Archive for the ‘Parks & Recreation’ Category

Exploring Vancouver’s West End. Part 4. Parks and play areas.

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

To end our series on the West End we will point you in the direction of the numerous parks in the district that you can enjoy. The parks and play areas in the West End vary in all shapes and sizes and appear in areas where you will least expect it, we want to make sure that you can get to enjoy these areas just as much as we do.

Green Space Parks within the West End
As built up as Vancouver seems to be you have to applaud the effort that has been made at integrating the Green spaces that seem to be dwindling from many other cities around the world.
As many people make their way into Vancouver for the first time you would not be wrong in thinking that the city just looks like it is a built up mass of Glass Skyscrapers, however, once you make your way to the West End area all is not what it seems. The West End has really done a great job with the immersion of nature and suburbia and many of the parks have their own unique style and charm, so we will guide you through them by starting with the smaller ‘hidden’ parks to the larger parks more well known parks in the area.

West End Garden Oasis among the Streets and Lanes.
Before we head to the larger parks in the area, take a small wander around the West End and look out for some of the many Bike Paths that connect the small streets to the more larger Streets that criss- cross the area, along some of these pathways you will come across cute mini gardens that are dotted all over the city. These areas are surprisingly cute and are awash with colour and all kinds of Plant and Tree life. These spots are quite good at nullifying the city noise and always have some cute animals going about their business, expect to be greeted by a Black or Gray Squirrel, or even later on in the day a Skunk or Raccoon will likely amble on its way.

One of the closest little gardens that connect the Bike Paths to the Streets in the city is just two very short blocks away on Burnaby St and the cross street of Jervis St, there is a really cute park with a cobbled pathway that is a used for biking as well as pedestrians, this is a stunning spot if you just need a small rest on your travels. It will take a little over 5 minutes to reach this little city Oasis.

Click on this interactive Map and you can check out where the local parks are situated in the West End.
https://www.google.ca/maps/dir//49.28718,-123.132167/@49.2871023,-123.1371274,16z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m3!4m2!1m0!1m0?hl=en

Nelson Park & Mole Hill
Located just a couple of small blocks away from us & easily reached when you head North on Thurlow St – you will be there in 5 minutes.
After some major redevelopment in 2007 Nelson Park has been treating our local neighbourhood for quite some time now, it looks beautiful at all times of the year, but is particularly striking in the Spring (with blooms) and Fall (with the falling leaves in the park).
At this park you will find a play area for the little kids, some nice benches dotted all around – and one quarter of the park is a dedicated Off Leash Dog park, where the pooches are allowed to be unleashed and run amok without a care in the world.
Mole Hill
Like we had mentioned in previous Blogs, the West End has many areas that are classified as heritage building, well, Mole Hill which is situated next door to Nelson Park is a whole block of Co Op Heritage Houses that have been kept in excellent shape by the people for the people who reside there.
The Alley and gardens are stunning and if you go for a little exploration in the area, you will find that half along the Alley you will come across a small pathway that connects the Alley to Nelson St, here, you will find a cute small creek and a little bench, its a really nice ‘secret’ nook where you can have a small moment among the flowers and trees.
Where? Thurlow St and Nelson St

Barclay Heritage Square
As we have also mentioned in previous blogs Barclay Square is surrounded by some very interesting Heritage Buildings that lets you step back in time at what Vancouver looked like at the end of the 1800s.
whether you are a local or visitor the Barclay Square gardens are among many a really nice and tranquil spot to enjoy all year round. The Gardens are well kept and are inviting for all who wish to laze around and enjoy the natural colours that flowers, shrubs and trees can offer!
Where? Barclay St, Broughton St and Nicola St

Alexandra Park
Just nestled into the corner of the West End where English Bay meets False Creek this corner nook is a great place to watch the ocean without stepping foot onto the sandy beach. You can enjoy people watching here if that is your kind of thing to do, and you can even check out the stunning Bandstand that is the center piece of Alexandra Park. The park has been around for over 100 years and the Bandstand is exactly 100yrs old this year opening up for the public in 1914.
Where? Beach Ave and Burnaby St

Sunset Beach Park
Sunset Beach park overlooks Sunset Beach of course! This just a small 5 minute walk down the steep hill from the hotel, the Park overlooks Sunset Beach and False Creek and is a hit among all the locals here, you get amazing views of English Bay, Bowen Island and some of Vancouver Island from here, and you can also enjoy a play Hockey, kick around of a football or skateboard and Rollerblade in the designated play areas here.

So get out there and enjoy the Green Spaces among the concrete Jungle!

Exploring Vancouver’s West End. Part 3. Beaches and Seawall.

Monday, April 14th, 2014

On Sunday evening the skies were clear and you could feel the warmth of Spring in the air, the breeze had a slight chill to it but nothing to make you uncomfortable or ruin the moment. It was the perfect evening to catch the Sunset at one of the beaches that hug the Seawall around the West End.

