A Fishy Story in Stanley Park

Photo: Rob Weiss

An epic and timeless battle plays out in annually in our beautiful province. From late summer until early winter salmon valiantly fight their way back from the ocean to their home rivers where they first hatched. Without a doubt, this is the stuff of legends and folklore! It is difficult to articulate the impact a single fish has had on the people of BC, but suffice it to say the salmon run is unquestionably a marvel of nature.

Photo: Shane Smith, Wikimedia

From Adams River to Vancouver Island’s Goldstream Park, there are countless rivers, parks and public places to view the eternal cycle of spawning. Closer to home, in the heart of Stanley Park, sits a unique demonstration stream, winding its way from the Vancouver Aquarium to Coal Harbour. Easily missed, yet well worth a visit, the BC Hydro Salmon Stream Project features a self-guided walking tour and presents an incredible opportunity to learn more about a natural salmon stream, healthy habitat and the salmon life cycle. Like the battle-weary salmon, the interpretive signage is slightly battered, bruised and weather-beaten. However, the salmon stewardship message is clear.

As I stopped near the fish ladder, a man-made structure designed to allow the fish upstream passage, I marvelled at the strength and tenacity required by the salmon to battle their way up the waterway. Incredibly, Chinook have been known to travel more than 16,000 km in the Pacific Ocean before returning to spawn. Transfixed, I stared at the water, trying to imagine such a perilous journey.

Photo: Rob Weiss

Continuing along the stream, I stopped to enjoy a few moments at the Salmon Display pond. The water was like glass, reflecting the adjacent trees. It was peaceful, and I quickly became lost in thought. Inspired by the salmon’s upstream battle, I continued my stroll. Fittingly, my walk ended at the doorstep to the world famous Vancouver Aquarium. Spellbound, I found myself gazing up at the magnificent bronze Killer Whale, Chief of the Undersea World statue, created by the world-renowned artist Bill Reid. As I read the inscription, I felt as though my walk had come full circle. It reads, “The Killer Whale known by the Haida to be chief of the world beneath the sea who from his great house raised the storms of winter and brought calm to the seas of summer. He governed the mystical cycle of the salmon and was keeper of all the oceans living treasure.” I suspect that says it all.

Photo: Rob Weiss

Getting There:

Easily missed, yet nature lovers and naturalists will find it well worth a visit, the Salmon Stream is located in central Stanley Park near the Painter’s Circle and the Information Booth.

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