Stanley Park in Vancouver

Wednesday, 21 June 2017 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks
Reading Time:  7 minutes

Vancouver Rowing Club © Daderot

Vancouver Rowing Club © Daderot

Stanley Park is a 405-hectare (1,001-acre) public park that borders the downtown of Vancouver in Canada and is almost entirely surrounded by waters of Vancouver Harbour and English Bay. The park has a long history and was one of the first areas to be explored in the city. The land was originally used by indigenous peoples for thousands of years before British Columbia was colonized by the British during the 1858 Fraser Canyon Gold Rush. For many years after colonization, the future park with its abundant resources would also be home to nonaboriginal settlers. The land was later turned into Vancouver’s first park when the city incorporated in 1886. It was named after Lord Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby, a British politician who had recently been appointed governor general. Unlike other large urban parks, Stanley Park is not the creation of a landscape architect, but rather the evolution of a forest and urban space over many years. Most of the manmade structures we see today were built between 1911 and 1937 under the influence of then superintendent W.S. Rawlings. Additional attractions, such as a polar bear exhibit, aquarium, and miniature train, were added in the post-war period.

Much of the park remains as densely forested as it was in the late 1800s, with about a half million trees, some of which stand as tall as 76 metres (249 ft) and are up to hundreds of years old. Thousands of trees were lost (and many replanted) after three major windstorms that took place in the past 100 years, the last in 2006. Significant effort was put into constructing the near-century-old Vancouver Seawall, which can draw thousands of residents and visitors to the park every day. The park also features forest trails, beaches, lakes, children’s play areas, and the Vancouver Aquarium, among many other attractions.

The forest continues to give the park a more natural character than most other urban parks, leading many to call it an urban oasis. It consists of primarily second and third growth and contains many tall Douglas fir, western red cedar, western hemlock, and Sitka spruce trees. Since 1992, the tallest trees have been topped and pruned by park staff for safety reasons. A large variety of animals live in the park. There are 200 bird species alone, including many water birds. A large great blue heron colony moved into the park in 2001 and has grown to now about 170 active nests. Mammals include a large raccoon population, coyotes, skunks, beavers, rabbits descended from discarded pets, and a thriving grey squirrel population (descended from eight pairs acquired from New York‘s Central Park in 1909). However, there is a complete absence of large mammals including deer, elk, bear, wolves, cougars, and bobcats. Stanley Park also has many manmade attractions. Recreational facilities are especially abundant in the park, having long coexisted, albeit uneasily, with the aesthetic and more natural park features preferred by those looking to the park as an enclave of nature in the city. While it’s not the largest of its kind, Stanley Park is more than 10% larger than New York City’s 340-hectare (840-acre) Central Park and almost half the size of London‘s 960-hectare (2,360-acre) Richmond Park.

Stanley Park Promenade © Chris Vlachos/cc-by-3.0 Stanley Park © Panida3744/cc-by-sa-3.0 © flickr.com - SqueakyMarmot/cc-by-2.0 Totem Poles © Another Believer/cc-by-sa-3.0 Stanley Park and the cruise ship Amsterdam under Lions Gate Bridge © buzzard525/cc-by-3.0 Frederick Stanley statue in Stanley Park © Bobanny Cricket match in Stanley Park © flickr.com - Duncan Rawlinson/cc-by-2.0 Vancouver Rowing Club © Daderot
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Stanley Park and the cruise ship Amsterdam under Lions Gate Bridge © buzzard525/cc-by-3.0
The park was designated a National Historic Site of Canada by the federal government in 1988. It was deemed significant because the relationship between its “natural environmental and its cultural elements developed over time” and because “it epitomizes the large urban park in Canada.”

The Vancouver Seawall is popular for walking, running, cycling, inline skating, and even fishing (with a licence). There are two paths, one for skaters and cyclists and the other for pedestrians. The lane for cyclists and skaters goes one-way in a counterclockwise loop. Walking the entire loop around Stanley Park takes 2 to 3 hours, while biking it takes about 1 hour.

A rideable miniature railway with different seasonal themes is a Vancouver tradition, especially for families with young children. The original railway, started in 1947, featured a child-sized train. The current adult-sized railroad opened in 1964 in an area leveled by Typhoon Freda. The engine is a replica of the first transcontinental passenger train to arrive in Vancouver in the 1880s.

Beaver Lake is a restful space nestled among the trees. The lake is almost completely covered with water lilies (introduced for the Queen’s Jubilee in 1938) and home to beavers, fish, and water birds. As of 1997, its surface area was just short of 4 hectares (10 acres), but the lake is slowly shrinking in size. One of Vancouver’s few remaining free-flowing streams, Beaver Creek, joins Beaver Lake to the Pacific Ocean and is one of two streams in Vancouver where salmon still return to spawn each year.

Lost Lagoon, the captive 17-hectare (41-acre) freshwater lake near the Georgia Street entrance to the park, is a nesting ground to many bird species, including swans, Canada geese, and ducks.

The oldest manmade landmark in the park is an 1816 naval cannon located near Brockton Point. The 9 O’Clock Gun, as it is known today, was fired for the first time in 1898, a tradition that has continued for more than 100 years. The cannon was originally detonated with a stick of dynamite, but is now activated automatically with an electronic trigger.

Stanley Park also has playgrounds, sandy beaches, gardens, tennis courts, an 18-hole pitch and putt golf course, a seaside swimming pool, a water spray park, and Brockton Oval, which is used for track sports, rugby, and cricket. In summer, there is an outdoor theatre Malkin Bowl, which features events by Theatre Under the Stars and Live Nation (with their Concerts in the Park series).

Read more on vancouver.ca – Stanley Park, DestinationVancouver.com – Stanley Park, The Teahouse in Stanley Park, KanadaVisum.com and Wikipedia Stanley Park (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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