Stanley Park | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Stanley Park

Vancouver, Canada

Luke Tomes

05 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Stanley Park

Stanley Park is a public park that borders the downtown of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. It is Canada’s most-famous and Vancouver’s largest park, strecthing 4.05 square kilometers (405 hectares).

Stanley Park history

Stanley Park was originally home to the Musqueam, Squamish, and Burrard First Nations. It was once the location of a large village called Whoi Whoi, or Xwayxway, roughly meaning place of masks. Longhouses built in this village were occupied by large extended families. These buildings were used for ceremonial potlatchs where a host would invite guests to witness and participate in ceremonies and the giving away of property.

George Vancouver explored the peninsula during the Vancouver Expedition in 1792, nevertheless the area only started to see significant activity after the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush in 1858. By 1860, many nonaboriginal, European settlers had started building homes on the peninsula.

In 1886, Vancouver’s City Council voted to petition the dominion government to lease the military reserve for use as a park and on the 27 September 1888, the park opened to the public and was named after Canada’s Governor General at the time, Lord Frederick Stanley.

The park was essentially Vancouver’s first public ‘green space’, home to the Vancouver Rowing Club which built its clubhouse along Stanley Park seawall in 1911.

Stanley Park today

To this day, Stanley Park remains North America’s third largest urban park – it’s deep, natural forest has led to it’s popular nickname “urban oasis”.

There are so many attractions and things to do when you arrive at the park. Cyclists can enjoy the most beautiful and enjoyable routes around the park, passing all three beaches located on the western seawall and the Lost Lagoon located at the southern tip of the park.

Organised tours of the park are available and visitors have the option to explore the landscape on the famous Stanley Park Train, travelling on the 20 gauge, 2 km track winds through the forest over ground cleared by Typhoon Freda, the most devastating storm in Vancouver history which blew through in 1962.

There are tennis courts, pitch and putt areas along with mutliple picnic areas and marvellous restaurants for vistors to dine – all to enjoy against a spectacular backdrop of ocean, mountains and forest.

Getting to Stanley Park

It’s easy to get to Stanley Park, which is just minutes from downtown in Vancouver’s West End. If you are travelling by car, you can access the park from the main entrance at the west end of Georgia Street, west of downtown Vancouver. Alternatively, depending on your planned destination, you can enter the park from the English Bay side via Beach Avenue.

Visitors travelling by car might consider buying a daily parking pass. A daily parking pass lets you move your car and park at any location within Stanley Park.

Pedestrians and cyclists can take advantage of a number of routes linking the peninsula of Stanley Park to downtown Vancouver and beyond.

Access the west side of the park off English Bay along the Seawall, using the Seaside Bike Route. If you are cycling, make your way to Second Beach and the interior of the park. Those on foot can continue walking around the park on the Seawall.

Or access the park from the Georgia Street entrance, which connects to major transportation links like the SeaBus and Skytrain via the Coal Harbour Route portion of the Seawall.

TransLink’s number 19 bus will get you in to Stanley Park, stopping at Stanley Park Drive and Pipeline Road near Lost Lagoon and Stanley Park Loop near the Miniature Train, which is a short walk from the Vancouver Aquarium.

 

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