A Walk on the Pier: Road Trip to White Rock


Photo: R. Weiss

Who can resist a walk on pier? From Santa Monica to Brighton Beach, piers around the world have come to symbolize coastal living. One of my favourite local walks is along the White Rock pier and promenade. Built in the 1920’s the White Rock pier attracts residents and tourists year round. Recently, in a push to put White Rock on the map, city staffers attempted to determine if the pier ranked as the longest wooden structure in Canada. Unfortunately, the City of White Rock lost the title for Canada’s longest pier to Port Neuf, Quebec. Nonetheless, at 1,500 feet long a stroll along the pier is well worth the road trip to the Semiahmoo Peninsula.

The pier means many different things to many different people. Teens jump from its railings, brides and graduates are photographed on it and crab fishermen can be found testing their luck. For me the pier offers an opportunity to slow down, catch my breath, people watch and of course connect to the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains, islands and ocean.


Photo: R. Weiss

Visiting White Rock literally means a visiting a “white rock.” As you stroll along the promenade you will be drawn to a 486 ton boulder resting near the beach. Geologists share knowledge of a glacial erratic that migrated south during the last glaciation, but I prefer the story of the white rock. Local legend tells the tale of a young sea god who hurled the rock across the Strait of Georgia telling his bride that they would make their home wherever the rock landed. Their descendants became the Semiahmoo First Nation. “The Gift” at the Chief Bernard Charles Memorial Plaza is a celebration of the RCMP and Semiahmoo First Nations cultures and traditions.


Photo: R. Weiss

From the pier you can spot Mount Baker looming large, almost protectively over Semiahmoo Bay. This special place is one of Canada’s top rated important bird areas and has also been designated a Hemisphere reserve. Over 333 species of birds, some rare and endangered visit the area’s mudflats, estuaries, salt marshes and bogs. Birders frequent the area seeking that rare bird sighting and to enjoy the local wildlife.


Photo: R. Weiss

Thinking of visiting over the holidays? You might want to check out the Annual Polar Bear Swim. Not to worry if taking the plunge isn’t your thing, the White Rock Pier serves as a prime view point to observe those taking the frigid dip.


Photo: R. Weiss


White Rock is 48 km south of Vancouver, only 10 minutes away from the Peace Arch Border Crossing.

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