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Stanley Park's Many Golden Treasures
Stanley Park in Vancouver
Stanley Park is a first growth forested area with cultured areas and several attractions that serve as a big draw for visitors.
Inspirational views of Stanely Park. Doesn't it want to make you visit?
Stanley Park is a sight not to be missed while in Vancouver BC
If you are visiting Vancouver, British Columbia, there is one must see on your to do list. You must visit the world renounced Stanley Park. Once you are there, you will find a multitude of things to do and see in a not to be missed adventure. Walk, don't run or drive to take it in most effectively. Aside from the three beaches that are located around the edge, there are other sights that you can take in and participate. These are;
The aquarium, now being renovated and expanded for a better 2011 season
The Rose and flower Gardens
Mini train and petting zoo
The Artist's Circle
The Seawall and its beautiful views.
Pathways through first growth natural forests
The Totem Poles
Lions Gate Bridge
As an orientation to the whole park, you should do a walkabout of the sea wall, which has its end points at English Bay Beach (or 1st Beach according to some guides) and Devonian Park. You can chose which way to go, but expect a walk of about 8 kilometres. If you chose English Bay as a start, then you will be heading toward the south side park entrance, where you can find lawn bowling, the tea house and a mini-golf course. Each of these can be an attraction on their own. A little further on toward 2nd Beach, you will find a large picnic area and a large fresh water pool at the sea side just west of the natural beach. The English bay side is also the best side for seeing the four annual fireworks displays typically held in the last two weeks of July.
The next stretch of the seawall winds, following the landscape until you reach 3rd Beach. Not as many people go there as it is fairly remote. For this reason it can be a good beach for a quiet time in the sun. Both 1st and 2nd beach have a refreshment concession, but that is not so for 3rd beach. Beyond 3rd beach the seawall winds toward the north to spectacular cliffs and rocks where you may see cormorants nesting. You will also get a magnificent view of English Bay from a distance, Spanish Banks on the far side to the south, Vancouver Island to the west and the mountains of North Vancouver. Looking to the park, it towers above on the cliffs.
As you walk along turning to the north and east, you will see the Lions Gate Bridge towering above. Keep going and you will find some of the paths that disappear into the wilds of the park once past the Lions Gate Bridge. There is a small beach and another path that you can take to the Aquarium and the Totem Pole park. Also, by taking various paths and following direction signs, you can find your way to Beaver Lake and or Lost Lagoon or Devonian Park. There is a tour center near the totem poles that can give you directions or offer rides on a horse drawn carriage. Now that we have an overview, let's look at a few details.
The Vancouver Aquarium hosts fish and sea life from around the world as well as whale and dolphin shows during the summer. The indoor aquarium is open year round, even during the rainy season. As it is being renovated, 2011 promises to be the best display yet.
A video tour of Stanley Park
Lost Lagoon is found at the entrance to Stanley Park close to the Georgia Street to North Vancouver causeway that goes through Stanley Park. Lost Lagoon is to the south and west of the causeway and Devonian Park is to the north and east. Devonian Park is a delightful cultivated area with a stone bridge arcing over a natural pond, has extensive grassy areas, some sculptures and some floral displays. To the north is a large boat and yacht marina. The seawall actually extends through it and continues right to Crab Park near Balentyne Pier several kilometres to the east. Lost Lagoon is a fairly large lake with a fountain in the middle. It is filled with fish, ducks, geese swans and turtles. If you are lucky, you may get to see a crane or blue heron close up. Lost Lagoon has a large population of racoons that are tame due to large numbers of people, too many of which feed the racoons against park rangers directives.
Beaver Lake can only be reached by footpath, either via the flower and rose gardens just north of the causeway and near the entrance to Stanley Park, or by taking a side paved road where horse drawn carriages are seen to be travelling. Beaver Lake is a completely natural shallow wetland with ducks, frogs and cranes. It is slowly disappearing into a grassland on the way to becoming part of the forest. A year of two ago, it was a sea of white, pink, yellow and red lotuses. Is it possible that BC's nickname, Lotus Land came from here? This is a quiet area, entirely suitable for meditation or doing art. Along the path around the perimeter depending on the season, are salmon berries, salal berries and mushrooms. On the way to Beaver Lake, you may want to take in the beautifully cultured gardens and rose garden. These are constantly being tended so that the whole area is in bloom over the entire late spring to early fall.
There is a mini train that takes you through a small part of the park. In the winter, the whole area is decorated with Christmas lights that can be a delight to see. Many of the attractions are close by in the same side of the causeway. These are the train as described, the totem pole park, the Aquarium and the artists circle. The totem pole park features several unique totems carved by First Nations people. The artists circle is best during the summer where local talent displays a wide variety of art. This is only a short walk from the guide center that you can take a horse carriage or a transit bus to from the city. Stanley Park must be seen to be experienced in its fullest and this will definitely take more than a day. In fact, to take in all of its features will require a minimum of a few days.