When you think of sites to see while traveling, visiting a park probably doesn’t come to mind. When it comes to Vancouver, a city whose goal is to be the Greenest City by 2020, a park is not something to be taken lightly. That’s why I decide to make Stanley Park a priority when I arrive the hostel I’m staying at in the West End. Although most people would opt to take a bus, after sitting the majority of the day, I decide to stretch my legs for several blocks. Looking around at the mix of new and renovated homes and apartments full of character and charm, I’m glad I chose to walk. It’s clear the West End, also known for being the gay neighborhood, is full of people who care about the area and have made it their home for life. I can’t help but begin to feel an affinity for the West End and consider looking at the price of available rentals, but I can hear the ocean waves calling as I reach the edge of the neighborhood. Before long, I’m at my destination, Stanley Park: where beach meets garden.
Even if that sounds like an odd combination, it meshes together in Stanley Park, showcasing the best of both worlds. Since I missed out on roses in full bloom at Buchart Gardens, I am determined to find blossoms as I head to Stanley Park’s Rose Garden. You might think maneuvering your way around a park would be relatively easy, but Stanley Park encompasses more than patches of grass. I find myself wandering through the Rhododendron Display Garden, along a lake, and the edge of a harbor before I find the path to the Rose Garden. Luckily, rose bushes catch my eyes as I approach a roundabout before I veer too far away.
Carefully arranged sections of rose bushes arranged by color along with wooden archways covered with climbing roses, thrive in the garden area. Colors of peach, yellow, white, and fuchsia cascade across the thorny bushes. I find myself taking multiple macro shots of each bunch of petals, eager to capture the perfect close-up. What I missed in Victoria, I made up for in Vancouver.
The next day I return to Stanley Park, but this time I change routes to the seaside along English Bay Beach. There’s still bicyclists along the route and an occasional Rollerblader breezes by, taking me back to my middle school days in the 90s. This end of the park has more people as I pass a swimming pool with families and friends on vacation, eager to soak in the sun. At times it’s strange to think that yesterday I was walking my way through dirt trails, carved out of the grass, but today I’m strolling along waves sliding around the rocks of the beach. Ready for a break, I put my camera away and watch the setting sun.
It might sound crazy or impossible to say you can find the perfect beach and garden mix in Canada, but that’s why I travel. There are preconceived notions about any place, but you really don’t know the truth until you experience a location for yourself. Did I think a city in Canada could provide the best of two different environments in one location? I had no idea, and that’s why I had to explore Stanley Park.
What places did you discover something you didn’t expect to find?
This post is a part of The Weekly Postcard hosted by Travel Notes & Beyond and Weekend Wanderlust hosted by A Brit & A Southerner, A Southern Gypsy, Eat Work Travel, Justin Plus Lauren and One Modern Couple.