Park in British Columbia

Burrard Inlet viewed from Burnaby Mountain Park
Burrard Inlet viewed from Burnaby Mountain Park | Source

A Beautiful Park and View

The park at the top of Burnaby Mountain offers wonderful views and enjoyable activities. It's part of the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area, which contains forest and trails in addition to the park. The area is a great place for nature lovers as well as for people who would like to explore the park, look at views of the ocean and Vancouver or eat in the Horizons Restaurant. It's a beautiful and interesting place to visit.

The mountain is a 1214 foot (370 metre) elevation in the southwestern part of British Columbia. It overlooks a coastal fjord called Burrard inlet as well as the cities of Burnaby and Vancouver. I often climb the mountain and nearly always have my camera with me. I've taken a lot of photographs of the area over the years, including the ones in this article.

Burnaby Mountain Park, Burrard Inlet and Indian Arm

A markerBurnaby Mountain Park -
Burnaby Mountain Park, 100-300 Centennial Way, Burnaby, BC V5A 2X9, Canada
[get directions]

Burrard Inlet travels eastwards from the Strait of Georgia. The inlet separates Vancouver and Burnaby from the North Shore Mountains and the communities at their base. Indian Arm extends northwards from the inlet. The city of Vancouver is located to the west of the area shown in the map above.

Roses in the Centennial Rose Garden in Burnaby Mountain Park
Roses in the Centennial Rose Garden in Burnaby Mountain Park

The City of Burnaby

Burnaby is Vancouver’s eastern neighbour and is part of the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD), which is also known as Metro Vancouver. The two cities are separated by Boundary Road. The buildings on one side of Boundary Road are in Burnaby while the buildings on the other side are in Vancouver.

Burnaby is named after Robert Burnaby, a nineteenth century civil servant, politician and explorer who was very active in Freemasonry in BC. He was born in England in 1828 and came to British Columbia in 1858. His name is used for several natural attractions in the city, including a mountain, a lake and two parks. Despite its city status and its urban and suburban sections, Burnaby still contains undeveloped areas of natural landscape. Many of these areas have become parks.

Exploring the Park

Park Attractions

Burnaby Mountain Park has a large area covered in grass as well as some scattered trees. Many people enjoy playing with a frisbee in the open area, having a picnic or simply sitting and looking at the view. Benches are available for people who don't want to sit on the grass and picnic tables are available by the rose garden. The park contains other cultivated plants in addition to roses. In spring, the cherry blossom is a lovely sight. The park is also notable for its rhododendrons.

The Horizons restaurant offers great views as well as a meal. Other popular attractions are the Playground of the Gods sculpture and the eco-sculptures of cranes. The park also contains a children’s playground, a concession stand and public washrooms at the back of the restaurant building. The cranes and the concession stand are present in summer but not in winter.

The park has a flat section for people who would like to take a gentle stroll while admiring the flowers, the sculptures and the view. Much of the park is built on a slope, however. The slope is very popular for tobogganing in winter, despite the warning signs about the safety of this activity. Due to its higher elevation, the top of Burnaby Mountain is often covered with snow while the bottom has none. Kite flying and paragliding are other popular activities on the slope.

Eco-sculptures of Tancho cranes
Eco-sculptures of Tancho cranes

The Centennial Rose Garden and Interesting Eco-Sculptures

The Centennial Rose Garden contains over 900 rose bushes and many different varieties of roses. It was planted in 1992 to celebrate Burnaby’s centennial. The garden contains benches so that people can sit and enjoy the beautiful and colourful flowers. It's a popular place for flower photography and for wedding photos. When there's a summer breeze, a beautiful fragrance often fills the garden.

In the summer the park has some lovely eco-sculptures. The frames of these sculptures are made of a metal mesh that is shaped to resemble an animal. The frames are filled with soil and covered with a porous landscaping fabric. Holes are made in the fabric and plants are then inserted into the holes. The plants create the appearance of feathers or fur.

Until recently, the eco-sculptures on the mountain depicted two eight-foot tall Tancho cranes. These have now been replaced with two sandhill crane sculptures. The Tancho cranes have been moved elsewhere. Eco-sculptures can be found in other parts of Burnaby besides the mountain. Their population is growing.

Sandhill cranes eco-sculptures on the mountain
Sandhill cranes eco-sculptures on the mountain

Flowers and Other Plants in the Park

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Roses of different coloursA lovely yellow roseI love the colour of these flowers.Roses in the parkThere are flowers in front of the Horizons Restaurant as well as behind it.A colourful lilyShrubs and trees in the park
Roses of different colours
Roses of different colours
A lovely yellow rose
A lovely yellow rose
I love the colour of these flowers.
I love the colour of these flowers.
Roses in the park
Roses in the park
There are flowers in front of the Horizons Restaurant as well as behind it.
There are flowers in front of the Horizons Restaurant as well as behind it.
A colourful lily
A colourful lily
Shrubs and trees in the park
Shrubs and trees in the park

Kamui Mintara (Playground of the Gods)

The carved poles of the Kamui Mintara sculpture are designed to connect Burnaby with Kushiro, its sister city in Japan. The poles were erected in 1990. In English the sculpture is known as the Playground of the Gods.

Nuburi Toko and his son Shusei created the sculpture. The sculptors belong to the Ainu culture. The Ainu were the first inhabitants of Japan. The sculpture depicts the descent of the gods to Earth to create the Ainu people. The totem poles show a variety of animals, including the owl, the bear, the whale and the raven. Some of the animals look across the Strait of Georgia and then past Vancouver Island to Japan.

