Stanley Park is a 1,001-acre public park that borders the downtown of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada and is almost entirely surrounded by waters of Vancouver Harbour and English Bay.
The park has a long history and was one of the first areas to be explored in the city. The land was originally used by indigenous peoples for thousands of years before British Columbia was colonized by the British during the 1858 Fraser Canyon Gold Rush. For many years after colonization, the future park with its abundant resources would also be home to nonaboriginal settlers. The land was later turned into Vancouver’s first park when the city incorporated in 1886. It was named after Lord Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby, a British politician who had recently been appointed governor general.
Significant effort was put into constructing the near-century-old Vancouver Seawall, which can draw thousands of residents and visitors to the park every day. The seawall is a stone wall that was constructed around the perimeter of Stanley Park to prevent the erosion of the park’s foreshore. Colloquially, the term also denotes the pedestrian, bicycle, and rollerblading pathway on the seawall. Walking the entire loop around Stanley Park takes 2 to 3 hours, while biking it takes about 1 hour. The park also features forest trails, beaches, lakes, children’s play areas, and the Vancouver Aquarium, among many other attractions. On June 18, 2014 Stanley Park was named “top park in the entire world” by TripAdvisor.
As I mentioned in our trip to Vancouver, we rented a tandem bike and rode around the seawall taking in the sites and attractions that the park had to offer. We had gorgeous weather and could have spent all day roaming the park. The pathways can get a bit crowded in certain areas but generally people obey the signals on the ground and move along pretty well. Stanley Park is a must see for any visitor to Vancouver, take your time and enjoy!