The soft spot in the heart of all Vancouverites is a 404-hectare (1,000-acre) emerald green Stanley Park situated on a peninsula just off the northwestern edge of downtown Vancouver. Founded in 1888, this is not a fussy, manicured park; it’s a rugged, magical space meant to preserve the Vancouver the pioneers first encountered.
Inside, stands of stands of old growth trees rub shoulders with BC First Nations totem poles. The Vancouver Aquarium educates visitors on 9,000 species of marine life; a heron colony roosts near Beach Avenue. On the perimeter, the siren call of the sea and spectacular views beckon. The views of English Bay, North Shore Mountains and temperate rain forest will get you in that contemplative vacation mind-set.