Vancouver Tourist Information - Stanely Park
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Ever since Captain Vancouver first sailed into the Burrard Inlet in 1792, he had assumed Stanley Park was an island. The truth was, the massive site was part of the mainland, mushrooming out into the Burard Inlet. In 1865, Edward Stamp arrived in Burard Inlet to established a sawmill. He chose the Squamish settlement of Khwaykhway as its prime location. When the Squamish assured Stamp that his log booms would not survive the heavy tides in the First Narrows, his mill provided the motivation for the rise of the city of Vancouver. It owes much to this ambitious captain’s success but also to his failure.
As a result, the park was left alone due to the logging industry problem thus giving rise to what is known as Stanley Park.
Be sure to visit Lord Stanley Monument as you proceed through the magnificent grove of trees and hills. In 1889, Lord Stanley, the then Governor General of Canada, publicly dedicated the park ‘to the use of all colors, creeds, and customs for all time." The statue is commissioned by local donors from English sculptor Sydney March. It was unveiled in 1960.
As you wander down the slop from the monument, watch out for the celebrated statue of Robert Burns Monument. The statue of the famous Scottish poet was erected in the year 1928 by the Vancouver Burns Fellowship.
Turning left from the Lord Stanley Monument, you will find the beautiful and enchanting Rose Garden. Summer is the best season to visit as you will be assailed by a sensuous array of colors and smell. The garden holds a magnificent display of about 275 varieties of roses and more than 3,000 individual bushes.
If you walk along the Stanley Park Drive you will eventually arrive at the Lost Lagoon which is located at the park's southeast edge and is a good place to watch out for wildlife animals. In the year 1938, the lagoon was declared a wildlife sanctuary and the Parks Board began to scatter seeds to encourage birds.
If you wish to feed the birds, it is important that you get them proper wild bird seeds. Feeding birds human food (e.g. bread, cakes etc) can threatened the birds especially birds which are migrating as they require the complex energy of unprocessed food for the long distance flight.
The Miniature Train is the first Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) mini-replica engine which completed its inaugural Trans-Canada journey in 1886. This is an eight minute trip which takes passengers on a sylvan cruise through towering evergreens typical of the Pacific Northwest rainforest. The train operates all year long weather permitting.
If you are interested in putt golf then the park also has the Pitch 'n Putt Golf Course which is a great place to bring children along. You can always try the Children's Farmyard where an amazing variety of domesticated animals including many rare and endangered species, are free to roam and greet visitors if you're not into golf.
If you come during the months of May right through to September, there is a free operated shuttle service that runs from 9.30am to 6pm. It will pick you up at the entrance of the park and stops along various spots so you can get off and take pictures. If you are driving to the park, be aware that you will need to pay park.
Things to See and Do:
It took 60 long years of hard labor to construct the 10.5km (6.5 mile) seawall at the park. It began in 1917 and was headed by James Cunningham. Granite was cut on the beach with sledges and chisels and hauled in 46kg blocks up the wall. Cunningham foresaw the entire construction. He continued to supervise work on the wall until his death at the age of 85. Legend has it that Cunningham, undaunted by old age or retirement, would leave his bed and appear on the beach in his pajamas and topcoat.
Unfortunately, Cunningham died 17 years before the completion of his project. A plaque has been erected at the Siwash Rock in honor of his lifelong commitment.
TIP: If you wish to try the Seawall Walk it is a good idea to bring along comfortable shoes and a flask of water. In the summer, bring along a hat and sunscreen. If you go in winter, a warm jacket and pants should protect you against the cold breezes coming from the ocean. You might want to try renting a bike or rollerblades. Keep to the right if you are walking and to the left if you are cycling or rollerblading. Dogs should be leased.
You begin your seawall promenade at the Georgia Street entrance along Coal Habour, or you can try it at the Beach Avenue entrance from English Bay. Going from the Coal Habour you will see a building which is the Vancouver Rowing Club, a designated heritage building that promote sporting events such as rugby, cricket, field hockey and rowing.
Passing the Vancouver Rowing Club, you see the exclusive Royal Yacht Club which was established in the 1950's. This marina is but a part of the larger Royal Vancouver Yatch Club which includes a big marina and clubhouse at Jerico Beach.
In 1889, a plan was devised to recreate a west coast Native village at Brockton Point. The village never made it past the drawing board but several artifacts remained such as the Brockton Point Totems poles, a native war canoe, and the petroglyph rock remained. The Petroglyph Rock reflects the design carved into its surface for the past 500 years. It was found by a prospector digging for gold along the northern Fraser River in 1923.
As you walk further along, be sure to see a tiny figure sitting upon the rock. This is Vancouver's Girl in a Wetsuit, a reminiscent of Copenhagen's The Little Mermaid. This lovely statue complete in her wetsuit and looking over the city was created by Elek Imredy in 1970.
Not far from the statue is an impressive reproduction of the Empress of Japan Figurehead. In 1927, the original fire-breathing dragon from the CPR steamship, Empress of Japan was salvaged by J.W. Brown, a local newspaper editor. He then donated it to the Parks Board. It is now a tribute to the great steamships that crossed between the Canadian and Orient ocean.
Pass under the thunderous roar of traffic on the Lion's Gate Bridge and you are more than halfway around the Seawall. The park was partially destroyed to accommodate the huge steel support erected in 1937. Both bridges and causeway, now cuts through the silent heart of Stanley Park but you will probably not notice the noise as much.
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