Commune with nature inside the city limits

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      Forget about getting on Highway 1. There are plenty of local parks to go to for quick time off. Take in nature without going far from home. Relaxing outdoors during summer doesn’t have to cost much. Parking is easy and free. Crowds? They’re not as busy as English Bay or other fashionable Vancouver destinations where people often like to be seen. Take a walk or find a spot to just chill out in these places.

      Everett Crowley Park

      The sounds of the city disappear in this natural habitat in southeast Vancouver. The park features numerous trails to explore plant life and watch birds in the 38-hectare woodland. It has two water features. One is Avalon Pond (named after the last operating dairy in Vancouver), now home to ducks. The other is Kingscross Creek, a former salmon-bearing stream. One of the trails is a circular route of 2.37 kilometres, a relatively flat course that is easy to walk. Located on a hill north of Southeast Marine Drive, the park has vantage points overlooking the Fraser River and Richmond farmlands on the other side. On clear days, the Gulf Islands are visible. Active volcano Mount Baker in Washington state can also be seen. There are benches to take in the views. Dog lovers can also let their furry friends run free. Everett Crowley Park is one of a few places in the city where dogs can be off-leash all day. There is a parking lot on the east side of Kerr Street. Everett Crowley Park can also be accessed by foot from trails in the Champlain Heights neighbourhood.

      Riverfront Park

      An easy way to connect to the historic Fraser River is through this four-hectare park on East Kent Avenue in Vancouver, between Kerr and Argyle streets. There is a boardwalk at the foot of Kerr Street, which extends out into the water. (To the east of Riverfront Park is the River District, a new neighbourhood that is fast taking shape along the banks of the Fraser.) The park features a 2.4-kilometre trail lined with roses and trees. It is also a convenient place to gather with family and friends, with a covered picnic area that can be reserved. Other picnic tables can be used without reservations. There are washrooms in the park, and other amenities include playgrounds, a basketball court, a tennis court, and a Frisbee field.

      Burnaby Fraser Foreshore Park

      Located at the foot of Byrne Road, Burnaby Fraser Foreshore Park is a scenic spot that offers a lot of opportunities for outdoor leisure. There is a 3.9-kilometre trail that extends from Boundary Road on the west to a 16-hectare ecological reserve on the east, where an old railway bridge is also located. Bicycles are allowed on the trail. There are a washroom and a playground around the middle of the park. To the west are picnic grounds that can be reserved, as well as an off-leash area and trail for dogs. To the east of the washroom and playground are more picnic tables. A pier provides a good point to watch tugs hauling logs on the river and small boats passing by. Visitors can also try their luck at fishing. There are plenty of open grassy spaces upon which to spread a blanket and let time pass slowly in this tree-lined park.

      Confederation Park trail

      Confederation Park in North Burnaby has a lot of things to offer, especially for families. There are picnic sites, and playing fields, as well as a pool, water park, and library. One can also take a ride on a miniature train during weekends and holidays from Good Friday through Thanksgiving. What makes the park extra special is the wooded area north of Penzance Drive. It’s a small forest with a 1.3-kilometre trail that slopes down toward the train tracks and offers views of Burrard Inlet. There are benches along this designated off-leash dog trail, where one can sit down and enjoy the scenery.