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What to do in Vancouver: Finding Nature in the City

What to do in Vancouver: Finding Nature in the City

deer lake park burnaby

Are you wondering what to do in Vancouver to really enjoy this summer? Imagine sitting on some soft green grass, watching light flickering through the leaves and listening to the peeping of small birds as they hop in and out of view. Nature is a balm that soothes the irritations of stressful days. Natural spaces also give bodies and legs room to stretch, run and jump. For families, spending time in nature is a great way to foster a child’s natural curiosity, lets them burn off some energy, and walking through a sunny meadow is a pretty nice way for parents to spend time as well. Here are some places where families can find nature in the midst of our urban lives.

Colony Farm Regional Park

Located in Coquitlam, Colony Farm is easy to get to from the city or from the ‘burbs. The trails are mostly smooth and flat, perfect for walking with kids or a stroller, and there’s a nice spot to watch for wildlife at the lookout where the Sheep Paddocks trail begins. The Pitt River is a great place to spot birds, insects and maybe even a frog or two. There’s also an interpretive centre and public washrooms.

Deer Lake Park

During the spring and early summer, the beach at Deer Lake in Burnaby is a great place to watch for Canada Goose families with fluffy goslings. Rent a canoe or paddleboat and enjoy an hour on the water, or spend the afternoon walking around the lake. The trail around Deer Lake takes you through many different kinds of nature: dark, shady forest, bright open meadows and marshy wetlands with wooden boardwalks. It’s hard to get bored when there’s always something new and different around the corner. Duck into the Shadbolt Centre to use the washrooms and grab a snack at the canteen.

Beaver Lake in Stanley Park

Wondering what to do in Vancouver itself? Stanley Park can be busier than some other local nature reserves, but on the plus side it’s transit accessible and the paths are all clearly marked. The trail around Beaver Lake is especially good for families with little kids because it’s only one kilometer long. We spotted lots of wildlife there one Sunday morning, including a few turtles sunning themselves on a log, a heron plucking fish out of the shallow water with his sharp beak and several trees bearing the evidence of the beavers the lake is named after.

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What to do in Vancouver

When it comes to what to do in Vancouver, spending time in nature is a great way to slow down and take life one moment at a time. Sit back and watch the birds gather insects for their nestlings, or busy wood bugs crawling to and fro. There is so much to see and witness beneath the fallen leaves and rocks in the forest. Let the email wait. The laundry will be there when you get back. The sunny meadow is beckoning.

Established in 2009, is an online resource providing urban, hyperlocal information on what to do and what's new for families in Metro Vancouver. 

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