Thursday, November 4, 2010

To The Park I Go

I decided that I wanted to give everyone a better look at Stanley Park. But to get there I walked along the Coal Harbour Seawall and took notice.

Coal Harbour got its name when, in 1859, Captain George Henry Richards of the British Royal Navy found the occasional coal stream in the sandstone. But the coal wasn't worth the money it would have cost to mine it so it remained. It wasn't that long ago that this area was a mass of parking lots, railway yards, marinas and float plane terminals. Now there are fancy hotels, condos, convention center and art work. The transformatioin is phenomenal.

Can you see the sprays of water soaking the walkway? The Mill Restaurant is in the background.

This sculpture is entitled The Meeting and is done by Wang Shugang from China. It resides near the Westin Hotel.

These figures are so lifelike that I have seen numerous photos online where people are sitting in identical poses and it looks real.

Not far from The Meeting is the artistic creation Ceramic Forms. Korean artist Yee Soo-Kyung recycles fragments from traditional Korean ceramicists to create a new piece of art.

But let's get to the park. I walked along the seawall until it took a turn and I followed the path to cross a bridge.
Stanley Park was opened in 1888 by then mayor David Oppenheimer and it was named after the Governor-General of Canada, Lord Stanley of Preston. The park borders downtown Vancouver - a 404.9 hectare oasis for those needing a shot of nature.

The park is almost half the size of London's Richmond Park yet over 10% larger than New York City's Central Park. Some of the trees in the park are hundreds of years old and stand 249 feet. (Some have fallen in recent years as well due to a few severe windstorms Vancouver has had.)

In 1962 the hurricane Freida about 3,000 trees in the park. From December 2006 to January 2007 three major windstorms hit the park and damaged 10,000 mature trees - 20% of the forest was damaged and the seawall was closed. (I remember those windstorms, I lived in a ground floor apartment and the huge tree outside my window went down. Fortunately it fell into the street.)
The Salish Indians used this six acre island as a burial ground. In the 1893 smallpox epidemic early settlers used the area as a cemetary and a place to quarantine the ill. Ergo the name of Deadman's Island is fitting.

In 1944 it became a naval station named after one of Captain Vancouver's ships, the H.M.C.S. Discovery.

The city has sprung up behind that naval station.

This is the building for the Vancouver Rowing Club. Formed in 1886 as the Vancouver Boating Club they had an intense rivalry starting in 1890 with the Burrard Inlet Rowing Club. Many colourful rowing regattas were held in Coal Harbour.

In 1899 the two clubs joined as one and became the Vancouver Rowing Club. This heritage building was opened on September 9, 1911.
Strolling along the seawall is relaxing. The ducks in the water below, a light breeze and people walking, running, biking and rollerblading just help to give it a holiday feel.

The seawall is the genius of the park's first superintendent W.S. Rawlings.  In 1917 he envisioned a great wall as an attraction and that would help protect the shoreline from wave erosion. It took 62 years to build and stretches 8.8km. Master stonemason James Cunningham supervised most of the construction.

To mark the Salvation Army's Canadian centennial, a plaque was erected in 1982 at this picturesque point of the park.

Behind the Hallelujah Point is a statue that will get a person inspired.

Harry Winston Jerome, someone I wrote about when I featured the Mountainview Cemetery. This British Columbia athlete who broke many records deserves this tribute.

I have lots more photos to show you and a lot more trips to make back to the park. I spent hours there but barely scratched the surface. So you will be seeing lots about Stanley Park in upcoming entries.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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