Beyond Stanley Park: Underrated Parks and Green Spaces in Vancouver
We love Stanley. Vancouver's favourite park, most famous green space, and family favourite was even named ‘top park in the entire world' by TripAdvisor in 2014—a deserving title. But, there are plenty of other hidden gems in Vancouver to explore. This year, we vow to branch out and see more of our fair city. Here are a few of our favourite underappreciated parks and green spaces.
Not only can community gardens be your little green oasis in a big, busy city, but they also provide the opportunity to teach kids about growing their own food. Plus: fresh snacks and getting dirty (Their favourite thing!). There are more than 75 community gardens in Vancouver. Our favourites: Cotton Community Gardens in Strathcona (it has a greenhouse, bee hive, children's play area and more), The Drive Community Garden on Commercial Drive (filled with colour—courtesy of all the fruits, vegetables and art!) and the Pine Street Community Gardens on West 6th (unique in the fact that it runs for two blocks along the railroad tracks, and, is one of Vancouver's only urban fruit orchards).
With over 240 parks in Vancouver, there is plenty of green space to explore! And, as much as we love Stanley Park and Trout Lake, there are some other hidden gems too. Our favourites: Choklit Park on 7th (a small park, with big views; and the former location of Purdy's Chocolate factory, hence the name!), the little park behind Roedde House Museum off Barclay in the West End (nice, quiet spot to read a book) and China Creek Park at 10th and Clark (filled with big, shady trees and lively playground and skate park).
Why not embrace outdoor space and learn something at the same time? Vancouver has plenty of public gardens that offer additional culture and education. Our favourites: the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden (home to beautiful Chinese architecture); adults $14, students $10, children under five are free), the VanDusen Botanical Garden (offers vibrant gardens, guided programming and a European-style hedge maze; adults $11.25, youth $8.50, children $5.75, kids under two are free) and the Nitobe Memorial Garden at the UBC Botanical Garden (complete with a traditional Japanese tea ceremony; prices range depending on whether you want access to the Botanical Garden, Memorial Garden and/or TreeWalk—we recommend all three!).
Sometimes, in order to find some green space in Vancouver, all you have to do is look up. Of course there's the popular green roof on the Vancouver Convention Centre, but there are a few spots accessible to the public too. Our favourites: St. Paul's Hospital at Burrard and Davie (over 100 planter boxes border the rooftop space), the Fairmont Waterfront's rooftop garden and apiary (there are free public tours daily at 3pm, from May to September) and the elevated gardens at Robson Square (take the stairs opposite the Art Gallery; bring some books and toys for the kiddos, a picnic and lounge for an afternoon). All three spaces have great views of the city and North Shore Mountains.
Image via CNN