The largest and best-known park in Vancouver is Stanley Park. If you’ve been to Vancouver, chances are you’ve driven through Stanley Park at some point during your visit.
If you’re one of the people who make it a point to visit this beautiful place every year, then you might also be interested in knowing why this is the largest and most famous park in Vancouver.
History of Stanley Park
Stanley Park actually has quite a dismal history.
It was previously the territory of the Coast Salish First Nations of Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil Waututh. It was one of the largest indigenous settlements in the Lower Mainland.
In 1886, the Vancouver City Council asked the Canadian government for permission to use the space as a public park, which was granted a year later. In 1887, city workers started to demolish the structures and evicted the residents to make way for the first Park Road.
Despite all this, the residents remained in Stanley Park until the Park Board eventually won a case against them in the 1920s. Evictions soon began afterward in the 1930s.
However, the Park Board permitted Tim and Agnes Cummings to remain in their home in Stanley Park until their deaths in the 1950s.
Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Park Board undertook multiple projects and renovations to construct facilities and other park features to improve the park’s recreational activities.
These enhancements included a zoo, pathways, beaches, open spaces for outdoor sports, and many other features.
Perhaps the most well-known infrastructure in Stanley Park is the SeaWall. This 8.8-kilometer project began in 1914, took over a half-century to finish, and was finally completed in 1971.
Today, Stanley Park is home to some of British Columbia’s most popular tourist attractions, including the Vancouver Aquarium and the Brockton Point Totem Poles, among others.
What To Do in Stanley Park
Enjoy the View at Prospect Point
Stanley Park’s Prospect Point is the area’s highest point. It offers one of the best views of the North Shore mountains, Burrard Inlet, and the famous Lions Gate Bridge.
The walk through Stanley Park to get to Prospect Point is peaceful and picturesque, with views of old cedar trees. Boats can also be seen entering and exiting the Burrard Inlet.
We highly recommend visiting late in the afternoon to enjoy spectacular sunset views over the water while admiring the natural and urban beauty of the park’s surroundings.
Lastly, there’s no better way to cool down in Prospect Point during the summer than to visit one of the city’s best ice cream parlors.
A visit to Prospect Point would be incomplete without sampling Rocky Point Ice Cream. This ice cream is handcrafted with locally sourced ingredients and comes in various flavors, including Salted Caramel, Maple Walnut, Cookies and Cream, and many more.
Check out the Brockton Point Totem Poles
The Brockton Point Totem Poles are located in the northeast corner of Stanley Park. It’s close to Brockton Oval and has a view of the SeaWall and the ocean where you can see where the boats set off.
They’re nicely positioned on one side in the long grass, surrounded by lush greens and a backdrop of tall trees. These poles help visitors in understanding the significance and history of First Nations cultures from across British Columbia.
There are nine totems in total, each with its own story. They are from various Aboriginal Nations and exhibit various forms and cultural histories.
The First Nations art area also has gift shops where tourists can browse and purchase souvenirs such as sculptures, pendants, baskets, and other items.
Visit the Vancouver Aquarium
The Vancouver Aquarium is Canada’s largest aquarium, housing thousands of marine animals. This aquarium first opened its doors in 1956 and now has over 200 locations worldwide.
Most of their exhibits feature a diverse range of amphibians, reptiles, caecilians, and adorable African penguins. We recommend stopping by the Wet Lab at Vancouver Aquarium for hands-on experience identifying local marine animals.
This particular facility is open to the public when students are not present. The most common marine invertebrates you will likely encounter here include crabs, sea anemones, jellies, and sea stars, among others.
Once you’re done exploring the diverse marine life in Vancouver Aquarium, you can stop by Courtyard Café & Coffee Bar before you call it a day.
Play Golf at the Stanley Park Pitch and Putt Golf Course
The Pitch and Putt Golf Course is one of the many recreational activities available in Stanley Park.
This public golf course, surrounded by tall trees and a rhododendron garden, has over 18 holes and 54 golf courses.
If you enjoy gardens or nature in general, you’ll appreciate this golf course’s sculpted fairways and vibrant greens and its stunning location along English Bay.
A fun 18-hole putting green for all ages is also close to the pitch and putt course. Pitch and Putt Golf Course is ideal for all skill levels, so you don’t have to worry about being new to the activity.
Dine at Stanley Park
Stanley Park opens at 9:00 a.m., and you can start your day with breakfast, as most breakfast places in Stanley Park open around the same time.
Café Portrait is one of the best places to get breakfast. This quaint cafe has an artsy vibe and serves classic breakfast items and premium Turkish coffees.
It’s also an ideal coffee shop for those who prefer organic coffee as they also serve Aggro Roasters coffee.
For those looking to grab a beer, drop by the Brewing Restaurant and Brewery, located at the Beach Avenue entrance of Stanley Park.
This restaurant is near the Pitch and Putt Golf Course and has some of the best recreational trails and views. Their specialty is craft beer, which they brew in their own brewery. Snacks, appetizers, pizza, burgers, and desserts are also available.
Stanley Park is a popular spot for many people and is absolutely worthy of its fame. There are many different things to see and do on the park grounds; it’s almost like visiting the parks of several cities in one.
The park is a classic feature of Vancouver that adds a lot to the city’s natural beauty and offers activities for everyone to enjoy.
If you’re looking for more things to do in Vancouver, we recommend reading our articles on the best things to do in Vancouver.