One of the best things to do on a sunny day in Vancouver is spending some time in beautiful Stanley Park. 400 hectares of greenery and scenery await and you’d better rent a bike for the day and get exploring on two wheels or you won’t be able to see half of what it has to offer!
Bikes are easily rented on Denman Street near the entrance to the park. Prices range from 6 CAD per hour, to 16 CAD for 4 hours or 24 CAD for 8 hours. The bikes we rented were very comfortable light-weight mountain bikes and also came with helmets. Enter the park from Coal Harbour and take the cycling path along the seawall. It’s a beauty – you get to look onto the many boats in coal harbour on your right, the elegant high rises, the Burrard Inlet and of course many trees and greenery to your left!
In case you’re not into cycling, you could also walk around or rent rollerblades and zoom around the seawall. The cycling and walking paths run right next to each other. As you ride along the cycling path you’ll pass many an interesting spot or lookout point. The first one, after Coal Harbour, will probably be the Totem Poles with adjacent museum / gift shop. Definitely well worth a stop and great for informing yourself on Canada’s First Nations People!
About halfway around Stanley Park’s seawall you will reach Lionsgate Bridge, an impressive 2km suspension bridge linking Vancouver City with North and West Vancouver, across the Burrard Inlet. You’ll see quite a few ships in this passage as it forms the entrance to Vancouver’s port.
Once you have reached the northernmost tip of Stanley Park and cycle back towards the city along False Creek, you’re in for yet another treat. Look to your right and you’ll see Kitsilano, the young, hip and relaxed quarter with a fantastic beach. Or look straight ahead and look forward to arriving in English Bay, one of the most popular sunbathing beaches in Vancouver, and not just because of its easy accessibility from downtown Vancouver.
Naturally you don’t have to stay on the cycling and walking paths around the seawall. There’s plenty to explore in the depths of the park, like Beaver Lake and Hollow Tree or the Vancouver Aquarium. And of course a lot of feathery and furry friends along the way as well! Alternatively you could opt for a round of golf at Stanley Park Pitch & Putt.
At the end of your ride make sure you head towards where you started off, cycling away from the seawall, and you will find Lost Lagoon. Admittedly for most it will sound like a tropical paradise, which of course it is not, but it is certainly no less peaceful. Get of your bike and sit down on a bench by the lake and enjoy the sight of the fountain with the snowcapped mountains in the background!
Have you cycled in Stanley Park? What is your favourite urban park?