STANLEY PARK – Vancouver, BC – February 21, 2016
Our first adventure after landing in Vancouver was to find a place for lunch and to stretch our legs. Although the weather seemed a bit ominous, they were calling for rain for most of the day, we decided to venture out anyway. (who believes the weather man??) We were staying at the Hyatt hotel www.vancouver.hyatt.com on Burrard Street and they have umbrellas in the closet – BRILLIANT idea!
Stanley Park first opened in 1888. It is Vancouver’s first, largest, and most beloved urban park! Designated a national historic site of Canada, Stanley Park is a magnificent green oasis in the midst of the heavily built urban landscape of Vancouver. It is described on the website this way: “Explore the 400-hectare natural West Coast rainforest and enjoy scenic views of water, mountains, sky, and majestic trees along Stanley Park’s famous Seawall. Discover kilometres of trails, beautiful beaches, local wildlife, great eats, natural, cultural and historical landmarks, along with many other adventures. The park offers a wide range of unforgettable experiences for all ages and interests, including Canada’s largest aquarium.” http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/stanley-park.aspx
As we made our way to the Park, our first meeting was a large, old Western Red Cedar. We were in awe of it’s size and majesty.. little did we know that there would be much more to come. We were now in search of the largest tree that we could find in the park.
Our destination was The Teahouse in Stanley Park, known for it’s Sunday Brunches. We had already tried to call ahead to get a reservation, but we were told they could not take more reservations, but that we could just walk in and it would be a short wait.
We began walking around the west side of the park, and onto the famous seawall. The birds in the water looked like a cross between a duck and a common loon. Must find out. Several container ships were sitting out in English Bay waiting to go into the Port of Vancouver. We walked past Second Beach, the smell of the air was so pure and clean – fresh fish, seaweed and salt. It makes you feel healthier! AHHHH!
We continued walking about 1km on the seawall and around the next bend we came upon Third Beach, and found the stairs that take you up to The Teahouse.
In 1938 the Teahouse at Ferguson Point in Stanley Park was built as an officers mess for a military defense garrison at Ferguson Point. By 1940, a gun battery and bunker had been built at Ferguson Point, just east of Third Beach. The military also expanded its use of the park by closing the area around Ferguson Point and Third Beach, where it had established barracks for the battery detachment and was providing training. What is now the Teahouse restaurant was originally built as an officers’ mess. The bunker was buried and battery removed around the end of the war. After the war, the city operated it as a summer teahouse.
When we arrived, we were told that there would be a 30 minute wait and, if we liked, we could take a quick walk. However, since it was raining by then, we decided to just stand inside the door to wait for a table. Within about 15 minutes, they had a table ready. The best in the place! We sat right next to the old fireplace in the main room.
The Teahouse is known for it’s Egg Benedict, and today was no exception. The special this morning was Lobster and Eggs Benedict – 4oz lobster tail with 2 poached eggs and a steamed medley of broccoli rabe, green beans and asparagus tied in a leek. This was decadence at it’s best. Add a glass of prosecco or a mimosa and we were in heaven!
Stanley Park has over 27km of trails throughout the park, including a 10k Seawall around the outside edge. From the Teahouse, we began to walk east on the Lover’s trail. Here we were to see the largest Western Red Cedar trees yet.
It had begun to rain by this time, but down on the trail, it was not too bad. The trail meandered so that you were always looking around, anticipating what was to come around the next corner. The Red Cedars kept getting larger/older.
Then we spotted this amazing tree about 1km inland. Our only way to measure was by our arm-span. This was a “7-HUG TREE”. This tree is hundreds of years old and Elise is in awe of it. Also, along this trail, we noticed a lot of trees that had moss and lichen growing from it. We would find out later in the week that this is because the leaves and pine needles from above would land on the lower branches, the micro-organisms would turn it into a soil and the moss and ferns would begin to grow out of that. Just the fog/moisture and air is enough to feed and allow this moss to grow. Nature is truly AMAZING!
About 1km more, and we reached the walking bridge that passes over Hwy. 99, which passes right through the middle of Stanley Park to the Lion’s Gate Bridge and North Vancouver (and eventually to Whistler).
Once over the bridge, we walked around Beaver Lake Trail, where the canopy is much more open. We made our way out to Pipeline Road and walked back into the city and our hotel.
What a beautiful rainforest in the centre of the city. A real jewel for the people of Vancouver. A place for solitude and to appreciate nature to its fullest. Total hike today was 8.5km.