Vancouver’s Top 5 Outdoor & Wildlife Experiences
By: Mike Jerrard
Since Vancouver has the highest population density of any Canadian city and fourth highest in North America, one might expect to find it difficult to experience the great outdoors and experience nature here. The truth is that Vancouver, British Columbia, offers many options for outdoor recreation.
The city has gone to great lengths to make itself known as one of the cleanest, most livable, and highest quality of life cities in the world. Here are just some of the incredible attractions it has to offer, all within easy reach of Vancouver’s best hotels.
A top of the line marine research and rehabilitation center, the Vancouver Aquarium is Canada’s largest. It may have been the first aquarium in the world to capture and display an orca, however they have come a long way since those days as they no longer capture wild animals. They now study captive animals that cannot survive in the wild and rehabilitate and release those that are suitable.
Visitors will find all kinds of animals including dolphins, whales, sea otters, seals, birds, hundreds of fish, birds, and thousands of invertebrates. The aquarium operates many conservation programs including Ocean Wise, Marine Mammal Rescue and Rehabilitation, and the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.
As Vancouver’s largest park, Stanley showcases the area’s beautifully forested areas made up of half a million trees that date back centuries. You’ll find the Aquarium and Seawall within the park as well as miles of hiking trails, beaches, gardens, and an oval for outdoor sports. Wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy spotting beavers and water birds such as the Great Blue Heron.
Extending some 22 kilometers from Coal Harbour to Kitsilano Beach Park, the very popular Seawall makes its way around the perimeter of Stanley Park. It is used by pedestrians, bicyclists, and inline skaters. The pathway is so popular for outdoor recreation that every year clashes erupt between the various types of outdoor recreation types all desiring sole use of the trail for reasons such as safety. Designated lanes are marked however care must still be taken during busy times as people cannot seem to get enough of the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path.
John Hendry Park
A beautiful park for swimming, biking, hiking, and even ice skating, Trout Lake as the park is also know is a beautiful retreat within the city. Trout Lake is a popular spot for swimming with its sandy beach and restricted boating and dog owners will love the large off leash dog park on the north end of the park.
VanDusen Botanical Garden
Open every day but Christmas, the gardens are home to mazes loved by children as well as carved totem poles showcasing Canada’s indigenous heritage. The gardens are easily accessible from anywhere in Vancouver making it a great escape from the downtown traffic. The gardens are also home to the beautiful fine dining Shaughnessy Restaurant as well as a cafe and garden themed store.
VanDusen Gardens: Photo By Chris
With an eye toward preserving green spaces that dates back to the 1950s, Vancouver has long realized the importance of providing its inhabitants and visitors with ample outdoor opportunities. They serve as living proof that high population density does not mean having to sacrifice outdoor adventure or the calming effects of nature.