Stanley Park is recognized around the globe as one of the great parks of the world! Vancouver’s first park and one of the city’s main tourist attractions, Stanley Park is an evergreen oasis of 400 hectares close to the downtown core. Its natural west coast atmosphere offering a back drop of majestic cedar, hemlock and fir trees embraces visitors and transports them to an environment rich in tranquility. The park abounds in wildlife and its features appeal to the naturalist, the plant lover or one who would do nothing more than relax in beautiful surroundings. There is always something happening in the park.
In Painters’ Circle, landscape artists offer the public a chance to visit an outdoor gallery with many different styles on display. The painters demonstrate their techniques to strollers and are happy to chat with park visitors. All works displayed are for sale and are the original work of the artists on-site. Closer to the Vancouver Aquarium, portrait artists draw pictures and caricatures of park visitors while they sit. Black and white or full colour, the portraits take only minutes and are prized souvenirs for many.
Theatre Under The Stars
Known by its more familiar and shorter moniker, TUTS, this theatre company, in one guise or another, has called Malkin Bowl home since 1934. That was the year former Vancouver Mayor W.H. Malkin dedicated the band shell to the memory of his late wife Marion. It should be noted that the Bowl sits on the former site of one of the park’s first entertainment gazebos. Through its long history the Bowl has seen additions, fires and reconstructions while spotlighting some of Canada’s best home-grown thespians.
Almost from the park’s inception, early pioneers were thinking of beautification on a scale that included as many varieties of plants, trees and shrubs as were available on the market. It is important to remember that the latter part of the 19th Century brought a tremendous interest in exotic plant species that were being brought into wider cultivation by the exploring, great plant hunters. This too was a booming time for conservatories and glass houses where tender plant treasures from around the world, such as orchids and palms, were finding their way into the Victorian home. Early Vancouverites also wanted to prove that the Pacific Northwest could support the finer side of horticulture.
Stanley Park was the heart of horticultural operations where nursery plants were grown in a series of greenhouses for bedding-out throughout the flourishing park system. In 1929 the Park Board secured a larger nursery site at Sunset Park and moved its major growing operation to that location. However, a number of glasshouses remained, near to where the rose arbors are now, as floral display facilities for the visiting public. These buildings were removed in the early 1960s.
Rose and Perennial Beds
The Stanley Park Rose Garden was first established by the Kiwanis Club in 1920 “to demonstrate the possibilities of rose culture in Vancouver”. The number of roses have increased during the ensuing years with over 3500 plants now on display. A stylish westcoast-inspired arbor sports a charming combination of early blooming old-fashioned rose varieties sharing space with numerous clematis plants giving this structure more than one season of blowsy bloom.
Large floral display beds slope down toward the causeway and up to the Stanley Park Pavilion area with mass plantings of perennials and annuals in summer, and bulbs in springtime. This is the park’s epicentre of bloom between June and October and in late March and April.
The newest horticultural addition to Vancouver’s premier greenspace is the Stanley Park Community Garden, constructed in the summer of 2003 and located near the tennis courts at the foot of Alberni Street. This garden includes 30 individual flower plots cared for by West End residents along with a demonstration garden of plants native to British Columbia. The native plant garden will provide people with practical information and real life examples of the beauty and utility of returning their own backyards to native habitats.
This cooperative project is a Park Partners Project created primarily through the efforts of volunteers and managed jointly by the West End Residents’ Association and the Stanley Park Ecology Society .
The Shakespeare Garden
Nestled between the Rose Garden and the forest in Stanley Park, the Shakespeare Garden pays homage to the bard. The garden is a diverse arboretum that includes trees mentioned in his plays and poems.
The prominent feature of this garden is the Shakespeare monument. It is secluded on the north side of the area. There are about 45 trees that form the arboretum that accompanies the monument. Trees designated from the works of Shakespeare have been affixed with plaques that display their appropriate quotes. These Shakespeare trees are integrated throughout the arboretum for visitors to find as they explore the garden.
Finding a variety of good food in Stanley Park is fast and easy. Park restaurants like the Prospect Point Café, the Sequoia Grill at Ferguson Point, Stanley’s Park Bar and Grill at the Stanley Park Pavilion and The Fish House offer the best of all worlds – fine dining combined with classic park ambience and sea and mountain views. Find menus and more online or by calling these restaurants directly.
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