Industry Meets Nature at East Vancouver’s New Brighton Park

New Brighton Park. Photo © Dana Lynch

I have to admit that, aside from trips to Trout Lake (one of my favourite parks), I hadn’t spent any time exploring East Van parks before I moved near Commercial Drive this past July. Now that I live nearby, I’ve been having a wonderful time discovering the joys of these hidden gems—spots that, for tourists, are far from the beaten path, but are local favourites for their beauty, serenity, scenery, and amenities.

One such park is New Brighton Park, located about five minutes (by car) north of Commercial Drive’s restaurant and shopping district. New Brighton Park is East Vancouver’s only ocean front park, and it has a completely different feel from any other ocean front park in Vancouver. Lying along the edge of Burrard Inlet, the park has the usual Vancouver glories of magnificent views and rugged, northwestern coastal beaches, but it also has a hard industrial edge, surrounded as it is by railway tracks, the Cascadia Grain Elevators, Iron Workers’ Memorial Bridge, and freighters headed to the Port of Vancouver.

New Brighton Park. Photo © Dana Lynch

That mix of hard and soft, of industry and natural beauty, distinguish New Brighton Park from other Vancouver parks. That, and the sense of history you feel here. There’s a plaque at the park’s entrance that informs visitors that “Here Vancouver Began,” a reference to the importance of the area to our industrial development. But New Brighton Park is as much a testament to Vancouverites’ early appreciation for scenic watering holes as it is to industry: this was once the site of Brighton House, one of Vancouver’s earliest resort hotels, which was named after England’s Brighton, that historically-renowned leisure destination. That’s how the park got its name.

New Brighton Park. Photo © Dana Lynch

If you live nearby, you already know the pleasures of New Brighton Park. Is it worth a visit by those farther away? Absolutely! It’s easy to spend the afternoon strolling or jogging the 11-hectare (25 acre) park’s coastal walking trails, enjoying a picnic under the trees, taking the kids to the well-equipped playground, playing tennis, or—if it’s summer—taking a dip in the New Brighton Pool.

Love New Brighton Park? I’d love to hear from you!

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