Beaches of the West End
Walk westbound for around 10 to 15 minutes down the hill on Davie Street and you will reach the western boundary of the West End district – here you will be greeted by the very popular English Bay Beach and the entrance to Stanley Park with the gorgeous Lost Lagoon dividing suburbia and nature – read our next Blog installment on the West End and we have more to say about the Lagoon.

As the Sun was setting on Sunday April 14th there were many many people who were gathering at the English Bay to see it, we were at the peninsula where the stunning Inukshuk is standing – which is an excellent area to watch the Sun set. The waters of English bay were quite calm and had a stunning metallic gold shimmer with dashes of blue reflecting from the stunning blue skies above. As the Sun was setting the crowds had swollen in size and there were lots of cheering and drumming as the spectacle came to its finale!


Photo courtesy of Kyle Pearce at Unifiedstream – visit their site at http://www.unifiedstream.com/

Inukshuk Monument at English Bay
Standing by the Inukshuk you really get to see the beauty that this city has to offer and also the realisation of what a wonderfully cute area that the West End is, the location of the Sunset Inn and Suites hotel is indeed a prime spot for us and our guests.
The Inukshuk itself looks very majestic overlooking the ocean and the North Shore mountains as a great backdrop, it is a great opportunity for some incredible photographic shots and memories of your stay in Vancity. It is also one of the most recognised landmarks in this part of the world and is a symbolic representation for the First Nations peoples and adopted for the Winter Olympic Games of 2010. Traditionally the Inukshuk were used as markers for a point of reference when navigating the land especially during hunting in the more northern climes of Canada- they were also used as Sign posts for settlements in the area.

Click Inukshuk and you will see a great video on the meaning of this symbolic monument is.

Looking at the map, you will find the Inukshuk is located at the South Side of English Bay at the mouth of False Creek – our Hotel is at the same spot marked where the HI Hostel is..

The Seawall
The Seawall is one of the most walked, run and biked paths in Vancouver and at 22km long it encompasses Stanley Park, and much of the Downtown peninsula with a plethora of sights to absorb and photograph- one things for sure you will certainly remember this part of your visit.

Balancing Rocks
We suggest that you walk from English Bay back South to South East where you start to follow the seawall along the opening of False Creek towards Burrard Bridge and Granville Island, along this path you will come across some really cool Rock structures balanced on the large boulders and rocks embedded among the pebbles and sand.
Everywhere you go along the beaches in Vancouver, if there are rocks, there are likely to be plenty that are balancing on top of each other, and as much as you may believe that they are glued on, well, you will be wrong, the glue that is holding them together is quite literally the natural force of gravity and the awesome art of balance!

Rock Pools and Sandy Beaches at Sunset Beach.
Further along the Sea Wall you will notice that there are more options to hang out at the waters edge, here the rocks make way for Sandy beaches and large Logs that have been lined up for you to hang out and have a picnic. This is called Sunset Beach the hotels namesake and is the quieter option in comparison to the popular English Bay.
As the Rockier beaches transition to more Sandy style beaches you can easily explore the area with your family, just be mindful of the tides of course. Along the beaches you can come across some cool Rock Pools and see some smaller fish, crabs and all varieties of colour from the Seaweed and Algae that adorn the rocks and pebbles. It is also a great area to watch all the local Birds such as Geese, Gulls, Crows and the majestic Herons, if you have a really keen eye, you may even catch a glimpse of a Seal popping its head up from the water…

Events that are best seen from Sunset Beach and English Bay during the Summer
There are lots of events that happen in Vancouver throughout the year, here we will highlight a couple of the major events that come to our neck of the woods.

Celebration of Light Fireworks Display.
These Fireworks come to Vancouver every single year and draw in very large crowds of locals and tourists alike every year, the display is a competition that travels the world each year and our turn comes at the end of July and the beginning of August – the masses love to get their prime seat down at English Bay, but for us, we feel that Sunset Beach will do the job and is quieter too, so if you do not like the crowds – Sunset Beach it is!
Celebration of Light: http://hondacelebrationoflight.com/

Pride Parade and Festival.
Davie Village which is adjacent to the Hotel is home to the Gay District of Vancouver so naturally that means we have fun with the annual Gay Pride Parade. This event always happens on the final weekend of the Celebration of Light fireworks.
The Parade winds it way from Robson St through to Denman where the procession ends at Sunset Beach and then the party truly begins!
Vancouver Pride Parade: https://vancouverpride.ca/

For further information on other Vancouver Top Attractions – click here: http://www.sunsetinn.com/leisure/attractions

Exploring our neighbourhood – Vancouver West End. Part 1 – Dining and Shopping.

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

When coming to Vancouver and especially our community be sure to make the most of the local area that is the known as The West End. In this blog we will write about what you can find when you are checking out the community – The West End has plenty of history and a unique vibrant look and vibe – from Historical Buildings with some that have been turned into cute museums, a great extensive shopping district that is Robson St, Parks and Beaches to a vast restaurant scene for your dining pleasure – The West End really does have it all.

