Stanley Park is a 1001 acre public park of West Coast rainforest. The land was home to the Burrard, Musqueam and Squamish First Nations people. In 1858, the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush brought the British which colonized the area. A lot of settlers lived here because it was rich in natural resources. It was named after Lord Stanley, a British politician and was turned into a park when the city incorporated in 1886.
We walked along the water and beaches to get to Stanley Park, the urban green oasis. We wished we picked a hotel closer to the park so we could have views of the surrounding mountains and trees everyday. We loved it more than Central Park, we appreciate the wild touch Stanley Park retains.
We were in awe of the wildlife. Today there are 5 breeding pairs of bald eagle that call the area home. In the 1960s, it was only one pair. Beaver lake didn’t have beavers till 2008, they can be seen as dusk and dawn. In the 1980s, coyotes arrived in Vancouver and at least one family lives in park. They aren’t nocturnal but only come out at night to avoid people. Harbor seals are pretty common sight from the sea wall. 10 species of bats can be found here. It’s a rest stop for migratory birds and in one year 230 species of birds can be seen. Let’s not forget raccoons and the 3 types of squirrels: the eastern gray squirrel (invasive species given as a gift from the Mayor of NY in 1909), Douglas squirrel, and the northern flying squirrel (very rare to see).
Stanley Park has one of the largest urban great blue heron colonies in North America. It was soothing to hang out for 2 hours taking pictures of them. We had to force ourselves to move along or we’d never see the rest of the park.
Unlike other urban parks, Stanley Park is the evolving forest and in an urban area. At lot of the park is heavily forested like it was in the late 1880s. There are over half a million trees that are 2nd and 3rd growth.
There are beaches, playgrounds, forest trails, lakes and the Vancouver Aquarium to check out. Our favorite part was around Beaver lake.
The is a great place to stretch your legs and enjoy a day in the city.