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Falling in Love With Stanley Park in Vancouver, Canada
Don't Feed the Raccoons
A Love Affair Inspires a Permanent Relocation
If you have ever been to Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada, chances are you have heard of Stanley Park. It is a very old park with majestic trees some of which are 2,000 years old, indeed, these trees could be standing here long before Jesus Christ was born. Stanley Park used to be the official residence of the original Indian tribes of North America but not until the British in Canada christened it after Lord Stanley.
I have been to many parks around the world, but so far I have only managed to fall in love with one of them. It is the reason why I decided to reside permanently in Vancouver. Stanley Park is big enough to be a city in its own right. It's easy to get lost in it. Although I could be here daily in summer, I still cannot boast that I would never lose my way in it, especially at dusk.
Like Little Red Ridinghood, Stanley Park still has the ability to frighten me after all these years. I would never dream of crossing it at night, not even if I have to visit a grandmother who is sick. I know for a fact that a big fat raccoon, for one, lurks nearby and could lunge at me at every opportunity, hungry family in tow. There is adequate warning at the park about the dangers that feeding the raccoons pose to passersby, still, many people have been bitten by these seemingly harmless creatures in these parts. I am not surprised; once, I was just resting on one of the park benches after a long walk and before I knew it, there they were reaching for my bag.
Don't let them masked creatures deter you from visiting Vancouver's Stanley Park, though, there is so much this park has to offer aside from the majestic trees and abundance of wildlife. There are simply so many views to die for which is unique to this place. Add to that the incredible fish and chips meal at the Lumberman's Arch. Trust me, it is a meal worth taking even with the threat of crows and seagulls hovering above your head. Indeed, Stanley Park is as natural as the strawberry smoothie served in this area.
I feel so lucky to live so close to Vancouver's magnificent park, so close it is practically my backyard. Other locals like me use it to keep healthy by walking, running, biking, skateboarding or rollerblading along a seawall that took half a century to complete. The park boasts of three beaches teeming with people on a hot summer day. Sometimes I feel a shared guilt for the aboriginal tribes that might have been displaced by this paradise's conversion into a park many years ago, but the proud totem poles nearby do help alleviate the pain. I hope that such carved wood monuments would appease the spirits of the dead ancestors for now, still white early traders and travelers the likes of Captain George Vancouver also have a stake on this park; and now that includes me, too.