Dear Reader, You are starting or ending an Alaska cruise in Vancouver, Canada. Given the 8.000 kilometers between Germany and Vancouver, wouldn't it be nice to spend a few more days in the city to get to know it better? In the following we would like to introduce you to a day tour that we tested in September 2017.
Cruise ships at Vancouver cruise terminal
This time we will report on Stanley Park, Vancouver and Canada's largest city park, and we will also visit 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 comes out regularly; best conditions to see the recommended stations.
Visit North Vancouver by SeaBus
We start our tour 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
On Lonsdale Quay, in the Quayside Plaza, a few shops, restaurants, snack bars and two viewing platforms await us. They offer a wonderful view of downtown Vancouver and the cruise ships gathered there, as well as the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge, which is further away. The steel bridge placed at the second narrow point of the bay is one of the most famous in Vancouver.
Lonsdale Quay is on a marina. The suburb's skyscrapers tower behind it, and to the east, behind the houses, extends the mountain range of the North Shore Mountains with the Grouse Mountain ski area and Mount Seymour.
View from Lonsdale Quay / North Vancouver
Various bus routes lead overland from the underground bus station on the quayside back to Vancouver. We take the 242 bus. On days like this, the inexpensive CAD 10 Day Pass from the regional transport company Translink pays off.
On its journey, the bus passes extensive residential areas with one family home. Warnings of stray black bears hang on the lamp posts. Incredible: in the suburbs of a large city with a population of 630.000 people are warned about black bears!
Lion's Gate Bridge
The bus passes the Lions Gate suspension bridge and follows the four-lane Highway 99 through Stanley Park. As can be read, the construction costs of the bridge were pre-financed by the Guinness brewing family. However, this was not done out of pure altruism, but in order to be able to develop a 16 square kilometer plot of land owned by the brewers in the west of Vancouver. By the way, the cruise ships come under the bridge when entering or leaving.
Lion's Gate Bridge
To change to Stanley Park, get off the bus at Devonian Harbor Park. From there it is only a few hundred steps to the 405 hectare landscape park. Admission is not charged.
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, an overwater walking trail, surrounds the peninsula. In addition, many paths cut through the terrain. The maps even show two stretches of beach. You have to live in Vancouver to take advantage of the diverse range of attractions the park has to offer.
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.
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.
A curiosity is the sculpture “Girl in a Wetsuit” placed on a rock in the water. By and large, she resembles the Copenhagen mermaid. Its creator emphasizes that he has never seen the "Little Mermaid" before. The young lady in the wetsuit is not plagiarism.
Girl in a wetsuit
The offer of the park administration also includes contemplative tours in horse-drawn carriage. In summer, at Easter, over Halloween and at Christmas, a miniature train runs over two kilometers. Bicycles can be rented anywhere in Vancouver; Bicycles are also allowed on the park's paved roads. And of course there is also enough to eat in the park.
Horse drawn carriage in Stanley Park
If you prefer convenience, take the 019 bus line to get out of the park. You get on at the Stanley Park Loop.
Stanley Park Loop
We consider English Bay to be one of the most beautiful sandy beaches in Vancouver. The approximately 300 meter long stretch of beach is located in the West End district between Morton Avenue and Bidwell Street. The cool Pacific doesn't invite us to swim. English Bay is good for sunbathing and relaxing, and the nearby Cactus Club Café has nice indoor and outdoor seating.
English Bay beach
English Bay is hardly visited by tourists for the café. The crowd pullers are the A-maze-ing Laughter sculpture park and the Inukshuk Monument.
Park on English Bay
The “amazing, fantastic laughter” shows 14 oversized bronze statues of happy men with Asian facial features. A Chinese artist came up with the laughing ones.
A Maze-ing Laughter
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.
Inukshuk Memorial on English Bay
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
The next day we start our Alaska cruise with the Norwegian Sun. We will always remember Vancouver as a port of embarkation.
Update April 2021