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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7 Responses to Industry Meets Nature at East Vancouver’s New Brighton Park

  1. Eva

    We live close by to this park, and try to go often! It has some good trails for sure, and is definitely a unique take on the usual waterfront park.

  2. It is a great little park. Beautiful views of the skyline and the water. It is also called by the locals, Crab Park. When I first moved to Vancouver, I lived in Gastown and would wander over there a lot. One day decided to go for a swim, later that evening, at a local pub, when I told friends about my great dip.. they all laughed and told me it is the 2nd highest fecal matter in the city in those waters! yikes.
    I hope that as the city is promoting this wonderful little park, that something has been done to improve it, or signs have been placed letting people know to just go for a walk…

  3. Vanfan67

    Leah, you have New Brighton confused with Crab Park, which is downtown around gastown. New Brighton is just west of the 2nd Narrows Bridge, and it’s a beautiful area that is no secret to the people in the area. You won’t find views like this anywhere else in Vancouver – most water views look over an expanse of water, with the North Shore mountains in the far distance, but at New Brighton you look right at the mountains, which makes for a very dramatic scene.

    • Thanks Vanfan67, you explained Leah’s mix-up very well! And I agree: the views at New Brighton Park are truly unique!

  4. Moonkwean

    New Brighton. That is not the name that the locals called it when I was growing up in the area. The pool was a salt water pool, the same that was at Lumberman’s Arch. The fence near the train tracks had many large trees for climbing and shade. My Mother would take us to “Windermere Pool” for he whole day. We would swim, picnic and wait for the train to go by so we could wave at the engineer in the Caboose. Sadly, the caboose and the trees are gone. More cement and road have replaced the park area. A fence around the pool and an outrageous fee to get in for a swim. Wish you could have seen it then. If you go out under the wharf, you will see many cement “stones” from the old pool. Even the
    pipe that fed the water to the pool is there.
    However, Thanks for the memory.

  5. Oh yes…this is one of my favourite places in Vancouver.

    I have added a bike trip there on my biking blog:
    http://www.letsgobiking.net/2012/07/50-new-brighton-park.html

    Have fun!

    And Happy Riding ~ Colleen

  6. Jurgen

    What does the industry area look like. Heavy or Light Ind.? Noise, Pollution etc. Which link can one use to check?