Vancouver’s beloved Stanley Park is much more than just a park

Updated June 2023 with exciting news!

Stanley Park is now considered to be one of the top attractions in the world! This is quite an honour and is according to TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice – Best of the Best Things to Do. This isn’t the first time Stanley Park has received a TripAdvisor award, see number 5 below for more details on this.

These awards are given to experiences and attractions “with a high volume of above-and-beyond reviews and opinions from our community over a 12-month period. Fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor’s 8 million listings are awarded Best of the Best, signifying the highest level of excellence in travel,”

TripAdvisor

This award puts Stanley Park in Vancouver among other world-famous sites including the Eiffel Tower, the Trevi Fountain, and the Acropolis. We’re blushing over here 😊

Established in 1887, there are many interesting facts about Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC that you may not already know. A top tourist destination, as well as thoroughly enjoyed by Vancouverites, Stanley Park is a popular place to visit.

Approximately 8 million people traipse through the park every year. Some of you likely already know about its imported squirrels and artificial lagoon and that it was named after Lord Stanley of Stanley Cup fame.

What are the hours for Stanley Park in Vancouver?

All of Vancouver’s parks, including Stanley Park, are open from 6 am until 10 pm. The washrooms are open from dusk until dawn. There is no entrance fee to Stanley Park, it’s free. You will have to pay to park, but that’s it.

Fun facts about Stanley Park in Vancouver

1. Stanley Park is larger than Central Park

Have you ever wondered how many acres is Stanley Park? Anyone who has ever walked the length of Central Park in New York City might be surprised to learn that Stanley Park is significantly larger in size.

Stanley Park is just over 1000 acres (405 hectares) to Central Park’s 840 acres (340 hectares). The seawall on the outskirts of the park stretches 8.8 km and is a very scenic walk or bike ride.

You might also be surprised to learn that Stanley Park is larger than downtown Vancouver! The downtown core is 914 acres (370 hectares), just a smidge larger than Central Park. One can easily walk the length of the downtown core of Vancouver in no time at all. I’ve done it several times myself.

In fact, to gather some of the photographs in this post, I rode my bike from one end of Vancouver to the other and back home again.

View of Stanley Park and Vancouver City from the water
View of Stanley Park and downtown Vancouver City as seen while cruising the Burrard Inlet.

2. Stanley Park boasts Canada’s largest aquarium

Not only is the Vancouver Aquarium Canada’s first aquarium, but it is also the largest aquarium in the country. The aquarium is not-for-profit and does not capture wild animals.

They operate a number of conservation and research programs whose aim is to understand and preserve animal species in the wild. Their Ocean Wise Seafood program promotes sustainable seafood and you will see this logo at numerous Vancouver restaurants.

Bonus interesting fact about Stanley Park: the song Baby Beluga was inspired by a beluga whale that Raffi saw during a visit to the Vancouver Aquarium.

3. The historic 9 o’clock gun is now illegal

Prime Minister Trudeau’s latest firearm ban inadvertently made the historic 9 o’clock gun an illegal weapon. Nothing has yet been reported on whether or not it gets to stay, although I sincerely hope it does. The 9 o’clock gun still fires every night.

The 12-pound cannon was manufactured in 1816, making it an iconic part of both the park and history. Here’s hoping it’s left alone where it belongs, in Stanley Park where it’s been firing almost daily for over 100 years.

The 9 o'clock gun on the seawall
The historic 9’o clock gun in Stanley Park still fires every night

4. You can see Canada’s national animal

If you’re lucky, you can actually see beavers swimming in Beaver Lake, but it wasn’t always this way. Canada’s national animal disappeared for years and didn’t return to the lake until 2008, after a 60-year hiatus.

Beavers can be seen in both Lost Lagoon and Beaver Lake, typically during dusk and dawn when they are most active. Unfortunately, the day I rode the 1.1 km loop around the lake to take pictures, I didn’t see one. I did however see a raccoon, a squirrel and these lovely ducks pictured below.

Ducks swimming in Beaver Lake
You can walk or ride a 1 km loop around Beaver Lake.

5. Stanley Park was named the world’s top park

Stanley Park is so popular that it earned the title of ‘top park in the entire world‘ by TripAdvisor in 2014. This Travelers’ Choice award is based on millions of opinions and reviews from TripAdvisor travellers. It’s easy to see why it snagged the top spot.

This densely forested park is home to approximately half a million trees as well as four restaurants, an aquarium, an outdoor swimming pool, a water park, totem poles, two beaches, a lagoon, and a lake, plus a rose garden and much, much more.

Flowers at the entrance to Stanley Park in Vancouver
The picturesque entrance to Lost Lagoon and Stanley Park

Conclusion – Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC Canada

For more pictures of Stanley Park, check out the video of Lost Lagoon I shared on my Instagram feed. There is SO much to see and do that you can easily spend the entire day exploring and enjoying all the park has to offer.

Stanley Park is also a great place to take pictures. Several of the most Instagrammable places in Vancouver are in this park. Be sure to check them all out, especially the Totem Poles. Another interesting fact about Stanley Park is that Totem poles are unique to the Northwest Coast and Alaska.

And there you have it, a few lesser-known interesting facts about Stanley Park in Vancouver. I’m curious, how many of these were news to you?

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Reasons to visit Stanley Park, Vancouver
Fun facts about Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada