Yaletown’s Best Kept Secret? Inside George Wainborn Park

Photo credit: dooq | Flickr

Photo credit: dooq | Flickr

With the weather heating up, Vancouver’s beaches and parks are filling up.

Waterfront real estate, especially, is at a premium.  Visit English Bay on a warm afternoon and you’ll be lucky to find a spot to lay your beach blanket.  On holiday weekends, every strip of sand from Spanish Banks on the West Side to Third Beach in Stanley Park is filled with tanned bodies.

But there’s one waterfront park in the heart of Vancouver that you may just have all to yourself: George Wainborn Park in Yaletown.

Situated on False Creek, and encircled by gleaming new condo towers, George Wainborn is 2.5 hectares of brilliant green lawn sloping gently to the waterfront.  The seawall stretches along the park’s southern edge.  The vista takes in False Creek, Granville Island and the Art Deco majesty of the Granville Street Bridge.  It’s beautifully maintained, in one of the busiest parts of the city and – amazingly –  never full.

I checked out the park on a recent afternoon.  It’s located just a block away from busy Pacific Avenue.  You’re greeted by a manicured garden at the entrance, planted with a riot of colourful flowers.  Beyond is an elaborate water feature – trickling streams, waterfalls and a calm reflecting pool – flanked by shade trees and park benches.

The best seats in the house – literally – are a set of oversized, yellow metal chairs with commanding views of the lawn, just next to the fountains.  From up here, you can take in all the action below.  Pets and owners frolic along grassy knolls.  Sun worshippers angle blankets and towels to catch rays slanting in from the south and west.  Frisbees fly. Picnickers fire up a barbecue or two.  Bikes zip along the seawall far below and rainbow-painted Aquabuses make the rounds on False Creek.

Of course, none of this is unique in Vancouver.  What makes this scene special is that there are usually only a dozen or so people in it.

Any other fans of George Wainborn Park? Let us know below. 

For more updates on Vancouver and beyond, follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza

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