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5 relaxing places to hug a tree in New Westminster

Take time to commune with nature as we ring out the old year and welcome the new.

Whew. It's been a bit of a taxing month. Er, year. Er, pandemic.

If the holiday hustle and bustle has you feeling run ragged, why not take some time this weekend to ring out the old year and welcome the new in nature? In honour of the healing power of the great outdoors as we bid farewell to 2022, we're resurrecting this list of five places to hug a tree in New Westminster.

While you're not going to find any mammoths like the Western red cedar in Lynn Valley (discovered earlier in 2022) that's been dubbed the "North Shore Giant," you will find some healing greenspace and some oases of calm amidst the seasonal chaos.

Queen's Park

The 75-acre flagship park was the very first public park created in New Westminster, after it was established as a city in 1859. It officially became a city-owned park in 1887, in the Golden Jubilee Year of the reign of Queen Victoria.

According to a city history of the park, Col. Richard Clement Moody of the Royal Engineers wrote to B.C. Governor James Douglas: “The woods are magnificent, superb beyond description but most vexatious to a surveyor and the first dwellers in a town. I declare without the least sentimentality, I grieve and mourn the ruthless destruction of these most glorious trees. What a grand old park this whole hill would make!"

Fortunately for the residents of what is now a busy urban centre, many of those glorious trees still remain. They stand sentinel over the playground and concession area, and you can stroll through them on the park's trail system. 

Moody Park 

While we're talking about Col. Moody, let's not forget about the park that bears his name — right in the heart of the most densely populated area of the city. 

The open green lawns and trail are lined with some of the city's favourite mature shade trees, including Douglas fir, big-leaf maple and chestnut.

Riverside Adventure Park

Though it may not have the cachet of some of its better-known siblings, we'll include this little West End gem on the list.

Tucked into an area that borders residential and industrial land, this little park at Stewardson Way and Sharp Street has a glorious canopy of shade from some unexpectedly majestic trees.

Hume Park

In the heart of Sapperton is another of the city's best-known parks.

Upper Hume Park boasts the playground, sports fields and pool, and you can still find some of the city's original trees standing watch. But the best tree-hugging opportunities undoubtedly come in the trails down to Lower Hume Park, and in the lower park itself. You can also stick your toes in the Brunette River while you're at it.

Glenbrook Ravine

If you want to feel you've completely left the city behind, there's no better place to do so than Glenbrook Ravine. 

Despite its convenient access to the surrounding neighbourhoods (from Victoria Hill, Glenbrook Drive and Jamieson Court), the ravine trail immerses you in a gentle piece of wilderness, with a canopy of greenery overhead.

Bonus points for the turtles, koi and ducks you're sure to spot in the pond.

Where to find the best parks in New Westminster

You can find maps, directions and a complete list of parks and trails at the New Westminster parks website.

Follow Julie MacLellan on Twitter @juliemaclellan.
Email Julie, jmaclellan@newwestrecord.ca.