Finding Zen (Literally) in Vancouver: Inside Nitobe Garden

Photo credit: Phillip Jeffrey | Flickr

Photo credit: Phillip Jeffrey | Flickr

Nature lovers know Vancouver has more than its share of exceptional parks and gardens, from 1,000-acre Stanley Park to the tiny .3-acre Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.  But there’s one garden that even the most dedicated of outdoor buffs tend to overlook: the Nitobe Memorial Garden on the University of British Columbia campus.

The 2.5-acre garden, tucked away near a set of campus dormitories, happens to be regarded as the best traditional Japanese garden in North America, and one of the finest in the world.

Inside the gates, the garden – a circular pathway around a small lake, all set in the B.C. coastal forest – doesn’t look like much, at least at first glance.  But on closer inspection (and with a little help from the handy brochure), it becomes clear that the traditional Zen garden has been meticulously designed, right down to every leaf and stone. Continue reading:
Finding Zen (Literally) in Vancouver: Inside Nitobe Garden

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. Continue reading:
Yaletown’s Best Kept Secret? Inside George Wainborn Park

Vancouver’s Best Little Park? You make the call!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/27855028@N00/3062263037/

When it comes to green spaces, Vancouver has some heavy hitters.  There’s 1,000-acre Stanley Park, always tops on visitors to-do lists.  Not to mention the world-class VanDusen Botanical Garden and classically elegant Queen Elizabeth Park.

But there are also hundreds of smaller parks in the city that offer their own charms and rewards.   Some of these – like tiny Emery Barnes Park in Yaletown – are neighbourhood gems that relatively few people know about.  Others – like Oppenheimer Park in Strathcona – are well known and loved but rarely get the praise they deserve.

The common denominator is that these parks, although relatively small, pack a big punch.  They have a great community feel, offer a quick getaway from the hustle-bustle of the city, and showcase Vancouver at its finest – lush, green, fresh and friendly.  So, I’d like to hear from you:

What’s your favourite “little” park in Vancouver?  Please share your picks by commenting below.  (For the record, you can define “little” however you’d like.  The idea is that these parks might not be on everyone’s radar).

I’ll start things off with a classic Vancouver park I visited over the weekend, Trout Lake.

Continue reading:
Vancouver’s Best Little Park? You make the call!

In Praise of George Wainborn Park: Yaletown’s Waterfront Gem

Photo: Remy Scalza

Last week, I wrote about a little known but exceptionally beautiful green space in the heart of Yaletown, Emery Barnes Park.  It turns out that there’s another little known, exceptionally beautiful green space just  two blocks away, George Wainborn Park.

In fact, this one might be even prettier.  The 2.5 hectare park – opened in 2004 at a cost of $5.1 million –  is nestled along the north bank of False Creek.  Despite its high traffic location – in Yaletown, right between the Granville Street Bridge and the bustling lawns of David Lam Park – it’s rarely busy and never crowded.  All of which is amazing, considering what that the park offers.

Continue reading:
In Praise of George Wainborn Park: Yaletown’s Waterfront Gem