Stanley Park in Canada
Larger than New York City's famed Central Park, and close to half the size of Richmond Park in London, Stanley Park in Vancouver, Canada, is counted among the great parks of the world, providing city dwellers with 400 hectares of unspoiled nature right on their doorstep. Wildlife abounds among the ancient and majestic cedar, hemlock and fir trees, while regular events and family-oriented attractions ensure that an outing to Stanley Park is always a memorable occasion.
The park was named after Lord Frederick Stanley, the governor of Canada at the time, and was officially opened on September 27, 1888. The following year Lord Stanley officially dedicated the park with the words now engraved on a stone plaque below his statue: "To the use and enjoyment of people of all colors, creeds and customs, for all time I name thee Stanley Park". And certainly with more than eight million visitors each year, Stanley Park continues to fulfill the Governor's vision.
Through the years there have been various developments in the park which, while providing a sound tourism infrastructure, have taken care to keep Stanley Park as an oasis of nature as Vancouver grew into the thriving metropolis it is today. In 1988 the park was declared to be a National Historic Site of Canada by the Canadian federal government, ensuring that it will remain an area for people to enjoy a wide range of activities, or simply to relax in beautiful surroundings. A network of trails through the park leads to diverse landscapes of rocky shores and beaches, as well as renowned landmarks, while opening up the opportunity to spot some resident wildlife, including skunks, squirrels, raccoons, coyotes, herons and eagles. The Stanley Park Ecology Society offers volunteering opportunities for young and old alike where participants are educated on how to protect the fragile balance between urban populations and nature.
Landmarks in Stanley Park includes a host of monuments marking significant events and honoring noteworthy individuals in Canada’s history. For example, the Nine o’clock Gun was cast in England way back in 1816 and was brought to Canada in 1894 where it was used for many years by mariners to set their chronometers for accurate celestial navigation. Hallelujah Point is the site where the Salvation Army used to hold prayer meetings, and the Harding Memorial commemorates the first visit to the area of a United States President. The Queen Victoria monument, consisting of steps leading up to a plaque set into stone, was erected to commemorate the monarch’s death, and there are monuments honoring two literary greats - Scottish poet Robert Burns and the legendary Bard, William Shakespeare.
Activities in the park include organized sports such as lawn bowling, tennis, cricket and pitch & putt golf, while open spaces are often venues for an impromptu game of soccer or baseball. Nature lovers will appreciate the stunning gardens found within the park, such as the Ted and Mary Greig Rhododendron garden and the community garden near Lost Lagoon. There can be no doubt that a visit to Stanley Park never fails to delight.