RESTAURANTS – WEST END DINING
From Davie Village (which is where we are located) to Denman St and Robson St you will find so many choices for places to eat and be merry, some places have been part of the fabric for many many years, while some are brand new and a welcome change as some of these places you may have never tried before!

Davie Street (which is immediately adjacent to the hotel) offers a large selection of delicious ethnic, international and local dining options favored by Vancouver residents, as well as specialty shops, there is also Denman and Robson to discover for excellent food options.
Here are some of our best picks for the West End……

Banana Leaf – Malaysian 1043 Davie St.
Prepare to step out of Vancouver and into the warm heart of Malaysia at the award-winning Banana Leaf Malaysian Cuisine. Cheerful atmosphere, friendly service, colourful traditional décor, and excellent prices create a dining experience to remember.
Website: http://www.bananaleaf-vancouver.com/locations.html
They also have locations on Denman and Robson St too!

Raincity Grill – Pacific Northwest, 1193 Denman St.
Open since 1992, Raincity Grill has become a fixture in the West End, capturing the essence of Vancouver in food, wine and atmosphere. The menu focuses on seafood, game, poultry, and organic vegetables from British Columbia, Alberta, Washington State and Oregon. Dedicated to developing a menu based on local ingredients, the team behind Raincity Grill believes local resources will increase as restaurants look more and more to their own backyard and local waters for the best ingredients.

Website: http://www.raincitygrill.com/index.php?pg=home

GUU- Japanese “Izakaya” 4 downtown locations – The West End location is on Thurlow St
Guu serves home style Japanese food in a loud and electric atmosphere. Food is served from an open kitchen and the dishes are generally tapas-sized.
Website: http://guu-izakaya.com/

Cin Cin – Italian – Robson St
As Vancouver’s leading Italian restaurant, CinCin is your destination for authentic Italian flavours in the heart of downtown. A contemporary Italian cuisine, smell the wood-burning forno, and drink from the award winning wine list.
Website: http://cincin.net/

SHOPPING on ROBSON ST
With the most fashionable shopping in Vancouver, this major thoroughfare in downtown features a concentration of trendy shops and restaurants. It hosts some of the hottest names in fashion including Hermès, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Betsey Johnson, Chanel, Burberry, Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Lacoste, Coach, and Salvatore Ferragamo. Robson Street is a short walk from Sunset Inn & Suites.
For further information on Robson St: http://www.robsonstreet.ca/

Want to see Vancouver, Victoria and Whistler but short on days….Follow our lead here….

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

As the seasons starts to get that little bit busier throughout April we find that many of our visiting guests are generally here for a few short days. In most peoples minds there is never really enough time to get any sort of sightseeing done, and, if the weather is not too good is it really worth it? Well, in all honesty we think YES!

The Staff at the Sunset Inn and Suites really do pride ourselves on our extensive knowledge of the city and we feel with our direction and expertise that we have to offer, we will be able to figure out the very best way you can enjoy the city.

This blog will explain some of the major attractions that you can see in a short space of time. Ideally if you are planning on visiting Vancouver for a few days make it 3 if possible. That way you can dedicate one day to getting around the city of Vancouver and then the remaining last few days you can venture further by checking out Whistler and/or Victoria.

There are many Tour operators here that are on hand to chauffeur you around the city and many of them are an excellent way of getting around where you can effortlessly see some spectacular sights without having to think too much! The best part of using these tours is that they generally have some excellent rates set up directly with the hotel so you can even save some money by booking through us, as opposed to booking ahead of time, this is a good idea for organizing for sure, but you can save more in the long term by asking for deals at the Front Desk.

Sightseeing in Vancouver
There are plenty of tours to choose from that will get you to see the city efficiently and with some fantastic guides to help you on your way. Our favorite pick for Sightseeing is undoubtedly the Big Bus – Hop on Hop off sightseeing city tours.

BIG BUS – HOP ON HOP OFF CITY SIGHTSEEING.
Big Bus are a cool bunch of people, they have extensive knowledge of the city, they have a fantastic team of dedicated staff that will make your excursion around the city memorable.

“What better way to see the sights of Vancouver than from a seat on one of our unique sightseeing buses! When you select a BIG BUS tour, you’ll have the opportunity to spend time at any of our stops, including major attractions, shopping areas, and many of Vancouver’s fine restaurants. On BIG BUS, there’s no need to rush!

When purchasing your ticket from the Front Desk, the ticket will be valid for 2 full days at a value fo 2 for the price of one and the Big Bus Hop-on/Hop-off policy means you can spend as much time as you’d like at any particular destination. We stop at Gastown, Chinatown, Stanley Park, Granville Island, Robson Street Shopping District, English Bay, Entertainment District and more.”

Operating Hours
April 15 – September 30 – 7 days/week
9:00 am – 6:30 pm

Big Bus Route.

