You don’t have to walk far from downtown Vancouver to enjoy a forest setting, Stanley Park is a stone’s throw away with 50 foot high cedars, that woodsy smell in the air, and endless trails to enjoy. Vancouverites can take a stroll on their lunch break and feel like they’ve escaped to the woods.
For the residents of downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park offers a myriad of weekend options, from roller blading to biking, hiking, a day at the beach, zoo, or an evening in a fine dining restaurant nestled in the woods. Of course, this plays into the healthy Vancouver lifestyle and environmental conscience of the city. Should an unwitting real estate developer make the unforgivable error of suggesting the development of Stanley Park, he would find himself and his company on a fast track out of the city, helped along by even his own peers.
The Vancouver Zoo makes its home in the centre of Stanley Park, complete with an aquarium, wide range of exotic animals, and high standards of care for the animals and mammals it keeps. Despite this care, it often finds itself the target of environmentalists and animal welfare critics, who oppose the captivity of animals altogether.
Lining the rim of Stanley Park is an endless beach, though much of it is not the type of beach you’d want to spend the day at, some parts have had white, fine sand brought in(Vancouver does not naturally have white sand), and have been cleared of the large, sharp boulders that so often accompany Canadian beaches. Canada is by nature a rough land, jagged, and precipitous, not soft and inviting. This lends itself to a rugged beauty only a Canadian can appreciate.
Five miles of seawall offer the perfect venue for roller bladers, cyclists, and joggers who can not only run for miles without having to turn around, but enjoy a 360 degree view of Vancouver and its majestic setting in the process. Vancouver is a “dog-friendly” city, so there’s no shortage of canines on the seawall, however, they have their own lane and although Vancouverites love dogs, they have a very short fuse for dogs which exhibit violent tendencies. Even muzzled dogs, should they act aggressively, their owners will no doubt receive their share of public disdain.
The Vancouver lifestyle is well understood by Vancouverites, it’s talked about, bragged about, written about, and blogged about. Vancouver is a fitness town, many of its inhabitants are marathon runners and few are smokers. Lighting up a cigarette on a public street is accepted because it’s legal, but doing so will often get you stares and people taking a wide berth around you to avoid your smoke. Those who smoke in Vancouver are well aware of the culture, and have grown a thick skin and learned to laugh it off, since there’s no fighting it.
This culture makes up Vancouver’s identity, and that identity is engrained in the mindset of every Vancouverite through local newsletters and blogs, which are very popular with Vancouverites. Vancouver blogs usually focus on lifestyle issues, or food and entertainment, since these are closest to the heart of Vancouver’s 2 million people. A good Vancouver blogger stays abreast of the latest restaurant openings, cultural events, and environmental causes. Among these is Stanley Park, which symbolizes the priorities and values of Vancouverites, a garden of Eden in the heart of the city.