Friday, 7 October 2016

Exploring Vancouver’s Stanley Park on foot, bicycle and horse drawn carriage

by Keith and Heather Nicol
The seawall is an scenic place to walk
         Vancouver’s Stanley Park is one of the world’s great urban parks.  It is larger than Central Park in New York and Hyde Park in London, England. The 400 hectare park sits on its own peninsula surrounded in large part by the ocean.  One of Stanley Park’s biggest attractions is it’s 9 km seawall trail which winds around the perimeter of the park. The seawall has one lane for bicycles and in line skaters and another for runners and walkers. We started out on Monday, October 3 renting a tandem bike from Bayshore Bike Rentals which is located near the park entrance at 705 Denman Street. We were given a map of the park and told by the manager Barry Potts that if we had a flat tire or any other issues with the bike then just phone them and they would get another bike to us. “The easiest way to get to the park is to head to the side street and follow the bike lanes to the underpass. This will keep you out of the main traffic areas on Georgia Street” he told us. I took us about 90 minutes to do the 9 km loop since we stopped several times for pictures of Vancouver’s busy harbour, the Lion’s Gate Bridge and iconic Siwash Rock. The convention is to ride in a counter clockwise fashion around the park which is important since the trail is narrow with blind corners in some areas.  Bayshore Bike Rentals rents a variety of bicycles and they can be contacted:
Cycling past Siwash Rock

After returning our bicycle we decided to check out the horse drawn carriage tours which we had seen on our bike ride. We walked along the seawall to the start of the tour which is just past the Vancouver Rowing Club. Each carriage holds 26 people and we were even supplied with blankets to keep you warm on the cooler days of fall. The narrated tour lasts for 1 hour and our guide was very knowledgeable about the sites and scenes that we saw along the way. She pointed out Discovery Island which was once a first nations burial ground and she even recognized well known B.C. businessman’s Jim Pattison’s huge yacht as it cruised past us in Burrard Inlet. We had one stop to see several  totem poles and we enjoyed seeing the tall trees that make up much of the central part of Stanley Park.  The route also passed by park’s famous rose gardens. For more information see: 

The horse drawn carriage tours are another way to see Stanley Park


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