We recommend that you do a full circuit tour of the city first so you can get to see everything, and then start to do the Hop on Hop off – also, you do not have to use the tickets in 2 consecutive days, you have a 3 week window in which you can fulfill the 2 days sightseeing – perfect if you are stopping over in Vancouver at the beginning and end of a nice Alaskan Cruise!

Big Bus Website: www.bigbus.ca

Biking around the city.
What better way to really get to see the city on your own time than by hopping on a bike and taking advantage of all the bike paths that are spread out all over Vancouver. Cycling is a very efficient way of getting around the perimeter of the gorgeous Stanley Park too! If you are adventurous enough you can even bike the whole Seawall (all 22km of it) from Downtown Coal Harbour area right through to Kitsilano and Kitsilano Beach via Granville Island.

ENGLISH BAY BIKE RENTALS
These guys are our preferred choice for Bike Rentals. They have a great selection of different types of bikes to choose from, they also do bike repairs and buy and sell bikes too!

English Bay Bike Rentals is pleased to announce that they will be working with Vancouver Bike Tours, an interpretive guiding company that offers daily bicycle tours of beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. The tours make use of Vancouver’s picturesque seawall, Stanley Park’s vast network of forest trails and the City’s ever-expanding grid of bike lanes. Along the way you will hear local stories, receive historical information and experience the thrill of cycling through a living rainforest.

English Bay Bike Rentals Website: http://www.englishbaybikerentals.com/

Please click the following link for the Vancouver Bike Tours website for booking information if you wish to join a tour. http://biketourvancouver.com/tours-offered/

Tours to Whistler and Victoria
It really would be shame to miss out on taking a quick visit to see Victoria and Whistler as these smaller towns are really not too far away at all. There are various ways you can get here. Here are our 2 preferred Tour Operators.
The following two options work on the same principle, you will be picked up at the Hotel and then they will drive you to various scenic locations as well as the towns that you wish to see, you will also have time to walk around Whistler/Victoria too. We highly recommend that you book this with us as it is a good tour to book last minute, you will get to see way more with a guide and time will be something that you do not have to think about, and when you bundle the price it will be so much better for your wallet in the long run.

VANTAGE WHISTLER TOURS
Vancouver to Whistler sightseeing van tours.
Experience the best in Whistler sightseeing. A full day, 11 hour tour, which includes 6 stops. The stops include Prospect Point, Cypress Mountain, Porteau Cove, Shannon Falls, Brandywine Falls, and Whistler Village. The tour starts with a pick up from your hotel, followed by a scenic drive around Stanley Park, over the Lions Gate Bridge, onto the Sea-To-Sky Highway, through Squamish, and ending up in Whistler. In Whistler, enjoy 4 hours of free time to explore the village, which is full of great restaurants, shops, and attractions. And if you’re feeling adventurous, try the new Peak-To-Peak Gondola or a Zip-Line tour or even Bungee Jumping! Vantage Whistler operates all tours using Mercedes_Benz Sprinters.

Website: http://vantagewhistler.com/

LANDSEA TOURS – Great for Victoria Excursions.
Like Vantage Whistler they pick you up and drop you off at the hotel. They have a great day trip to Victoria that includes the ferry trip too!

Victoria and Butchart Gardens; our most popular excursion, is the best if you want to visit our provincial capital and the world-renowned gardens in just one day. Maximize your time and save money, by turning a potentially difficult transfer between Vancouver and Victoria into an easy, fully-narrated day tour. With plenty of free time in downtown Victoria and at Butchart Gardens, this will be a day you will never forget.

The bus drives onto the ferry for a 1.5 hour cruise to Vancouver Island. Full restaurant facilities on board.
A scenic drive through exclusive residential areas and parks surrounding downtown Victoria.
See the Parliament Buildings, Empress Hotel and more of Downtown Victoria’s vibrant harbour front during your free time to explore.

Landsea Tours: http://www.vancouvertours.com/victoria-tour

How to see the very best of Vancouver in just a few short days.

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Its been a crazy Winter here in Vancouver as we have not seen this much Sun over the winter period for as long as anyone can remember – maybe, just maybe this is a sign of a good tourist season to come for 2014.
We are starting to notice a big upswing in reservation calls for people who are now looking ahead to the Spring and Summer season get away’s. We feel this will be a good time to give you advice on how to utilise your time in the city with the few days that you may be stopping over. So we will guide you on what to do if you are stopping by the city for just 1, 2 or 3 days…

1 DAY VISIT
One day in the city may seem like there is no time to see anything, but we feel you can actually see a fair bit of the city due to the size and geography of the area, so, if you are only making a whistle-stop tour and still want to catch some sights, here are the places to see for just one day.

