Its just gone 6am, the sun is shining and I’m already out and about in the beautiful city of Vancouver. As it’s such a lovely day I decide to head down to the waterfront and take a slow walk along to Stanley Park.
As you’d expect at 6 o’clock on a Sunday morning the streets of Vancouver were quiet with the exception of a few joggers and some people like me just enjoying being out. I started my walk at Canada Place, it’s the home of the Vancouver Convention Centre, the Pan Pacific Hotel and the Vancouver Cruise Ship Terminal. As I arrived two large cruise ships were docking just back from their Alaskan adventures, it was quite something watching them dock.
The Seaplane terminal is just a little further along the waterfront with its jetties filled with planes bobbing around on the water just waiting to take their passengers across to Victoria, Whistler and the Southern Gulf Islands. It’s worth stopping for a few minutes as you’ll usually see one or two of the planes taking off or landing.
The scenery along the sea wall is quite spectacular with the city of Vancouver behind you with its towering buildings and the forest covered mountains rising gently out of the water in the distance.
There are lots of marinas along the way filled with luxury yachts and some quirky house boats.
Eventually I find myself in Stanley Park, one of the largest parks in North America. There are some great views of downtown Vancouver and the city skyline from the park’s seawall.
The park is vast and much too big for me to see in a few hours so I decided to pick a couple of things to do and leave the rest for another visit.
First off I went to the Rock Garden which was started in 1911 by master gardener John Montgomery from boulders excavated for the construction of the new Stanley Park Pavilion, the Rock Garden was the first public garden in Vancouver.
The park is filled with remote pathways that go on for miles bordered by some massive trees that make you feel a million miles away from the busy city.
The Stanley Park sea wall offers some incredible views of English Bay with its stunning mountainous backdrop.
My next stop in the park was the First nations art and totem poles area. The nine totem poles at Brockton Point are British Colombia’s most visited tourist attraction. None of the totem poles are original – they’ve gone to museums for preservation – but the replacements are quite a sight and well worth visiting.
Brockton Point is also home to the Brockton Point Lighthouse, named after Francis Brockton and built over 100 years ago it is the most easterly part of Stanley Park.
Back on the sea wall and I come across the figurehead from the ship the Empress of Japan. The ship was originally an ocean liner built in England for Canadian Pacific Steamships and regularly sailed the trans Pacific route between the west coast of Canada and the far east. When the ship was scrapped the figurehead was salvaged and placed on display in the park, it was replaced with a replica in 1960 as the original began to deteriorate.
Also along this part of the sea wall is the life sized bronze sculpture by Elek Imredy called “Girl in a Wetsuit”. It’s located on a rock in the water and depicts a friend of Imredy’s, Debra Harrington, in a wetsuit with flippers on her feet and a mask on her forehead.
I got back to my hotel at just before midday feeling tired but very satisfied at the walk I’d just done, I’m not sure how many miles I’d covered but my feet told me it must have been quite a few. Vancouver’s a beautiful city and somewhere that I hope I can spend some more time exploring soon.