Exploring Vancouver’s Forgotten Park: Inside Pacific Spirit

Photo credit: michellerlee | Flickr

Photo credit: michellerlee | Flickr

When it comes to green space in Vancouver, 1,000-acre Stanley Park usually gets the spotlight.  Queen Elizabeth Park and VanDusen Botanical Garden play key supporting roles.

But one park that consistently manages to stay off the radar altogether is Pacific Spirit Regional Park.

Located on Point Grey, on the city’s West side, Pacific Spirit consists of nearly 2,000-acres of forests and beach (including notoriously clothing-optional Wreck Beach).  It’s a massive urban nature preserve that sits right on the doorstep of the University of British Columbia, with more than 70 kilometres of walking paths, as well as bike and horse trails.

Yet because Pacific Spirit is a bit outside of downtown, and because it doesn’t necessarily boast the jaw-dropping views or manicured gardens of the city’s other big parks, it’s easily overlooked – and sometimes completely forgotten. Continue reading:
Exploring Vancouver’s Forgotten Park: Inside Pacific Spirit

Top 5 Victoria Day Long Weekend Daytrips from Vancouver

Photo credit: jvde | Flickr

Planning a staycation for this Victoria Day Long Weekend?  Don’t worry – You can still get out of the city, soak up B.C.’s natural splendours and be home in time for dinner.

Here are five long weekend daytrip ideas.  All of these options are within a 90-minute drive of downtown Vancouver and emphasize the great outdoors.  Got more ideas?  Please comment below.

  • Whytecliff Park: This 15-hectare waterfront park in Horseshoe Bay is only 30-45 minutes from the concrete jungles of downtown Vancouver.  It features a small, sandy beach, cliffs plunging dramatically to the brisk waters of Howe Sound and even a little island you can swim to that sits just offshore.  For families, there’s a large grassy picnic area with changing rooms.

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Top 5 Victoria Day Long Weekend Daytrips from Vancouver

Yaletown’s Secret Garden: Emery Barnes Park Opens

Vancouver has plenty of big, eye-popping, mind-blowing parks, from the primordial forests of 1,000-acre Stanley Park to the manicured flower beds of VanDusen Garden.

But it’s the little parks – the unexpected green spaces in the midst of all the urban sprawl – that really set the city apart for me.  I’m talking about all those tiny, one block parks and gardens cherished by neighbourhood residents but pretty much unknown to everyone else.

In Yaletown, that secret green oasis is .39-hectare Emery Barnes Park.  Dwarfed by 20-, 30- and soon-to-be 40-storey condo towers, Emery Barnes officially opened last week: an unlikely island of green in a concrete jungle.  Continue reading:
Yaletown’s Secret Garden: Emery Barnes Park Opens

Vintage Vancouver Parks and Recreation

Originally produced by the Whitefoot Studio, and presented by The Board of Park Commissioners of Vancouver in 1940, this silent film looks in-depth at the numerous parks that rest within the city limits of Greater Vancouver. It’s a long clip, but this vintage documentation is truly unique. Check out the free swimming lessons section by the Vancouver Sun at Second Beach about 13 minutes in—amazing! I’d love to see that start up again (my front crawl could use a little work).

Plan a family outing around Burnaby’s clean, green eco-sculptures

One of the many Burnaby eco-sculptures

One of the many Burnaby eco-sculptures

Gotta love Twitter: I kept passing this curious car on the drive up to Simon Fraser University and finally stopped long enough to snap a photo and send it out with a query to the Twitterverse.

It took just a few minutes to get the answer: this roadster is modelled after the Cowie Dragster that broke the world speed record at the Mission Raceway in 2007 and is just one of a whole bunch of eco-sculptures recently commissioned by the City of Burnaby (part of Metro Vancouver).

This is public art at its most accessible and I think it would make a fun family outing on a mild fall day to go on a city-wide search for the other sculptures–cranes, salmon, bears, bees, horses and eagles.

Here’s the map; have fun!

Inside VanDusen Botanical Garden

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Livingstone Lake at VanDusen Botanical Garden

Of all the gardens in Vancouver—including Queen Elizabeth Park’s quarry gardens and the serene Nitobe Memorial Garden at UBC (two of my other favourites)—VanDusen Botanical Garden is the one I love the most. I think it’s because every time I go, whatever the season, I discover something new: a path I’d never tried, a little stream I’d never crossed, flowers in bloom that I’d never noticed.

Today, I saw a rainbow:

Continue reading:
Inside VanDusen Botanical Garden