BIG BUS CITY TOUR – HOP ON HOP OFF Big Bus will be the very best way to see the sights of the city while having the freedom to get around at different stops so you can experience some pretty decent areas that Vancouver has to offer. The bus stop is quite literally a 1 minute walk from the hotel on Thurlow St – we suggest that you do a full circle tour on the bus, and then once back around, its time to use the Hop on Hop off option to good use.
Granville Island is a must see area in the city, it is our own version of Seattle’s Pike Place market There are some amazing boutique shops to browse and shop in, the wonderful Granville Island Market whic is open from 9am till 7pm seven days a week. There are also some really excellent restaurants to choose from too, our suggestion is to visit The Sandbar Restaurant, this really showcases the very best Pub style dishes, Seafood and an Asian infusion twist which is very very Vancouver.

Granville Island Website: http://granvilleisland.com/

After spending some time on Granville Island we highly recommend that you take a walk inStanley Park A diamond in the rough – Stanley Park is one of the largest public parks that shows you what the area once looked like before the rapid expansion of the city. The Park is located at the Western end of the downtown peninsula and at 1,001-acres there is plenty to see. Here you are in the heart of an ‘urban Rainforest’ so to speak, there is no shortage of spectacular scenery with the various species of Plants, trees and wildlife, it is a must see area of the city, just like Granville Island.

We also recommend that you purchase your Big Bus tickets with us at the front desk as it will be a cheaper deal for you – as opposed to buying a ticket directly from their website. We will send you their link below so you know what to expect when you get here.

BIG BUS Website http://bigbus.ca/home/

Sandbar Restaurant http://www.vancouverdine.com/sandbar

2 DAY VISIT
Now that you have gotten some of the downtown area out of the way, you can now start to explore a little deeper, if you have purchased a ticket with Big Bus you will have seen that they have a 2 day Pass – this will help get you to explore some of the older areas of the city.
Gastown and Chinatown are also a must see area of Vancouver, here you will step back in time and get to see where the original and oldest areas of the city began, you can check out the famous cobble-stoned Streets, incredibly stunning architecture and historical landmarks such as The Steam Clock, the Chinatown district (which is one of the oldest in North America and Canada – including the majestic and beautiful DR SUN YAT SEN CLASSICAL CHINESE GARDENS website http://vancouverchinesegarden.com/

Gastown Website:http://www.gastown.org/

GROUSE MOUNTAIN & CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGE can be visited after spending some time in Chinatown and Gastown, you can head over to Waterfront Station where you can catch the Seabus over to North Vancouver and Lonsdale Quay (which is North Vancouver’s version of our own Granville Island, its smaller but very cute and offers some great views of the Burrard Inlet, Downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park.

Grouse Mountain overlooks Vancouver and can be easily spotted as the middle of the three North Shore mountains that overlook the city, it is nestled in between Cypress Mountain to the West and Mount Seymour to the east. Grouse is excellent for Winter sporting activities for all the family – and in the summer it has great hiking trails, the famous Grouse Grind if you are up for a steep walking challenge and entertainment at the top for all the family to enjoy, this includes a lumberjack show which is funny and breath taking and a Bird Sanctuary and Grizzly Bear enclosure.
Just one stop down from Grouse is the world famous Capilano Suspension Bridge, here you will get to experience one of the worlds largest suspended Suspension Bridges, high above the Capilano river and canyon, there is also a daring cliff walk and glass paths for the especially daring – its a stunning sight to be so high among the trees in this amazing rain-forest canopy.

Grouse Mountain – The Peak of Vancouver https://www.grousemountain.com/

Capilano Suspension Bridge Website: http://www.capbridge.com/

3 DAY VISIT
if you happen to be here for 3 days or more, then we absolutely encourage you to start to explore further out to areas like Victoria on Vancouver Island.
Vancouver Island is a pretty big place – many believe that it is a fairly small place but don’t be fooled it is actually close in size to the UK!
Victoria which is the capital of BC is a very quaint and beautiful town, much smaller than Vancouver and certainly steeped in rich history of its colonial past – it too has a decent China town to explore.
We recommend that you use a Tour Operator to visit Victoria, the one way trip itself take roughly 3 to 4 hours to get from Vancouver to Victoria – this includes the stunning Ferry ride that meanders through the Georgia Strait and the Gulf island, if you are lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of some travelling Whales…..when you are in Victoria, take a visit to the Empress hotel for some High Tea!

We really like LANDSEA TOURS, they have an excellent package that will take you directly from the hotel to Victoria, they will also ship you around the town so you can get to enjoy the world famous Butchart Gardens, The Museum of Victoria and some time to walk around the downtown area, they will also bring you back to the hotel too – its an awesome tour where you can sit back, learn about the area and not have to think! We like that very much!

Victoria BC Website: http://www.victoria.ca/

High Tea at the Empress Hotel Victoria http://www.fairmont.com/empress-victoria/dining/afternoontea/

Landsea Tours http://www.vancouvertours.com/

Cycling around Stanley Park during Fall witness the Deciduous Forest come alive.

