It’s bigger than Central Park in New York City, and contains more than 27 kilometers of forest trails winding through about half a million trees. It became the first park in Vancouver when it was opened in 1888, but its history is much longer than that as the land has been used for thousands of years by First Nations people. It contains a miniature railway, the Vancouver Aquarium, Malkin Bowl, four restaurants, tennis courts, gardens, playgrounds, beaches, a pool, a spray park, a pitch and putt golf course and a whole lot more. About eight million people visit it each year, including countless Vancouverites. We are talking, of course, about Stanley Park, which is arguably the most beloved park in the Lower Mainland.
Kid-Friendly Stanley Park
If you grew up in or around Vancouver you likely have fond memories of visits to Stanley Park in your youth. If you grew up someplace else, you’ll have the joy of discovering the park for the first time with your kids. Whether you’re a park regular or you’re planning your first visit we bet there are a few things you don’t know about the park. Read on for some fun trivia about this great local destination.
Who Needs the Cup?
Stanley Park was named for the Governor General of Canada in 1888, Lord Frederick Stanley. That’s the same Lord Stanley that the Stanley Cup was named for … but that wasn’t commissioned until 1892. That means the park is not only much bigger than the cup, but it also has prior claim to the name. We want the Canucks to win as much as the next person, but Stanley Park almost makes up for Vancouver’s long drought.
The Logging of Stanley Park
Cutting down trees in Stanley Park is viewed as almost blasphemous by most Vancouverites today. However, before it was a park, the site was logged from 1860-1880. Brockton Point was cleared for a sawmill, though it was never built there, and many of the trails that park visitors enjoy today were originally logging skid roads.
While Stanley Park wasn’t opened until 1888, it was the first order of business when the new City of Vancouver council met on May 12, 1886. Council passed a resolution to ask the Dominion Government to give the peninsula known as the Government Reserve to the city to “be used by the inhabitants of said City of Vancouver as a park”. We’re glad they had their priorities straight.
Nine O’Clock Gun
Last summer as two Vancouver Mom team members were enjoying a Theatre Under the Stars show they were jarred by the sound of a gunshot. It took them a second to realize it was the Nine O’Clock Gun, which is now fired each night with an electric trigger. The gun was originally cast almost 200 years ago in 1816 in Woolwich, England. It was installed in Stanley Park in June, 1894. Why is it fired each night? While there are theories, no one knows for sure why it started.
What is your favourite thing about Stanley Park?
Amber Strocel is a writer, aspiring math teacher, suburbanite, wife and mom of two. She believes in the power of the Internet to connect people, and she believes that numbers are the poetry of the universe. You can often find her knitting, sewing, volunteering, working in her garden, and sneaking chocolate when no one's looking. She blogs at Strocel.com and shares her photos on Instagram as @AmberStrocel.