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Tuesday 6 August 2013

A day in Vancouver's Stanley Park

Stanley Park in Vancouver is gigantic.

This wooded piece of land at the end of Downtown Vancouver is roughly 400 hectares. That's pretty much equal to the size of our very own Golden Gate Park here in San Francisco and approximately 10% larger than New York's Central Park.

Our hotel in Vancouver was located close to the entrance of Stanley Park so it was the logical place to visit on our first day in this beautiful city. We had planned to just spend the morning going for a short walk in Stanley Park before heading on to another location. Quite a few hours and 10kms later we found ourselves walking the entire length of the seawall around Stanley Park. Ava was pretty proud of the fact that she walked the entire way. No mean feat for a six year old.

Vancouver Rowing Club at the start of our walk 

Along our walk around Stanley Park we took in the beautiful views over the city and stopped at various landmarks and attractions.

Enjoying the sun

Downtown Vancouver from Stanley Park

Enjoying being out in the sun

Our first stop was the famous totem poles at Brockton Point. I'd been excited to see the totem poles. I'd never seen any before (other than in pictures) and there's just something magical and other worldly about them. Of course, there's also the opportunity to take incredibly kitsch family photos with the totem poles and you know I'm all about the kitsch photo!

Ava and Lola make their own totem pole

My favourite

Close up

If only Kim was a little taller

Totem poles

Lola loved the totem poles

From the totem poles we continued around the sea wall taking in the views along the coast.

Little lighthouse and flags

The girls enjoyed balancing along the edge of the seawall

On the seawall

Ava enjoyed looking at the various ships and boats in the harbour

Give us a kiss!

Along the way we found a few trees that just cried out to be climbed.

"I'm the grumpy old troll who lives under the bridge..."

Lola climbs up too


Perfect seat...

...or hammock!

The girls' favourite place in Stanley Park was the water park. I wasn't aware that there was a fantastic water park in Stanley Park so I wasn't prepared with swimsuits and towels for the girls. Luckily I had plenty of spare pairs of underpants on hand for Lola so the girls were able to splash about in their underwear and change into something dry afterwards. Good thing Ava has a small bottom! The water park features a walk through dryer where warm air blasts you dry which was helpful - and fun! That said, it was such a warm sunny day I think the girls would've dried off pretty quickly on their own.

Fun in the sun

Lola spent a lot of time trying to avoid the water!

Ava had fun blasting the other kids!

Just going for a stroll

It's the same height as me

Walking on water

We stopped for a little lunch next to the aquarium, which we came back to visit the following day. The seagulls in Stanley Park are quite fearless and we spent much time trying to shoo them away from our picnic table. Twice one seagull (or maybe it was two different seagulls) swooped down over our table and picked up Ava's hotdog! Both times the hotdog was dropped next to the table but I figure that once food has been in a seagulls beak it's not really food anymore!

After our lunch break Lola fell asleep and we continued our walk. Up until this point Lola had walked the whole way, mostly balancing along the seawall. Pretty good effort for a two year old. With Lola asleep in the stroller we could pick up the pace a little. Walking at the pace of a two year old balancing along the seawall isn't the fastest way to get around!

Approaching Lion's Gate Bridge

Ava poses with the little lighthouse

Sheer cliffs, lush forest, rocky beach and a tiny little island

Ava and the island

As we neared the end of Stanley park the beaches turned from small rocky areas exposed by the low tide to actual proper beaches with sand. Upon sight of the first beach we came across Ava was beside herself - finally she could play on the beach and splash in the water! The first beach we came across was Second Beach - how's that for confusing! It was a little small and I knew that there was a nicer beach coming up so poor Ava had to wait just a little longer. When we reached the next beach, English Bay Beach (or First Beach), Ava could not wait to get down onto the sand. Unfortunately Lola was still asleep in the stroller (which doesn't perform well on sand) so we couldn't stop for long. Ava was pleased to splash about for a while and dig in the sand. By this point she was pretty tired from the 10km walk and was happy to take it easy on the beach.

Second Beach

Logs line the beach 

English Bay Beach

Finally in the water!

That slide in the background looks pretty cool!

We had a most enjoyable day walking around Stanley Park. As we walked around the edge we didn't get a chance to see much of the interior. It's such a huge park with so many walking trails and bike paths that it would take a really long time to see all of it, much like our own Golden Gate Park which we've probably seen even less of. We've got plenty more of Stanley Park to see next time we're in Vancouver - and fingers crossed there will be a next time as it's such a beautiful place.  


  1. My husband wants to vacation in Vancouver soon. Looks like so much fun.

    1. Vancouver is such a beautiful city. My whole family loved our time there.
      I'll have more posts coming soon :)

  2. We just got back from Vancouver and had so much fun that I wanted to move there!!


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