Photo credit: Ted McGrath | Flickr
Weekend warriors, daily boot camp buffs, and those inclined to enjoy more than a leisurely stroll through Stanley Park's massive urban green space have a multitude of athletic options. While many of the facilities are operated by local clubs - both public and private - there are still plenty of ways to take advantage of the park either as an athlete or spectator.
For golfers, the Stanley Park Pitch & Putt offers a beautifully sculpted par-54, 1,200-yard golf course that winds through mature trees along English Bay. The course also borders the Rhododendron Garden, with its delicate pink, purple, red and yellow blooms. The course is free of hazards, and holes range in length from 40 to 100 yards. There is also an 18-hole putting green suitable for golfers of all ages. Club rentals are available in the pro shop.
Near the Beach Avenue entrance of the park 17 tennis courts are open on a first-come, first-served basis, and there are another four courts near the Lost Lagoon Nature House. Most of the courts are free, although six can be booked in advance for a small fee during the busy summer season.
The facilities run by the local sporting clubs include everything from lawn bowling to tennis and yachting. While often closed to public use, events and competitions make for great spectating. Perhaps the most nostalgic sign of the park's long history with sports is the Brockton Pavilion. First opened in 1927, and having undergone a major restoration in 1984, the beautiful landmark serves both the rugby and cricket communities that use the nearby fields. The clubhouse is situated next to the Brockton Oval Athletic Fields, which have been a part of the park since 1891. This complex features a track with a field inside the oval, as well as cricket pitches operated by the Brockton Point Cricket Club.
The Stanley Park Lawn Bowling Club maintains perfectly groomed fields near the tennis courts on English Bay. Beginners are welcome and an annual membership fee grants access to the fields, practice and lessons, and more.
The Vancouver Rowing Club has been taking to the waters near the park since the beginning of the 1900s. The rowing club operates out of a floating heritage building in the park. The non-profit oversees more than just rowing, including rugby, cricket, yachting, jogging, tennis and field hockey clubs.