|We were told, "if you have only one afternoon to spend in Vancouver, go to Stanley Park. You can't go wrong. Stanley Park is the grand daddy of all parks in Greater Vancouver. Known around the world, it is a beautiful 1000 acre park that's almost smack dab in the middle of Vancouver". Sounded good to us.
We stopped at the first Information Booth inside the park and picked up a detailed map as well as advice about doing a loop around the park. We were told, "you can either drive, or if you're feeling energetic, walk. If speed is your thing, you can rent a bike or rollerblades at stores near Georgia and Denman Street. It's about six miles around (vehicular traffic flow is one way, and counter clockwise in direction). By circling the park you'll see many of the landmarks". We opted to drive! With numerous stops along the way of course. We paid $4 for an all-day parking pass good anywhere in the park. A pretty good deal.
We learned that Stanley Park was opened in 1888 by Lord Stanley of Preston, the Governor-General of Canada (and originator of hockey's famous Stanley Cup).
It is more than 10% larger than New York City's Central Park and almost half the size of London's Richmond Park. The park attracts an estimated eight million visitors every year. A 5 1/2 mile seawall path circles the park, which is used by pedestrians, cyclists, and inline skaters. Much of the park remains forested with an estimated half million trees that can be as tall as 250 ft and hundreds of years old. There are approximately 120 miles of trails and roads. An impressive place.
Our first stop was at the Yacht Club. Very nice. Moving on we checked out the totem poles, one of the bigger attractions for the park. We have seen many totem poles in Alaska in the past, but it was fun to see more of them. They tell quite a story if you take the time to read the plaques in front of each one. I took pics, if you care to learn a bit about them.
We got a good view of the Lion's Gate Bridge at Prospect Point. It's really tough to get a good picture while crossing it, so I was glad for this chance to take a better shot. Canada's version of the Golden Gate Bridge.
We stopped briefly at the aquarium but decided not to go inside. We did shop in the gift shop for a bit but nothing caught our eye. A stop at the Brockton Point Lighthouse, people watching at a couple of the beaches, several minutes with a couple of renegade raccoons, and that completed our visit here. A nice way to spend the afternoon.
We planned to travel downtown, find a place to park and walk around the city for a bit. Hah! We circled and circled but there is so much renovation and just plain activity going on in preparation for the Olympics in 2010, that we finally just gave up. We did spend over an hour just driving and looking, but traffic was getting worse and frankly, all of the one way streets, hampered with construction was tiring. We agreed to head home earlier than planned and have dinner there instead of eating out. A good decision as we were able to miss most of the heavy, late day traffic.
We are moving closer to Surrey in the morning as our spot here is taken for the long Thanksgiving weekend. Which works out well for us as it is only 20 minutes from Sal & Jackie's home, where we will be spending a couple of days visiting with them and the kids. I believe I mentioned earlier that Larry, Tawnia and Miss Jasmine are flying in to celebrate Canada's Thanksgiving. They arrive Friday evening.
We are going to the Capilano Suspension Bridge on Friday morning and we understand it is pretty spectacular. So we'll see you there!