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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

WALKS WITH RUTHAKI #1: WALK, JOG, CYCLE, SKATE: The Stanley Park Seawall

Last weekend I went on my first long sea-wall walk in Stanley Park.  It doesn’t matter what kind of weather, you’ll always find walkers, joggers, cyclists and in-line skaters on seawall. It was the first spring-like weekend of the year and a good day for a brisk tour around one of Vancouver's most popular walks.




I started my walk from the Park entrance, walking along by the Yacht Club, going east toward Brockton Point.
The Stanley Park seawall is 8.8 kms  (5.5 mi) so I don't usually attempt the whole circuit. People have been enjoying this seaside path since 1917 but it wasn’t until the mid ‘70’s when the walk was properly surfaced making it an easier route for walkers, joggers and cyclists. The seawall loop around Stanley Park is one of Vancouver’s most popular locations to enjoy the outdoors. The path is divided making it easier and safer for pedestrians and those on wheels. Remember to check the park map for signs indication direction as cyclists can only go in a counter-clockwise direction.

There are interesting sights along the way and benches lining the path if you need to pause for a rest. You might also consider a horse-drawn carriage ride around the Park which is loads of fun.  You can also rent bikes.

Be sure and stop to see the totem poles at the Brockton Point Oval. And past that is the famous 9-o'clock gun that booms out over Coal Harbour to mark the time every night.  There's also the historic Dead Man's Island, now the naval reserve, but once a First Nations burial ground.  Next you'll come to the Brockton Point Lighthouse.  In the early settlement days, there was a small village near here where ship-jumpers lived with their native wives. 

This part of the walk will take you all the way around to Lumberman’s Arch.  This was once the site of a First Nations village. There's a children's water-park here and even though there wasn't water to frolic in, there were plenty of kids enjoying fun on the adventure equipment there.

 From here you can cut back through the park to the entrance. There are refreshment stands at Brockton Point, Lumberman’s Arch, and by the Aquarium if you want to take a coffee or snack break. You'll also find washroom facilities there.

I stopped on the beach here for my first picnic of the season and rested awhile enjoying the view of the snow-capped mountains of North Vancouver and the busy waterway of Burrard Inlet and the inner harbour.


From here I walked back through the park on a quest to find cherry blossoms, but because of the late season there weren't any in bloom around the Japanese memorial for WWI.  I stopped at the Aquarium to view the Belugas in their outdoor pool.  Then I walked along the trails to the Pavilion and bus depot.

On my next Sunday sea-wall walk I'll take a different route.  There's lots to see in the Park and it makes for a relaxing, refreshing afternoon to enjoy the day on the sea-wall.
Bike and Rollerblade rentals are located near Denman and Georgia St.

Stanley Park Cycle: 768 Denman St. 604-688-0087

Stanley Park Rentals: 1798 W. Georgia St. 604-688-5141

For a map of the seawall: http://vancouver.ca/parks/parks/stanley






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