The following article was contributed by Vancouver travel writer and Lonely Planet author John Lee (@johnleewriter)
Burnished copper, pumpkin-orange, deep candy apple red: the seemingly infinite colours of autumn under cloudless blue skies make fall the fave time of year for many Vancouverites. In fact, along with spring’s cherry blossom season, this is the only time you’ll routinely see the locals reaching for their cameras.
But there’s nothing routine about the city’s great foliage-watching spots. If you’re here in October, charge up your camera, slip into comfortable walking shoes and hunt down the following pigment-popping locations. Just don’t forget your umbrella: leaf-looking is best on golden, sun-dappled days but rain can be just around the corner in autumnal Vancouver.
First, make a beeline for Stanley Park. Hit the seawall – by bike or on foot – to find rusty ambers and Japanese maple reds studding the evergreen Douglas firs.
Get the lowdown on the park’s green side at the Stanley Park Ecology Society’s free-entry Nature House. Open on weekends throughout the fall, you’ll learn about the park’s delicate eco system, including the beady-eyed birds hanging around adjoining Lost Lake.
If you don’t have time for a full-on Stanley Park jaunt, weave towards nearby English Bay instead. The surrounding West End neighbourhood is striped with residential streets where fall-flavoured trees mix with bright-painted heritage houses: on a honey-lit, sunshine-steeped day, you can hear the photographers salivating here. But the beach at the end of Denman Street will have you quickly deploying your camera’s panorama setting.
You’ll find a glittering, gently-rippling waterfront here, backed by a stand of achingly beautiful mature trees, each seemingly a different colour. Not surprisingly, this is also a great location for sunset shots. And if it’s raining, nip into the lounge bar of the nearby ivy-shrouded Sylvia Hotel: it faces the water, so you’ll still have a great view.