Discovering Vancouver: Coal Harbour waterfront walkway

The things you can explore in a leisurely stroll along downtown Vancouver’s waterfront: history, culture, art, nature and all sorts of oddities! Make sure you don’t miss Coal Harbour’s waterfront walkway.

My last Vancouver post focussed on First Nations art and history in Stanley Park. Today, let’s explore another treat of downtown Vancouver: the waterfront walkway leading from Canada Place to Stanley Park through the neighbourhood of Coal Harbour.

The blue drop, Vancouver, Canada

The blue drop, Vancouver, Canada

Downtown Vancouver is easily explored by foot, but you may also opt for renting bikes as there are excellent cycle routes in town, and especially through the most scenic spots. Start your Coal Harbour walk at Canada Place; this is where conventions are hosted, and it’s a perfect spot for watching some pretty huge cruise ships arrive.

Canada Place, Vancouver, Canada

Canada Place, Vancouver, Canada

As you walk on from Canada Place, you’ll find lots of interpretive panels along the walkway, explaining Vancouver’s maritime history, from ships to settlers to environmental issues. As you approach the waterfront you get your first glimpse of North Vancouver and the mountains.

Coal Harbour waterfront walkway

Coal Harbour waterfront walkway

Coal Harbour is a prime real estate location. The area used to be industrial, but in the 1990s the City of Vancouver started to transform it into a residential neighbourhood with parks and recreational facilities. Who wouldn’t want to live in one of these stylish new high rises overlooking Stanley Park, the marina, Burrard Inlet and North Vancouver?

Coal Harbour highrises

Coal Harbour highrises

You’ll spot quite a few sea planes taking off from Vancouver’s Coal Harbour sea airport. Planes fly to quite a few destinations on Vancouver Island and to Whistler, just to mention a few. You can even take scenic “flightseeing” tours!

Sea planes in Coal Harbour, Stanley Park in the background

Sea planes in Coal Harbour, Stanley Park in the background

Further along the route you’ll come across boats of all sorts – rather flashy big yachts, smaller speed boats and also the odd little house boats:

Quaint little boats in Coal Harbour

Quaint little boats in Coal Harbour

There are further oddities along the way, such as the House on Stilts:

House on Stilts, Coal Harbour, Vancouver

House on Stilts, Coal Harbour, Vancouver

And once you’re at the end of the route, either head on to Stanley Park for some nature exploration or go on over to nearby Denman and Robson Streets to treat yourself to some shopping, or sit down for a nice coffee in one of the many cafes and eateries!

What’s your favourite walking route in downtown Vancouver?

Christina Hegele

About the author: Christina Hegele runs Sandal Road, a blog on her favourite destinations. It just so happened that 95% turned out to be about New Zealand. Follow Christina and her blog on Twitter, like her blog on Facebook, and subscribe to her Youtube channel. Alternatively, subscribe to her email newsletter at the top right of this blog.

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  15 comments for “Discovering Vancouver: Coal Harbour waterfront walkway

  1. 9 May, 2011 at 10:03

    looks like it would be a great place to get some exercise and see some sights at the same time. excited to visit for tbex! πŸ™‚

    • Christina
      9 May, 2011 at 18:52

      Absolutely, you’ll see lots of people running, cycling and rollerblading along the way!

  2. 9 May, 2011 at 17:54

    I will definitely check this out in Vancouver. I love walking in the cities and exploring whenever I travel!

    • Christina
      9 May, 2011 at 18:55

      You won’t regret it, Jeremy! Downtown Vancouver is totally walkable, and there’s so much to see! Beaches, boats, parks, architecture… it’s easy to fall in love with Vancouver.

  3. 9 May, 2011 at 18:55

    I always head to Coal Habour when I’m in Vancouver and my favorite part are the little house boats. I agree, definitely a must do when in Vancouver.

    • Christina
      9 May, 2011 at 18:58

      Those house boats were so cute. That grey one in particular – the architect took it very literal πŸ™‚

  4. 25 May, 2011 at 23:04

    We just returned from Vancouver and this was definitely one of our favorite areas. You can catch a free shuttle right in front of the convention center for Grouse Mountain and there’s also a food court right across the street. If you want a bus tour, the hop-on, hop-off buses also stop here and you can get a quick and complete tour of the city to help you decide what you want to see first!

    • Christina
      25 May, 2011 at 23:50

      Hi Jan, glad you enjoyed Vancouver, and Coal Harbour in particular! Thanks also for your tips! Tourism Vancouver is also in that neighbourhood and well worth a visit – so helpful and very passionate about their city!

  5. 6 June, 2011 at 05:50

    Reading up on Vancouver for TBEX and I definitely want to find time to do this walk. We are staying in this area, so it should be pretty easy. Are you heading to TBEX?

  6. 12 July, 2011 at 07:06

    found this from the my 7 links post. love the photos, especially the house on stilts one! nothing like a few cafes to just complete the feel of a place either. i think id love it there.

    • Christina
      12 July, 2011 at 12:08

      Yep, the Economist loves it too, that’s why they make it #1 most livable city in the world 5 times in a row. It’s a pricey place to live, for sure, but it is stunning.

  7. 13 September, 2011 at 18:24

    Various photos like yours from my “Geburtsstadt” (birth city) always give me a familiar ache for the hometown. Great photos from the waterfront, Christina!

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