Sightseeing Spots

stanleyparkguide

One of Stanley Park's most fascinating attractions (and one of the most-visited tourist attractions in British Columbia) is the renowned totem-pole display at Brockton Point. Begun in the early 1920s with just four totems from Vancouver Island's Alert Bay region, the display grew over the decades to include totems from the Queen Charlotte Islands and Rivers Inlet (on British Columbia's central coast). Some of the original totem poles were carved as early as the late 1880s and have been sent to museums for preservation; others were commissioned or loaned to the park between 1986 and 1992.

Nearby is another example of fabulous First Nation art in the form of the Coast Salish Gateways. Three carved gateways serve as the Brockton Point Visitor Centre entry and were created by Susan Point, a Coast Salish artist, and installed in June 2008. They are fashioned after traditional Coast Salish architecture style.

The Brockton Point Lighthouse can be seen from various points along the Seawall, but it is the views offered from the point that are truly some of the best in the park. Gaze at Burrard Inlet and Lions Gate Bridge or just watch the myriad cruise ships slip past while standing next to one of the Port of Vancouver’s two lighthouses — the other is in Lighthouse Park. This historic building has been standing since 1914. Beware of the nearby 9 O'clock Gun, which is fired (safely and) electronically at 9pm daily. Despite warning lights, it’s been known to startle a few. The gun was delivered from England in 1894 and was used by mariners to set chronometers and warn fishers of closings.

One of the Seawall's quirkiest sites and a worthwhile stop is a stone statue of a Girl in a Wetsuit floating in the water. The life-sized statue is situated atop a large boulder, so when the tide is high it almost looks as if she is floating in the water.

Jubilee Fountain was built in the middle of the Lost Lagoon as a part of Vancouver's Golden Jubilee anniversary celebrations in 1936. There was some controversy at the time whether the hefty price tag was worthwhile. It would appear so some 80 years later, as the centerpiece continues to spout water in brilliant fashion and even gets decorated as a Christmas tree each holiday season.

There is also a collection of monuments throughout Stanley Park. Lumberman’s Arch is a photogenic archway constructed of massive logs to honour British Columbia’s lumber industry. Shakespeare Garden features a memorial for the Bard and numerous trees that were mentioned in his works. Also, the SS Empress of Japan Figurehead is a beautiful replica of the ship’s figurehead that sailed between Vancouver and the Orient from 1891–1922.

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