Welcome to Stanley Park! One of the most beautiful urban parks in the world. In fact, on 18 June, 2014, Trip Advisor said exactly that - and named it the BEST PARK IN THE WORLD. It's hard to believe that you are actually in the city when you are standing in the middle of the rainforest, or gazing west across the span of the Pacific Ocean.
Unique Fact: Long before Vancouver was Vancouver, the Burrard, Musqueam and Squamish First Nations people called this beautiful rainforest oasis home. Stanley Park is an evolution of a pioneer city's hopes and dreams; a place for its citizens to recreate themselves through active sport or peaceful relaxation. Named for Lord Frederick Stanley, Governor General of Canada in 1888, the City opened Stanley Park on September 27 of that year. In 1988, one hundred years later, Stanley Park was designated a national historic site of Canada. Today the Park is beloved by Vancouverites and continues to impress its visitors.
Things to Do: Bring the kids. Or not. Feel free to act like one and play! The list that follows is just a tiny taste of what you can do on your visit. Be sure to check out the Complete Guide to Stanley Park for everything you need to know.
- Visit the The Vancouver Aquarium and learn about the sea-life found just steps away from the aquarium, in the Arctic or from more tropical locations. Its home to more 70,000 creatures including dolphins, sea otters, anacondas, three-toed sloths, eels and more. Go behind the scenes and get up close and personal with the animals and the people who train them. This includes feeding, helping train and learning about their habitats and lifestyles.
- Haven't made it to a city beach yet? Now's your chance with three beautiful choices, aptly named First, Second and Third Beaches. Stake your claim on a log and enjoy the ocean breezes.
- Splash about in the Variety Kid's Water Park, Vancouver’s largest outdoor water park of its kind. Be ready to get soaked by water guns, geysers and canyons. You'll find it near Lumberman's Arch.
- Get off the beaten path and find a forest trail. With more than 27 km of quiet refuge it won't be hard to do. These wide, bark-mulched interior paths give a taste of what this peninsula must have been like centuries ago. Plan your day using this trail map.
- Get inside a tree! The Stanley Park Hollow Tree that is! A 700- to 800-year-old Western Red Cedar tree stump is one of the most well-known landmarks in the park. Check out the rest of the park's landmarks.
- Got little ones in tow? Be sure to head to the Stanley Park Miniature Railway which will carry you through the forest on a winding, 2 km ride over trestles and through tunnels. The train is replica of the Canadian Pacific Railway Engine #374, the engine made famous for pulling Canada's first transcontinental passenger train into Vancouver in the late 1880s. The real Engine #374 is on display in Yaletown.
- Stand in awe among the oldest trees, known as 'monument trees'. Discover them off Siwash Rock Trail, Third Beach Trail and north of Beaver Lake on Lake Trail.
- Must see: Check out the Totem Pole Display at Brockton Point where there are totems from Vancouver Island's Alert Bay region, Haida Gwaii and Rivers Inlet (on British Columbia's central coast). A stunning display and one of the most photographed attractions in BC!
- Must do: Bike the Seawall. If you do nothing else in Vancouver, this is the must do. The Stanley Park Seawall is a glorious 8.8-kilometre (5.5-mile) paved route that loops around the park connecting the park to downtown Vancouver Be sure to take your camera for selfies of you and iconic views of the city.
- The Stanley Park Teahouse, 3rd Beach, Ferguson Point - With towering trees in its backyard and the ocean at its front door, the breathtaking view of English Bay and the North Shore act as a backdrop to the exquisite West Coast cuisine and exceptional service.
- The Fish House, 8901 Stanley Park Drive - The historic Fish House sits among the spectacular gardens of Stanley Park, close to English Bay and offers a true West Coast culinary experience in a beautiful park setting. Indulge in locally sourced food and BC wine.
- Park Concession Stands, 6 locations throughout park - Choose from a wide variety of fast food at conveniently placed concession stands which combine quick service with affordable prices. Grab a picnic table and dine 'al fresco'. Be sure to try the fish and chips!
Location: Ideally situated on a peninsula at the northwestern edge of downtown Vancouver.