Friday, September 20th, 2013

This past week has been spent cycling a fair bit within Stanley Park and it has been such a pleasure watching the Fall Season begin to show its influence with the changing colours of the Leaves, Plants and Shrubs all around the park.
Watching the leaves fall and leave their marks on the pavements can be quite the sight the sight to see, although the leaves are not dropping heavily there is something surreal about the ones that have fallen on the pavements, take a look at the concrete paths after the communities have swept up the leaves to prevent them blocking the gutters before the rains dig in, you can see that the leaves have left their shadowy imprint on the ground, it almost has a ghostly quality about it, another year over in the ongoing process of the birth and death of the leaves life cycle.

As the fall season progresses we encourage you still to get down to Stanley Park for many reasons, ok it will likely be more overcast with rains in the air but it should still be explored for the beauty of the Fall Season, not only that, it will be much quieter too, so getting around either on foot or preferably bike you will have more of the park to yourself.
The Rain-forest also becomes more visible with life when the moisture is in the air, its times like this when the trees and the air around it comes alive and the forest seems to steam with clouds hugging the trees like cobwebs.

The Park has many trails for you to explore and along some of them are some of the biggest trees in the area, many of these trees are evergreens while many of the trees are of a Deciduous nature which means “falling off at maturity”.
In Canada and the US it is well known that the North Eastern side of North America boasts some incredible Fall colours, but do not overlook what we have on out doorstep, Vancouver will dazzle you with its own spectacular Fall display.

We hope that you decide to hire a bike and enjoy this time of year, we recommend that you head down to English Bay Bike Rentals – and don’t forget we have some discount vouchers for you to use behind the Front desk and we will help with any questions of course.

http://www.englishbaybikerentals.com/

It is not only Stanley park that you can enjoy the natural Fall colours – below is a list of the best parks to check out during Fall in the area and on the Island courtesy of Tourism Vancouver.

Fall Parks: http://www.tourismvancouver.com/do/explore/fall-colours/

Exploring Stanley Park. Part 3. Wildlife of Stanley Park

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Stanley park will be celebrating its 125th birthday in August, we are writing about the highlights in a series of blogs leading up the special celebrations on August 24th & 25th 2013.

In our continuing series of where we explore the very best of Stanley Park we will like to introduce you to the large array of wildlife species that live within the park.

While staying at the Sunset Inn you may be quite surprised to see many animals casually taking a stroll close under your feet (and we don’t mean the small doggies that sometime reside in peoples handbags or the local domesticated cat), we are referring to the squirrels, raccoon’s and Skunk’s to name but a few that live in the West End like we do.

Wildlife is abundant in this city and if you keep your eyes open all around you, you will certainly see many many species of all walks of life (even the people watching is pretty incredible here too, so many weird and wonderful varieties of humans to check wandering the streets)! Joking aside, we will guide you so you know what kind of critters you will expect to see within the park and its beaches.

BIRDLIFE
If you take a peak up in the skies, there is no shortage of spectacular bird species of all varieties, these include Bald Eagles, Crows, Ravens and Herons.
Many of these birds have nesting sites throughout the parks, be sure to keep a beady eye open – you will see them all in action.
There are also quite a variety of differing Bat species in the park, we were lucky enough to have some Bat specialists stay at the hotel and on that very trip they had discovered a brand new species of Bat that was not familiar to them in the park.

The Bald Eagle population in Vancouver was limited to just a couple of pairs, one pair in Stanley Park and the other out at UBC, nowadays the population has grown to a very healthy size and you will be more than likely to see these huge majestic birds of prey in their natural habitats.

The herons are very famous in the park, especially as there are many of them who nest during the Spring season just above the Tennis Courts, to date there are more than 170 nests at any given time, these birds are known for therei huge beaks and large wingspan, they are quite the sight to behold.

The Goose population are also thriving in these parts too, and of course, Canada would not be Canada without seeing the Canadian Geese flying in their unmistakable V formation, it is not unusual to see them frolicking down by the beach, seawall and other areas around the city.

There are also sightings of elusive Peacocks in the park too, these birds are from the old Stanley Park Zoo that has long since shut down due to the living conditions there that were deemed not livable.

Here is some cool footage of a Raven interacting with a human for some help after it got itself into some bother with a Porcupine: http://youtu.be/hlwxLtFQcrY

MAMMALS
As well as the eccentric species of people that are known to visit the park, you will see no shortage of the cute and furry variety animals in the park.
The most popular Park and Urban dwellers in this area of the world are the large populations of Skunks, Raccoon’s, Rabbits and Squirrels.
At times you may get to see the Raccoon’s foraging for food in all parts of the city, some you will even see at the waters edge fishing for clams and mussels while enjoying a soak in the sea.

The Squirrels are the most visible all around the city, in fact, the Grey Squirrels that you will encounter were actually given to Vancouver as a present from New York where in the eastern part of North America is where they naturally reside. The Park was given two in the early part of the twentieth century, and, within a few decades the population has grown to a considerably large population, so much so that they thrive and have become one of the most dominant animals in the area.
Coyotes are very popular in and around Vancouver, yet they are hard to catch as they are quite elusive, if you are going to see them it will likely be after dark.

