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While staying in Vancouver, I was fortunate enough to visit Stanley Park – several times.

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In the heart of downtown Vancouver, this lovely park is big and beautiful. The scenery is fantastic, the park is well maintained and there are plenty to see and do. You can go to the aquarium, see the totem poles, walk the sea wall, run/walk/cycle, catch a horse carriage or have a picnic. Positively, it is the perfect spot to spend a few hours in Vancouver to recharge the batteries and catch your breath after a long international flight. And the park is the perfect spot to feel the breeze, to reconnect with the trees, and to see many smiling faces.

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Created in 1888 Stanley Park is almost an island and covers many acres. It has a lake and beaches. There are trails all over where you can experience the birds, flowers, trees and the views. You can drive through, or take a long walk, or bike through it. While walking along the seawall, you can see North Vancouver and the Lionsgate Bridge. Stanley Park is one of Vancouver’s jewels. It is a 400-hectare park located on a peninsula near the downtown area of Vancouver.

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Lost Lagoon at the entrance is the favourite watering hole for the thousands of birds that grace the park. The old growth forest is circumvented by Park Drive and the sea wall where  you can take in the many beaches and lookouts.

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On my first visit we spent almost an entire day in the park exploring and then, for lunch we enjoyed a wonderful picnic in the park with a group of First Nations folks. After our fabulous picnic in the park, I chose to take an old fashioned horse drawn carriage ride which meandered for about an hour  through this thousand acre wonderland. This fully guided and narrated tour, stopping at many of the parks highlights was the perfect way for this weary traveller to explore and cover many kilometres of magnificence.

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Our tour lady was very informative not only on the history and sights in Stanley Park, but of our beautiful horses, who are very well care for. The tour was leisurely and we saw numerous major sites of the park. The 9 O’Clock Gun, Totem Poles, Seawall, beaches, Beaver Lake and Lost Lagoon, are just some of the highlights on this tour.

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The park is very well maintained and there was plenty of space wherever we went, The Totem Pole area and the various sculptures and buildings kept us entertained and educated, and the scenery is amazing, especially by the waters edge. The fact it is an island makes it even more special as it feels isolated, somewhere  nature can thrive, which I certainly felt when we walked around Beaver Lake. Yet when you walk to the water’s edge and look out across the water you realise you are right in the middle of Vancouver.

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Attractions in the open areas of the park include; a lovely rose garden, stunning cultivated garden beds, a miniature train ride, an outdoor theatre, and a display of First Nations totem poles. The park also contains sculptures, restaurants, magnificent views, and the Vancouver Aquarium.

I so enjoyed this wonderful park which is regarded as the “lungs of the city” for all its greenery and gardens, And it is free.