A short visit to Vancouver and I was blessed to be greeted with a beautiful blue day. I’m quite a passionate walker and need no encouragement to put on my boots and head out for a wander.
Today I’m heading for Stanley Park located in the West End neighbourhood, just minutes from downtown Vancouver.
Stanley Park is a very popular place for cyclists, walkers, runners, etc. So close to the city centre it’s a great place to escape the hustle and bustle for a while.
Lots of people choose to cycle the 8.8km seawall, but I’m taking a more leisurely option today.
I was not disappointed. Birds large and small were out in force too. Before the walk around, lets take a look at some of the animals I encountered.
Great Blue Herons
I saw lots of Herons today; I thought they were quite a rarity but I found out that a largest urban colony in North America of the great blue heron has made Stanley Park its home.
I guess there are rich pickings for them in this area. There is plenty of fish for their diets here outside the park. They don’t have to go far.
Yes the Pacific Great Blue Heron is an endagered species and it is easy to be fooled into thinking they are not here. There are around 180 nests here in Stanley Park and that sounds healthy but worldwide they are relatively rare.
A bit further on I found a path that lead to the Lost Lagoon. Crossing over a small footbridge I noticed a solitary Heron patiently watching and waiting to dive for its prey, around the next bend there was a little island with a couple of Herons on it totally oblivious to people passing by.
After a short distance on the walk I spotted a couple of black squirrels.
What caught my attention was a very strange sound coming from some undergrowth which turned out to be a grey squirrel.
I’m not sure whether he was encroaching on their territory but he was definitely not welcome and made a sharp exit up a tree very close to where I was standing.
I crouched down and was mesmerised by the antics of the black squirrels, almost playing hide and seek with each other.
The Black Squirrels you see here in Stanley Park are technically a morphed form of the Eastern Grey Squirrel. An anomaly occurred in the colour genes at some point and created a black version of the grey squirrel.
These squirrels were introduced to the park in 1909 as gifts from various cities in the US. Rumour says they were a gift from the mayor of New York at the time.
Back home in the UK we are well aware the impact these invasive grey squirrels have had on the native red squirrel population.
This was a thickly wooded section. Suddenly I stopped dead in my tracks, right in front of me was another black squirrel just minding his own business and munching on a nut.
Yes, I was in Canada and yes I was definitely going to see lots of Canada Geese.
There are thousands and thousands of them that live in Vancouver and to tourists they are quirky and a local feature but to locals and authorities they can be quite the pest.
They block traffic, cause damage to the parks, dig holes, leave dropping all over public spaces and monuments and the list goes on. Please refrain from feeding and encouraging them.
The Walk Of Stanley Park
My walk start point was at the opposite side to my normal route. I headed down towards the bridge that takes you to Granville Park and turned right to join the path along the waterfront.
The sun had not long risen and the light was stunning. Lots of people choose to cycle the 8.8km seawall, but I’m taking a more leisurely walking option today.
I walked past the marina on the way to the park, lots of stunning boats moored up and with the water almost like a mill pond it was a good opportunity to get the camera out.
A bit further along you come to the heritage building belonging to the Vancouver Rowing Club (VRC), officially opened in September 1911.
As you can imagine, I was here in Autumn and the colours were something else. All shades of red, burnt orange through to yellow.
If you know this area then you’ll have seen the seaplane’s taking off and landing, it’s quite a sight. With tours to the capital city Victoria, Whistler, Nanaimo etc. or for a 45 minute sightseeing trip that circles the skyline and the surrounding mountainous coastal islands the choice is yours.
There’s a very healthy shipping channel too so all in all it makes for a challenging time for both the pilot’s of the Ships and the Planes!
I eventually got to Beaver Lake, the place that many head to in the centre of the park.
I soon realised that this was a place where keen nature and wildlife photographers like to come. There were quite a few people with amazing equipment, tripods and lenses to match.
I didn’t want to disturb their time so having taken some photo’s of the beautiful water lilies which were introduced for the Queen’s Jubilee in 1938, I swiftly and quietly moved on.
I came upon the unmistakeable Siwash Rock. A 32 million year old pillar of rock over 15 m high with the tree on top.
There is a Squamish legend attached to the rock. A tale where ‘Skalsh the Unselfish’ was turned into the rock as an ‘indestructible monument to Clean Fatherhood’. A story by the First Americans teaching people on earth to be kind and good.
I could spend days and days walking around Stanley Park in Vancouver and still never get to see it all and the beauty and interesting things it harbours.
I will be back again for sure so watch this space for updates.