Photos of the Playground of the Gods Sculpture

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The Playground of the GodsAnother view of the sculptureThe park in winterThe sculpture spreads over a large area.
The Playground of the Gods
The Playground of the Gods
Another view of the sculpture
Another view of the sculpture
The park in winter
The park in winter
The sculpture spreads over a large area.
The sculpture spreads over a large area.

Views From the Mountain

One side of Burnaby Mountain Park gives a westerly view of Burnaby, Vancouver and the Strait of Georgia. The strait is part of the Pacific Ocean and separates the lower mainland region of British Columbia from Vancouver Island. From another side of the park visitors get a northerly view and can see Burrard Inlet, Indian Arm and the North Shore Mountains.

Viewing the cities, neighbouring mountains and ocean from the mountain is a very enjoyable activity, as is watching the boats in Burrard Inlet and Indian Arm. Exploring the view while sitting on one of the park benches or sitting on the grass is fascinating. It really does give one the feeling of being on top of the world. A pair of binoculars can add to the fun, but I love the view even without using binoculars.

The Strait of Georgia is located between the mainland of British Columbia and Vancouver Island. Some of the animals in the Playground of the Gods sculpture look across the strait and Vancouver Island towards Japan.

An Ocean View

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Burrard Inlet and Indian ArmMountains and Indian ArmWater, trees and mountains are a beautiful combination.
Burrard Inlet and Indian Arm
Burrard Inlet and Indian Arm
Mountains and Indian Arm
Mountains and Indian Arm
Water, trees and mountains are a beautiful combination.
Water, trees and mountains are a beautiful combination.

A Network of Trails

A visit to the park can be extended by walking into the forest. Burnaby Mountain has an extensive network of trails for walkers, runners and mountain bikers. The trails travel through the park and forest on the top of the mountain and also up and down the mountain and around its base. In most places on the mountain - but not everywhere - the bike and the pedestrian trails are separate from one another. Another possible extension to a park visit is a short walk to Simon Fraser University, which is located at the top of the mountain but outside the conservation area.

The park and the trails that travel through the forest are good places to see wildlife as well as plants. Birds, squirrels and raccoons can be seen on the mountain. My favourite birds in the park are the pair of ravens that I often see there. I've also seen black-tailed deer and coyotes in the park. Sometimes black bears and cougars visit the area around the trails. These animals occasionally appear around the homes located next to the university, to the consternation of the residents.

The main entrance to the park
The main entrance to the park

The Trans-Canada Trail

One of the routes travelling up and over the mountain forms part of the Trans-Canada Trail. This will be the longest trail in the world when it’s complete. It will extend for 23,000 kilometres from the west coast of Canada to the east coast as well as up into the Arctic.

At the moment just over 18,000 kilometres of the trail has been completed, which is 80% of the final length. The gloal is to complete the trail by July 1st, 2017 (Canada Day), which will be Canada's 150th birthday.

Another view of the entrance
Another view of the entrance

Visiting Burnaby Mountain Park

The road that travels to Burnaby Mountain Park is called Centennial Way. A parking lot is located at the end of Centennial Way for people who would like to drive to the park. Some tour buses include the park in their itinerary. If someone is prepared for a steep uphill climb, they can cycle or walk up the mountain along the Trans-Canada Trail.

Buses go to Simon Fraser University, which is located near the park. The TransLink website has details about bus routes and prices. TransLink is the organization that runs the public transit system in the Vancouver and Burnaby area.

Visitors to Vancouver often go to famous areas such as Stanley Park, the downtown area and the beaches. They are sometimes unaware that just a short distance from the city is a lovely mountain park with spectacular views. It's definitely worth visiting this area.

© 2011 Linda Crampton

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Comments 12 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

You surely live in a gorgeous area! Had we spent more time than our 5 days in Vancouver on vacation years ago, we would have loved seeing Burnaby Mountain Park. Maybe someday I'll get back and if so, will add this to my wish list of things to see. Thanks! Up and beautiful votes!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the visit and the votes, Peggy. I'm very happy living where I do, since I have several lovely parks near my home, including Burnaby Mountain Park. Also, walking to the park or the trails on the mountain gives me and my dog a great workout!


frugalfamily profile image

frugalfamily 5 years ago from Houston, TX

Very nice review. Thank you for sharing the beauty!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you visiting my hub and for the comment, frugalfamily!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, what an amazing place to live! I am so jealous! one of these days I must visit, maybe then I might be able to track down my relatives at the same time! great hub, and lovely photos, thanks nell


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Nell. Yes, I'm lucky to be living where I do. I have all the benefits of living in a city, but I also have lovely parks and natural areas near my home. Thanks for the comment.


Chatkath profile image

Chatkath 5 years ago from California

Amazing! I am ready to take a trip and this is going to be on my itinerary Alicia- thank you for sharing!


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 5 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi AliciaC, sounds and looks like a very beautiful place to visit and enjoy a great hike and picnic lunch .

Vote up and beautiful !!!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you, Chatkath. I hope that you make it to Burnaby Mountain Park some time!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, kashmir56. Thank you for the votes!! Yes, the park is a beautiful place. I love walking up the mountain to get there - it's a great goal to work for as I hike uphill.


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 5 years ago

This was such a Wonderful read Alicia, so very Rich and Informative and of course Beautiful! It seems like a lot to see and do...very tempting...and Walking around, what could be better!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the lovely comment, b. Malin! Yes, walking can be a wonderful and very enjoyable way to discover and observe things.

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