Friday, November 29, 2013

Vancouver's Jewel - Stanley Park

 West of the Downtown area, a beautiful natural setting. . .

Prospect Point, late 1800s, Stanley Park, Archival photo, VC

In the late 1800s. . .

The 1000-acre (400+ hectare) park originated as a First Nations Reserve on First Narrows, one of the crossings between the Lower Mainland and the North Shore of Vancouver, BC. In the photo above, the figures are looking across to North Vancouver

One of the first resolutions of the Vancouver council in 1886 was to petition the federal government to turn the 'Reserve on First Narrows' (an aboriginal settlement) into a public park. In September 1888, Stanley Park opened, leased by the Federal Government and named after the Governer-General at the time, Lord Stanley of Preston. It was meant to stay a nature park, to offset the hustle and bustle of city life, and to remind the citizens of the beauty that surrounds Vancouver.


In 1938, the Lions Gate Bridge was opened to connect Vancouver to the North Shore, via a causeway through the park.

The Lions Gate Bridge, circa 1940s, Archives,Stanley Park

From the park level above, looking down at the approach to the Lions Gate Bridge. Those mountains on the other side are on the North Shore.

Causeway to Lions Gate Bridge, Vancouver, by DG Hudson

One of the representative lions, below, indicates where the Lions Gate Bridge goes beneath.

Lions over the bridge in Stanley Park, by DG Hudson

The terms, the 'Lions Gate' refers to The Lions, a pair of mountain peaks north of Vancouver. Northbound traffic heads in their direction. Two lions stationed at the pillars where the bridge begins, also remind us of the name of the bridge.


Stanley Park Seawall, circa 1930s

Then. . .

Stanley Park Seawall, Park Archival Image, Vancouver

And Now. . .

A beautiful walkway which follows the seashore line of Burrard Inlet and the park drive. Stanley Park's Seawall is one of Vancouver's best known locations and is used daily by walkers, runners, skaters, flaneurs, etc. This is an ideal spot for photo ops.

Stanley Park Seawall, Vancouver, BC, by DG Hudson

You might see the occasional politician from back east trying to catch a bit of sun while walking or jogging at English Bay or on the Seawall! We saw one of these rare creatures this summer. They tend to travel with an entourage and attract media.


A little background. . .

Before the park was created, there were others who lived here. . .

Siwash Rock family, Stanley Pk, Vancouver City Archives

Archaeological evidence suggests a human presence in the park dating back 3000 years or more. Unfortunately, creating the park displaced the aboriginal tribes which first populated this area. Fourteen archeological sites were registered, per a UBC professor, as evidence of human settlement prior to the Europeans. Much of this historical evidence was found when excavating the areas selected for the Aquarium, Second Beach and other new additions to the park.


Freighters in Burrard Inlet, seen from Stanley Park.

Vancouver BC View from Stanley Park, by DG Hudson

Designated a national historic site of Canada, Stanley Park today consists of green forests with old growth trees, two distinct beach areas, First Nations totems, sports ovals, picnic areas and tennis courts. Scenic views of the surrounding mountains and cityscapes blend into a west coast panorama.

In honor of Stanley Park celebrating 125 years. . .

This post is Part I of a series about Stanley Park, using my own photos in comparison with archival images of the early days in Vancouver. More to come.

Inspired by an excellent special feature on the history of the park in the Vancouver Sun newspaper. The Vancouver Sun, Westcoast News, Saturday, August 17, 2013, Stanley Park, the natural wonder. . . since 1888. Byline: John Mackie. His in-depth articles provide more information.


Ever heard of or visited Stanley Park in Vancouver? Do you know of a similar city park in your area? Have any of your parks suffered damage from rainstorms, windstorms, fire or lightning?

Please share in the comments, and thanks for dropping by. I'm always listening.


Stanley Park

Stanley Park birthday - 125 years

Stanley Park story - including Images

wiki for Stanley Park

Lions Gate Bridge