WATER DWELLERS
At the seawall and if you have a keen eye, look out along the water you may just see a head pop up from below the surface, this will likely be a sea lion taking a wee look at the tourists in between some hunting for fish.

Down at the Lost Lagoon there is no shortage of cool animals that reside around this small but stunning lake. As well as the herons wading in the water, take a look at the rocks and you will see Turtles, plenty of species of ducks and other wonderful birds.

For further information on the local ecology click here: http://stanleyparkecology.ca/conservation/urban-wildlife/other-wildlife-resources/

And of course the Vancouver Aquarium that is located close to the Lost Lagoon: http://www.vanaqua.org/

Exploring Stanley Park. Part 2. Family Activities

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

In the second part of our ‘Exploring Stanley Park’ series we shall be explaining about the very best of family orientated activities you can do and the very best places to dine in with the family around the park.

VANCOUVER AQUARIUM
One of the more popular destinations within Stanley Park, the aquarium has something to offer for all ages in the family, with fabulous exhibitions that will wow the children, and, more in depth details regarding the local ecology of the Pacific North West waters for the adults to understand and enjoy.
Website and informationhttp://www.vanaqua.org/

WATER-PARK & SWIMMING POOLS
With Summer really settling in now and some hot days to enjoy when visiting the park why not take the kids to the Water Park for some splish splashing fun! The water park is located close to the Miniature Train and Aquarium.
Water park Informationhttp://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/stanley-park-water-park.aspx

There is also a great open air outdoor Pool to enjoy close to Second Beach and playgrounds within the meadows.
Second Beach Outdoor Pool: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/second-beach-pool.aspx

MINIATURE TRAIN
A huge hit with the children. A beautiful 2km train ride through the magical forests and lakes of Stanley Park, you will step back in time on a miniature replica of the Canadian Pacific Railway #374, famous for pulling Canada’s first transcontinental passenger train into Vancouver in the late 1880s.

STANLEY PARK PLAYGROUNDS
There are quite a few playgrounds for the young kids to enjoy while the rest of the family can just laze in the sun with a nice picnic, what a perfect way to watch the world go by and soak up the local wildlife and scenery.
Further information on the Playgrounds in the park:http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/stanley-park-playgrounds.aspx

http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/stanley-park-playgrounds.aspx

HORSE AND CART
Tired of walking? Love horses? Well why don’t you experience the park using the good old fashioned Horse and Cart…its pretty awesome!
Horse and cart information:http://www.stanleypark.com/Schedules%20&%20Rates_Group%20Rates.html

PITCH AND PUTT
Located close to the famous FISH HOUSE RESTAURANT, this pitch and putt could not be in a more idyllic location in the park. Here you can spend some leisurely few hours with a game that will keep everyone entertained, with 18 holes ranging from 40 to 100 yards, this is perfect for people who just want to have some fun and if you are a beginner, well begin here!
Further information:http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/stanley-park-pitch-putt.aspx
The Fishhouse restaurant information http://www.fishhousestanleypark.com/

CYCLING THE SEAWALL
Stanley park is best seen while cycling around the Seawall, it is a stunning way to capture the very best scenery around the 10km seawall, it is also predominantly a flat ride so nothing strenuous, just a leisurely trip that will blow you away with the stunning setting of the North Shore mountains, Burrard Inlet and notable natural attractions that are dotted around the park.
Please see the front desk for Bike hire information and vouchers.
English Bay Bike Rentals information http://www.englishbaybikerentals.com/

Exploring Stanley Park. Part 1. Landmarks of the Park

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Stanley Park truly is the jewel in the crown in the city of Vancouver – it is located right next to our district of the West End with Downtown Vancouver nestled by its side. On August 24th and 25th the park will be celebrating its 125th birthday and there will be plenty of celebrations to mark this occasion. Please check our website for upcoming details of the events as and when they will be announced. We will be writing a series of blogs so are up to speed with everything you need to know about this beautiful destination.

The park is pretty big, in fact, it is roughly the same size as the downtown core of the city itself with the sea wall encircling the outside perimeter of the park at a distance of around 10km. It can easily be explored in a few days if you wish to really look at what this stunning park has to offer. We will like to highlight the very best that Stanley Park has to offer, so let us guide you around so you know what to do once you come by and visit.

LANDMARKS OF STANLEY PARK
There are many notable landmarks to visit in the park that are full of art and natural areas of interest.

Lost Lagoon
The Lost Lagoon is an important area that has a major influence on the local ecosystem and biodiversity in the park, it was formerly a tidal mudflat until the Stanley park causeway was built through the middle of the park – now it is a body of freshwater that acts as a natural filtration system in the park. The flora and fauna is very rich around the lagoon and you will be mesmerized by the fantastic colours of the plant life. The animals that live here are quite diverse too, the lagoon is a natural sanctuary for a wide variety of species.

