Vancouver is one of the best cities in the world for outdoor recreation. One doesn’t even need to get into hiking, cycling, or any of the other favourite Vancouverite sports to get in on the action. Simply lace up your walking shoes--you’ll need a good pair, preferably water-proof. Choose your destination, and be prepared to see a whole new world you may have missed outside the car window on the way to work. There are art and nature walks in nearly every neighbourhood, for every mood. Happy Exploring!
1. The Downtown Art Walk is a bit of a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure. Experience downtown’s outdoor art gallery that takes you from mosaic art tiles all around the core and electrical box murals on Granville St. by Emily Carr students to the more grand: Nike Goddess of Victory at the intersection of W. Cordova and Thurlow in celebration of the 2010 Olympics, and The Drop at the Convention Center. For more hidden gems in plain sight, click here.
2. Alternatively (or if it’s raining), download your Gallery Guide and plan a route with such illustrious stops as the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, the Pendulum Gallery ingeniously placed under the glass atrium hall of the HSBC building, and the Howe Street Gallery of Fine Art which contains local and Canadian works, as well as paintings and sculptures from around the world.
3. Fancy a drive before your walk? The Art Walks in North Vancouver are not to be missed. Over 100 public works of art decorate the North Shore alone. Make your way along nature trails, public walkways, through parks and even in shopping plazas. Get your self-guided public art tour maps for Lower Lonsdale, Lonsdale Ave., and the Lynn Valley Public Art Experience here. There’s even Public Art Geocaching for the more adventurous!
4. Nature Meets Art Walks at three of the cities best and biggest parks. Queen Elizabeth Park offers not only the Quarry Gardens, rolling lawns, a rose garden and arboretum, Queen E also features several sculptures and a live Painters’ Corner in Spring and Summer for wanderers to watch art in action. The famous 28km seawall surrounding Stanley Park takes you past beaches, gardens, numerous monuments and sculptures, and BC’s most visited tourist attraction: the nine totem poles at Brockton Point. Lastly, a trek through the University endowment lands in Pacific Spirit Park are always a sure-fire way to experience the lush beauty of nature. If you have time, UBC’s Museum of Anthropology is here, and a must-see.
5. If it’s architecture you’re after, GPS My City has a great map for some of the city’s coolest buildings and landmarks. There’s also one of Vancouver’s oldest section of seaside greenway to discover: the South False Creek Seawall, which dates back to 1975. The 3km walk takes you from Science World to the bustle of Granville Island, and offers a different perspective of our fair city.
What’s your favourite walk to connect with the essence of Vancouver? Share with us!