Posted by: bkivey | 18 September 2015

Canada Vacation Pt. 2.5

I broke up the events of the 15th because it was a day of two distinct halves.

15 September 2015 (later that same day)

I’d asked the server at breakfast about (aboot?) things to do in Vancouver, and the first item she named was Stanley Park. I’d heard of the park, but didn’t know anything about it. I could have researched it on the internet, but this seemed pointless. Half the fun of traveling is discovering things on your own. I hadn’t seen much of Vancouver, either, although I did know where Auto Row was.

Setting the GPS for ‘vacation’, I headed north towards downtown. I didn’t have any expectations about downtown Vancouver, but I certainly didn’t expect that it would be Hong Kong East. Rounding the curve of the Granville Street bridge, there’s this panorama:

Vancouver from Granville Street bridge

My first thoughts were holy crow! that’s a lot of apartment buildings, and there’s a lot of money in Vancouver.

Aside: I obviously didn’t take that picture while driving. After I was done in the park, I parked off the bridge and hiked up to take the picture. Along the way, I saw someone who needs to rethink their horticultural abilities:

Vancouver dead trees on balcony

Stanley Park covers a headland jutting into the Salish Sea, forming several bays.

Stanley Park map

There are a few roads, but the primary method of getting around is by bike and foot. A paved bike/pathway circumnavigates the park. bike and pedestrian paths are laid side-by-side, with clear markings for each. Pedestrian travel is bi-directional, while bicycles are restricted to counter-clockwise travel.

Parking is alongside the road in most places, with numerous lots scattered at points of interest. Pay stations issue tickets for set amounts of time, and the tickets are good anywhere in the park during that time. You don’t put the ticket on the car, and I never saw law enforcement, but I imagine if you do get a ticket, you’d better hope your parking ticket was still good.

Another thing I didn’t see in the park were homeless. Not one bum in the entire place. You couldn’t have a place like this in the US without it being overrun. In fact, I saw very few homeless in downtown Vancouver.

I parked on the western side of the park, and started walking north. There are some views:

Stanley Park view north of Second Beach

The 180º view starts with the western edge of downtown on the left, looking across English Bay and the Salish Sea, and then West Vancouver on the right. There were upwards of a dozen ships anchored in the roads awaiting berthing. The tide was ebbing and still had another half hour to run, while the smell was like an especially pungent can of clams.

I walked about 2K, and there were some things to see:

A good use for a stump.

Stump chair

Sandstone exposed at low tide:

Sandstone at low tide

Just in case you were wondering:

You are here

Rather than prohibit people from mucking about in the tidal zone, there are stairs off the walkway, and placards describing the various plants and animals. I stopped just before the path curved around the headland:

Stanley Park northwest view

On the hike out and back, I’d seen a lot of shells laying about. I thought that seagulls had eaten the animal inside, but it turns out to be crows. A crow feasting:

Crow eating shellfish

The crows don’t even bother to drop the shells from altitude; they just pick them up and crack them open.

Driving back around to the south side of the park by the Rowing Club. The hike/bike pathway is alongside the fence.

Stanley Park view from Rowing Club

Directly across is one of the more landscaped sections of the park, and there are several monuments:

Park founder and former governor-general Lord Stanley:

Lord Stanley monument

And Robert Burns, for some reason:

Robert Burns monument

The view across the pedestrian overpass into the city:

Pedestrian overpass toward city

And what passes for a rose garden in Vancouver. Sorry folks, but Portland has you beat on this.

Stanley Park rose garden

There is some more impressive landscaping:

Landscaping at Pavillion

This area has a sign describing proscribed items and activities. It’s fairly long:

Stanley Park prohibitions

A little further along to the north and east is the yacht basin, with the cruise ship terminal off to the left.

Stanley Park view across yacht basin

This area is where the local seaplane airline approaches their ‘runway’:

Stanley Park seaplane landing approach

A little further north is a collection of totem poles:

Stanley Park totem poles

The majority of the poles were carved in 1987 -88, and were done by Native craftsmen. There is a placard for each pole describing the symbols. There is another sculpture originally done in cedar then cast in bronze:

Stanley Park First Nations bronzze

At the northern tip of the headland is a now-decommissioned lighthouse:

Stanley Park lighthouse

And some more views of the city and environs. To the right of the lighthouse:

Stanley Park view northeast

And to the left looking generally northwest is Lions Gate bridge. The southern approach of the bridge is actually the park.

Stanley Park Lioins Gate suspension bridge

Near the lighthouse is the figurehead from the ship Empress of Japan, a freighter that plied the Vancouver – Japan route for many years. This is actually a bronze cast of the reconstructed piece.

Stanley Park figureehead from Japanese cargo ship

There is also a ‘Lady of the Lake’ so to speak. The sculpture is Woman in Wetsuit, and is designed to highlight the dependence Vancouver has on the sea. You can see that the tide is about 2.5 m, which is much more than occurs lower down the coast.

Stanley Park Woman in Wetsuit

Before my parking ticket expired, I wanted to see Beaver Pond; maybe see an actual beaver. While this may have been a pond when the park was incorporated in the 19th century, it’s a marsh, and won’t even be that in the not-to-distant future:

Stanley Park Beaver Pond

Forests will naturally overrun small bodies of water as silt and vegetation build up. Beaver Pond is almost at the end of that process. Next to the pond is this door and frame inexplicably left in the woods:

Stanley Park door in the woods

So that was it for Stanley Park. I still had to find a place to sleep the next couple of days.






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