Vancouver Part 3

Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, CanadaI mentioned that Vancouver is a beautiful city with a lot of green space to enjoy, one of these spaces is the impressive Stanley Park, offering residents and visitors the opportunity to walk in a forest on the edge of downtown. There are numerous walking and cycling trails throughout and around the park and offers quite a diverse view – coniferous forest, wetlands, lakes and beaches. The park is a delight to walk in, and is reasonably well signposted throughout. We spent a few hours wandering various trails starting on the northern shore of Lost Lagoon north to Point Prospect exploring the western half, then south through the eastern half stopping off at Klahowya Village, a coastal Salish (the collective name of tribes from the Vancouver area) operated space to educate visitors about First Nation culture and history. The Klahowya village offers a range of indigenous cultural experiences such as storytelling, dance and song, arts demonstrations and craft workshops. For anyone who is interested in exploring a little of the rich and varied First Nation cultures, this is an excellent first stop.


Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, CanadaStanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Stanley Park, Vancouver

Museum of Anthropology at British Columbia University, Vancouver, CanadaAn excellent second stop is visiting the Museum of Anthropology at British Columbia University. The MOA was founded in 1949 and is a public as well as teaching museum that moved to its current location in 1976. It contains an extensive collection of artefacts from Canadian and other First Peoples across the world. The main entrance hall presents a number of welcome posts, totem poles and sculptures before opening into a large windowed room of bentwood boxes, feast dishes, more totem poles and other artefacts. We took one of the free tours of the facility and were introduced to the indigenous art and some of the political and cultural practices of the people such as the potlatch – a ceremonial gathering, usually involving a feast, used to impart changes to law, status, property rights and other things of import. The Potlatch was banned by the Canadian government for nearly seventy years and were held in secret by some First Nation societies.

Museum of Anthropology at British Columbia University, Vancouver, CanadaMuseum of Anthropology at British Columbia University, Vancouver, Canada

The MOA also has an incredible display called ‘The Multiversity’, which includes over 16000 artefacts in glass cabinets and drawers of indigenous cultures across the globe. There are three other galleries inside the MOA, a permanent display for the artist Bill Reid centred around his sculpture ‘The Raven and the First men’, another featuring a collection of European Ceramics (donated by Dr Walter C Koerner), two for temporary exhibits, one currently featuring modern art inspired by First Peoples, and another featuring Afro-Cuban art. There are lecture halls and research rooms, and an outdoor exhibits including a Haida House complex and numerous Totem Poles. The building is also a work of art unto itself, being specifically designed by architect Arthur Erickson.

We easily spent a few hours exploring the MOA, and I would highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in the subject. It costs around $17/adult entry, and is well worth it.

Just across the harbour is Grouse Mountain, a very popular destination for tourists and fitness training. It is easy to get to with regular public transport available on both sides of the harbour. Grouse has a few trails to choose from, the most popular being ‘The Grind’ (a one way trail up the ridgeline), there were dozens of people gathering at the bottom to do this trail and at the top most of the fitness crowd had completed it. We opted to take the new BCMC trail (there is also an old BCMC trail which intersects with the new around half way up), which is a less popular trail and more appealing to me. The trail makes use of the forests root structure, enhancing the natural stairs with stone, fallen timbers or planks. The BCMC is almost pure ascent through lush forest that is quite clearly marked (160 main and hundreds of supplementary tags), and while only 4 kilometres in length, it would provide a good challenge/workout to most. A note though, when you near the top there will be a sign with an option to take 2 routes – keep left and don’t bother with the Sun View as it is a poorly marked trail that doesn’t offer anything extra aside from a view of the chair-lift and part of the golf course. There are facilities at the bottom, where you can also catch the gondola (if you don’t want to walk) as well as at the chalet at the top including a number of restaurants and other activities including a lumberjack show, some zip-lines, a bear enclosure and more.  You can catch the Gondola down the mountain when you are done, which offers an incredible view of the city.

Grouse Mountain, Vancouver, British Columbia, CanadaGrouse Mountain, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


Grouse Mountain


Another great way to appreciate the beauty of Vancouver is to look at it from a different perspective. One option for that is to hire a kayak for a couple of hours and paddle around the harbour. We picked up our kayaks from a place near the stadium at False Creek and paddled west along the shore. From down on the water the cities glass spires rise majestically from the tree line that encircles the city, and there is beauty in the modern designs. The waves on the inlet were shallow and the wind was low, allowing us to paddle with little effort past the millions of dollars of yachts anchored there. The most common things that interrupt the serenity of paddling the harbour are the aqua buses, which are very polite to other water users, but so frequent, (and occasionally, one of the yachts makes its way across the harbour) that you have to deal with their wake, but is a small price to pay for seeing the city like this. Over the two hours we spent on the water we made our way past the Burrard Street Bridge along the Sunset Beach Park before turning around and coming back along the southern side of the harbour, past Vanier Park and Granville Island. It’s a great alternative way to experience the city.

Kayaking along the waterfront, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Other Canada Articles

Vancouver Part 1
Vancouver Part 2
Canada Day
Tough Mudder



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