Project Stanley Park

Day 1

Through an odd stroke of luck, I happen to live next to the most beautiful park in the world. I’ve been living in Vancouver for over three years now, and Stanley Park is something that just is. I appreciate it, I enjoy that it’s there, but I don’t give it the attention it deserves.

Vancouver, as seen from Hallelujah Point

I have 50 more days in Vancouver before I begin a three month trip through Europe. I’d love to get to know Stanley Park before I leave.

There are 27KM of trails in Stanley Park. The overall park is 1001 square acres. How well can I get to know it?

Day 2

I’m starting to think this through a little more. If I want to hit every path in Stanley Park, I’m going to have to rely on more than just my memory. I’ve started tracking my routes in a GPS tracker.

This morning’s path

I gave myself 50:50 odds that this project wouldn’t last to day 2. It’s hard to get up at 5AM every morning when you’re used to rolling out of bed at 9. My goal for now is to make it through to the weekend, and then we’ll see where we can go from there.

The trip this morning was stunning. The light was just starting to creep up as I made my way out of the house at 5:30AM. I followed Pipeline road, surprised at the amount of traffic. I turned off on Tunnel trail until I was standing in front of the Burrard Inlet. The view was incredible, with the rays of sun slowly peeking out behind the mountains. When the show was over, I turned back and made my way over to Beaver Lake via the Beaver Lake trail. The lake earns its name well, as the first thing I saw when I made it to the water was a beaver floating around. The other wildlife was nothing to scoff at either — herons, blue jays, and tons of ducks. I made my way back to Pipeline road via Tisdall walk, and from there took the more northern bridge back home.

I found a lot of places I’d love to revisit and turn my lens on. Beaver lake would be a lot of fun to shoot, and it doesn’t necessarily need an early morning or late night. I’ll have to figure out when the animals are most active, however. Ravine trail looked like an interesting path, so I’ll be sure to give it a shot the next time I make my way up to Burrard Inlet. I need to shoot the Lions Gate bridge at sunrise some time. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed watching the waves crash against the stone wall around Stanley Park. Lost lagoon was pretty surprising as well, especially from the Northern tip looking down.

Day 7

I took a break from my sunrise routine over the weekend, and man did I ever miss it. I’m back in action and ready to go now.

Woke up at 5AM this morning and beehived it to the Lions Gate bridge. The path out was quiite nice. I started on the South Creek trail and merged onto the Wren Trail, then took the Lions Gate Bridge Road path all the way to the entrance of the bridge. It works, but there are far better ways to access the bridge (as I later found out).

The views from the bridge are quite simply stunning. The seawall is on display front and center, with the city acting as an impressive backdrop. As the sun comes up, the rays bounce off the building windows and give the whole scene an incredible glow. It’s quite something watching the sun highlight the snow-capped mountains as well.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that all the action happens in front of you, but it’s the water that held my attention the most. I spotted a couple of sea lions hunting and fooling around at the base of the bridge, and the huge container ships made quite an impression as they steamed off.

I spent a full hour watching the city wake up from my viewpoint in the middle of the bridge, but there’s another vantage point that I’d highly recommend. The aptly named ‘View Point’ sits a few hundred meters north of the bridge, and offers a sweeping view of the bridge and North Shore. I’m planning on swinging by tomorrow morning and capturing the views from there.

The hike back proved to be a lot more enjoyable than the trip up. I took my first steps on the North Western side of the park, following Prospect Point Trail from the Northernmost tip. The path was completely empty, and it gave me a chance to really soak up the massive trees. I eventually cut down to Bridle Path, which was a pleasant but unremarkable trail. From there I made my way onto Tatlow walk, which spits you out into the North Western side of Lost Lagoon.

All in all, an excellent morning!

Day 14

It’s been a while since my last update, but I haven’t abandoned this project.

I’ve had my fair share of setbacks, and this morning was no exception. This is the third time I’ve packed up, rolled out of bed to a 6AM alarm, and marched out of the apartment only to discover that I’d left my memory card behind. I’m finding that most of my shots seem to be out of focus, lacking light, or just poorly composed. I’ve clearly still got a lot to learn. Still, these mistakes gave me the chance to relax and scout out new viewpoints.

This morning’s path

I’ve been focusing most of my attention on the Northern point of Stanley Park in the mornings, but I decided to change things up and explore the South this morning. I’m glad I did, as the South is incredible in the morning.

The light creeps through the trees on Bridle Path
The raised boardwalk on Cathedral Trail
Benches on the Southern tip of Lost Lagoon

I’ve added so many locations to my list of places to shoot. Cathedral trail is an incredible path to walk through in the morning. The path alongside the South-Eastern tip of Lost Lagoon transforms from a mosquito heaven at night into a clear and sunny patch in the morning. The smell of the flower garden just South of Lost Lagoon is intoxicating.

I’m climbing with a friend this evening, so I won’t be able to shoot any more today. I’m hoping for an early night sleep, as I’d love to revisit a few of my favorite spots from this morning with a full setup tomorrow.