Beaver Lake
Found in the very middle of the park like a small oasis away from the main drag, this is an area that is a peaceful, tranquil spot that is great to just drift away and reflect.
Like the Lost lagoon, Beaver Lake serves a purpose for natural biodiversity and if you like Ducks, well there are plenty of species to take a look at.
The lake is actually rapidly disappearing due to human influences around the park and overtime has been filling up with sediment – conservationists are working very hard to try and save the lake from filling up altogether.

For further information on the Stanley Park ecology plans – please click here: http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/stanley-park-ecological-action-plan-01102011.pdf

Hollow Tree
One of the most significant landmarks in the park and has also been at the center of controversy over the years regarding whether or not the tree should be left alone or removed.
The tree is the remnants of the stump from a 700 year old Cedar tree and has been wowing people for many many years, it become a major feature by tourists since the park opened way back in 1888.
In 2006, Stanley park was seriously damaged by a major windstorm that swept across Vancouver and in the process felled many of the trees in the park along its western flank – many parts of the park were damaged as well as the sea wall which had to undergo major reconstruction. The hollow tree itself became very very unstable after the wind storm and many of the soils around the tree rapidly eroded.

Siwash Rock
35 Million years in the making this is a stunning beacon of a natural geological process on the western side of the park along the seawall.
Standing at a height of 18 metres tall (60 feet) the rock which is known as a basalt stack and is the remnants of magma that was forced up to the surface through a fissure from a volcanic dyke. It is a symbolic relic that has been ingrained in indigenous folklore. It is believed that the rock was a man who was transformed into rock “as an indestructible monument to Clean Fatherhood.”

Prospect Point
By far one the best vantage points to view the stunning scenery from Stanley Park of the North Shore, the Burrard inlet and English Bay.
There is also a cute cafe at the point so you can soak up the views and have a bite to eat while you are there.

For further information on the park: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/stanley-park-125.aspx

STANLEY PARK is 125 years old in AUGUST!

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

HAPPY BIRTHDAY STANLEY PARK!

Stanley park truly is the Jewel in the crown of Vancouver and a beautiful reminder of what Vancouver used to look like before the city itself was born and developed.
2013 is the official 125th birthday of the park and we want to tell you what is happening for this special occasion and what you should see when you get to the park itself.

For further information as more events unfold, please ‘LIKE’ our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/SunsetInnVancouver?ref=tn_tnmn

Stanley Park is Vancouver’s largest and very first urban park – it is nestled as a green oasis between the downtown peninsula of Vancouver and is connected via the famous and iconic Lions Gate Bridge that forms the artery between the cities of North & West Vancouver and the park over the Burrard Inlet waterway.

Aside from Granville Island the Park is one of the main attractions when visitors come to Vancouver, easily up to 8 million people take their time to experience the Sea Wall, lake, cafes and trails.

CELEBRATE! STANLEY PARK
Bring your family and friends to Celebrate! Stanley Park, on the weekend of August 24 & 25, to celebrate Stanley Park’s 125th anniversary. This event will feature live music and performances, ecological and historical talks and tours and more!

Like the official FACEBOOK page and keep up to date with what will be happening in Stanley Park during August so you are more than ready to join in with the festivities.
https://www.facebook.com/CelebrateStanleyPark?fref=ts

PLACES OF INTEREST IN STANLEY PARK
Here is our best of pick of what to see in the park.

SEAWALL
One of the most stunning seawalls around and its pretty big 8.8km around the park itself – it is ideal for a gentle stroll as there are no hills, or for a good hearty run and bike ride- which we highly recommend. BIKE RENTALS see English Bay Bike Rentals - http://www.englishbaybikerentals.com/

VANCOUVER AQUARIUM
A fantastic Aquarium that has various rotating exhibitions throughout the year, the current exhibition is showcasing the world of Jellyfish. The most popular exhibits are the performing Beluga Whales and Otters. You will also be educated about the local ecology of the surrounding waters here.

WEBSITE http://www.vanaqua.org/
FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/vanaqua?fref=ts

SECOND BEACH POOL
One of the most popular and pretty large open air swimming pools, it is heated and has fantastic views of English Bay.

http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/second-beach-pool.aspx

THE BROCKTON POINT LIGHTHOUSE
Located at the North east end of the Park, the lighthouse is close to the location of the 9 o clock Gun that is fired everyday at…you guessed it 9pm!

GIRL IN THE WETSUIT – Located close to Brockton point, this is a quirky gem, a cute statue located on one of the boulders at the beach, at high tide it looks like she is floating on the rock.

TOTEM POLES
Located at the North East of the Park – the totem poles are a colourful reminder of the history of the Coast Salish First Nations and the lands that Stanley Park is located upon.

As the summer progresses and we get ever closer to the birthday of this stunning Park, we will be blogging about various other sites of interest in the park, this should enable you to really get stuck in and really discover where all these sites are, there is a lot to see in Stanley Park and all have their special place and story to be told.

DIRECTIONS TO STANLEY PARK
http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/directions-to-stanley-park.aspx