A tranquil oasis in the midst of a bustling urban jungle, Stanley Park is one of Vancouver’s most popular tourist destinations. Visited by eight million people every year, Stanley Park is a designated National Historic Site of Canada and is made up of rainforest, mountainous vistas, picturesque beaches, historic landmarks and amazing local wildlife.
Located at the north-western tip of downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park was in existence before British Columbia was colonised. Before the park was officially designated a city park in 1888, it was home to the Burrard, Musqueam and Sqamish First Nations People of Canada.
Stanley Park was named after Lord Frederick Stanley, Governor General of Canada. As Vancouver’s first official green space, creating the park was the city’s primary move towards becoming the sustainable city that it is today.
For over 125 years, Stanley Park has held its status as a prized tourist attraction of Vancouver. With several picnic areas, beaches, a water park, tennis courts, kids’ playgrounds and the famous Vancouver Seawall, discovering the park in a single day is near impossible.
If there’s one point on your itinerary that you can’t afford to miss, however, it’s the most visited tourist attraction in British Columbia: the nine totem poles at Brockton Point.
The collection started at Lumberman’s Arch (also in Stanley Park) in 1920 with just four totem poles obtained from Alert Bay on Vancouver Island. Over the years more totem poles have been added to the collection, with the ninth and final pole arriving in 2009. The indigenous people of Stanley Park, some of whom were born there, have carved many of the poles.
There are various ways to tour Stanley Park including by foot, by bike or by shuttle. However jumping aboard one of Stanley Park’s old-fashioned horse-drawn carriage tours is a great way to relax and view the park in comfort. If you’d like to sightsee on your own two feet, the many nature trails and adventurous hikes will not disappoint.