Vancouver - Stanley Park and English Bay

Vancouver - Stanley Park and English Bay


In September we set off from Vancouver, Canada, on an Alaska cruise. Considering the distance between Germany and Vancouver is 8.000 kilometers, it makes sense to spend a few extra days in the city to get to know it better. Below we report on one of the individual trips we took.

Cruise ships at Vancouver cruise terminal

Cruise ships at Vancouver cruise terminal


Topics include Stanley Park, Vancouver and Canada's largest city park, North Vancouver and English Bay in the west of the city. At the end of September, Vancouver's temperatures are very pleasant and the sun appears regularly. The conditions are ideal for seeing the recommended parts stages.

Visit North Vancouver by SeaBus

Our tour begins with a detour. The SeaBus, the spacious and fast passenger ferry, takes us from the Canada Place cruise terminal to Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver in twelve minutes; The ship crosses the Burrard Inlet.

Vancouver's Skyline with SeaBus

Vancouver's Skyline with SeaBus


At Lonsdale Quay there are a few shops, restaurants, snack shops and two viewing platforms in the Quayside Plaza. They offer a wonderful view of downtown Vancouver and the cruise ships gathered there as well as the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge further east. The steel structure, located at the second narrow point in the bay, is one of Vancouver's most famous bridges.

Vancouver's skyline and ships at the cruise terminal

North Vancouver - Quayside Plaza
Fountain at Lonsdale Quay
Vancouver Harbor with the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge

Lonsdale Quay is connected to a marina. Behind them rise the high-rise buildings of the suburb, and to the east behind the houses stretches the range of the North Shore Mountains with the Grouse Mountain ski area and Mount Seymour.

View from Lonsdale Quay / North Vancouver

View from Lonsdale Quay / North Vancouver


From the quay's underground bus station, various bus routes lead back to Vancouver overland. We take the 242 bus. On days like this, the inexpensive Day Pass from the regional transport company Translink is worth it. Current price: 11,25 CAD, equivalent to 7,75 euros.

On its journey, the bus passes extensive, middle-class single-family residential areas. Warnings about roaming black bears hang on the lampposts. Incredible: there is a warning about black bears in the suburbs of a large city with more than 700.000 inhabitants! 

Lion's Gate Bridge

The bus passes the Lions Gate suspension bridge and follows the four-lane Highway 99 that runs through Stanley Park. We read up: The construction costs of the bridge were pre-financed by the Guinness brewing family. However, this was not done out of altruism, but rather to be able to develop a 16 square kilometer property in West Vancouver that belonged to the brewers. By the way, the cruise ships sail under the bridge when entering or leaving.

Lion's Gate Bridge

Lion's Gate Bridge


To transfer to Stanley Park we leave the bus at Devonian Harbor Park. From there it is only a few hundred steps to the 405 hectare landscape park. There is no entry fee. 

Stanley Park and what to see there

Before the region was discovered and explored, indigenous peoples, Canada's “First Nations”, inhabited the headland protruding into Vancouver Harbor and English Bay. After the withdrawal of the First Nations, today's area was initially subject to haphazard commercial use. But in 1886 it was decided to set up a landscape park.

Its current appearance is not the work of landscape architects. Rather, there was little intervention in nature. This explains that parts of the park are still covered by dense forest with trees over 70 meters high and centuries-old.

The Stanley Park Seawall Path, a hiking trail above the water, surrounds the peninsula. In addition, many cross paths cut through the area. The maps also show two sections of beach. It is not possible for us to take advantage of the park's diverse offerings.

Stanley Park Seawall Path at Brockton Point Lighthouse

Stanley Park Seawall Path at Brockton Point Lighthouse


Day visitors choose certain attractions depending on their interests. We include:

  • The must-see totem stakes of the Canadian First Nations,
  • The Naval Museum at HMCS Discovery,
  • The active Nine O'Clock Gun,
  • The Brockton Point Lighthouse.

Under Vancouver Sightseeing let's introduce the highlights of the park.

Totem poles in Stanley Park
Naval Museum boathouses
Nine O'Clock Gun
Brockton Point Lighthouse

Other stations of interest in Stanley Park:

  • The Lumberman's Arch,
  • The Vancouver Aquarium (the facility run by a non-profit organization is also a marine biology research station),
  • Siwash Rock, about 18 meters high,
  • The Prospect Point Lookout.
The Lumberman's Arch


The Lumberman's Arch


Stanley Park - Siwash Rock


Stanley Park - Siwash Rock 


A curiosity is the bronze sculpture “Girl in a Wetsuit” placed on a rock in the water. Overall, she looks very similar to the Copenhagen Little Mermaid. However, its creator, the late Hungarian sculptor Elek Imredy, emphasizes that he had never seen the “Little Mermaid” before. The life-size young lady in a wetsuit with flippers on her feet is not a plagiarism.

Girl in a wetsuit


Girl in a wetsuit


Copenhagen's Little Mermaid


Copenhagen's Little Mermaid 


The park administration's offerings also include tranquil tours in horse-drawn carriages. In the summer, at Easter, over Halloween and at Christmas, a miniature railway runs along a two-kilometer route. Bicycles are available for rent throughout Vancouver and are permitted on the park's paved roads. And by the way, the park also offers visitors a wide variety of food.

If you prefer convenience after visiting the park, you can leave the park on bus line 019. You get on at the Stanley Park Loop.

Ready for the carriage ride


Ready for the carriage ride


The Stanley Park Loop


The Stanley Park Loop 


english bay

We consider the English Bay beach section to be one of the most beautiful sandy beaches in Vancouver. The approximately 300 meter long section of beach is located in the West End district between Morton Avenue and Bidwell Street. The cool Pacific doesn't invite us to swim. However, English Bay is good for sunbathing and relaxing, and the nearby Cactus Club Café offers pleasant indoor and outdoor seating.

english bay


english bay


english bay


english bay 


English Bay is hardly visited by tourists because of the café. Crowd-pullers include the A-maze-ing Laughter sculpture park and the Inukshuk Monument.

A-maze-ing Laughter at Morton Park

The “amazing, fantastic laughter” features 14 larger-than-life bronze statues of happy men with Asian facial features. Chinese artist Yue Minjun installed the Laughing Ones as part of the Vancouver International Sculpture Biennale in 2009. 

Inukshuk Monument

The memorial, made of gray granite stones, draws on the traditions of the Inuits in northern Canada. The indigenous people set up such waymarks to provide orientation assistance to strangers and seafarers. Such symbols were alien to the First Nations settling in the Vancouver area. The Canadian District Government of the Northwest Territories had commissioned the work of art for their pavilion at the world exhibition Expo 86. The following year, it was placed in Vancouver's care and placed in its current location.

Morton Park - Sculpture Group A-maze-ing Laughter


Morton Park - Sculpture Group A-maze-ing Laughter


Inukshuk Monument


Inukshuk Monument 


From the height of the Inukshuk Monument, the Burrard Street Bridge, opened in 1932, can be seen very well. The more than 800 meter long truss bridge is crossed by more than 50.000 vehicles and countless cyclists and pedestrians every day.

Burrard Street Bridge

Burrard Street Bridge


The following day we begin our Alaska cruise Norwegian Sun. We will remember Vancouver positively as a port of embarkation.

Update February 2024