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Vancouver: A Day in the City’s First and Largest Urban Park

In the summer of 2010, my father took me on an adventure. Sceneries changed dramatically as we went from country to country, hopping on and off planes and watching several sunsets in the same day as we flew to different destinations. Now before your mind conjures up a disproportionately large journey of a thousand border crossings and a million languages we didn’t understand, it wasn’t as fantastical as all that. It was real, subtle in the changes and yet felt all the same. Going from China to Canada to the north-western United States and back to the maple leaf country, we had our security line strategy down to a ‘T’ – wasting no time with spare change in our pockets or, when going in and out of the US, shoes on our feet.

On the Canadian portion of our trip, we visited Vancouver. A popular tourist site for its sunny climate, energetically athletic activities, and the seaside experience without scorching heatwaves to accompany it, it came as no surprise to us to find the city crowded with locals and tourists alike in the middle of July.

With only a few day’s left in British Columbia’s capital, we quickly made for a favourite spot of ours; Stanley Park. If you ever find yourself in Vancouver, it is not to be missed. A recreational space stretching 400 hectares, the first and largest recreational park in Vancouver has facilities suited to any and all. Running trails, beaches, gardens, playgrounds, and an aquarium are among Stanley Park’s fascinations. When we visited in the afternoon, the area was teeming with families, joggers, and people out soaking up the warm rays of the sun.

Walking on a trail that winded through a thicket of pine trees, their tall foliage shielded the worst of the summer heat, a cool breeze easing us along the path. Admittedly, with the lovely temperature I spent most of the summer neglecting to use sunscreen and came out with a surprising tan and a promise to myself to start protecting my skin more. We saw squirrels scamper from tree to tree, hurrying past our vision as they headed to shelter, to socialise, to do whatever squirrels do when we’re not looking.

Ending our day in Stanley Park with a visit to the Vancouver Aquarium, it was no surprise to see the facility filled with families and bright smiles. Children of all ages had eyes wide with wonder, their hands reaching out to touch the glass as they watched exotic creatures swim past them. What fascinated me most, and what always successfully captures my attention in aquariums, was the jellyfish display. The fact that something as fragile and ethereal-looking as jellyfish can and will effectively defend themselves has always inspired me, knowing that a person does not have to give up the softer sides of their nature to be strong.

Our shadows were only just beginning to elongate as we left the park, with plenty of sunlight left to enjoy our day.

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