During my recent vacation time, I was fortunate enough to be able to get to a few B.C. lakes (some surrounded by mountains and trees) where I could do some paddleboarding and swimming. While there’s no place in town to paddle, there are a number of local spots that I like to go to connect with nature – and get away from the hustle and bustle of life.
Friendship Gardens and Tipperary Park
An oasis in the heart of the city, this greenspace next to city hall is a lovely place to ponder life as you meander over a wooden bridge and enjoy the park’s ponds and wee waterfalls. Why not take a seat by the benches by the pond – you may even spot a duck or two. (Fourth Street and Queens Avenue, right behind city hall.)
A walk along the trail, surrounded by lush trees and greenery, is a great way to reconnect with nature and forget you’re living in one of Canada’s densest cities. (A good place to begin your walks is by the Glenbrook Amenities Centre at 76 Jamieson Ct., where you may even spot turtles in the pond.)
Q to Q ferry/Queensborough perimeter trail
Board the Q to Q ferry at the Quay and take a quick jaunt across the water to Queensborough, where you can then enjoy a walk along the perimeter trail. Along the way, you’ll see all kinds of lovely greenery, gardens, water views and a small, sandy beach on the shores of the Fraser River (a spot where I’m told some locals have been known to indulge in polar bear swims on New Year’s Day).
Brunette River/Hume Park
Stroll along the tree-lined path through lower Hume Park. Not far from the picnic shelter, you’ll find the Brunette River, whose banks are flanked by lush shrubs and trees. If you’re looking to extend your time outdoors, you can cross North Road and continue walking the Brunette Fraser Regional Greenway into Burnaby.
Sapperton Landing Park
Any time of year is a great time to venture over to Sapperton Landing Park, where you’ll enjoy lovely views of the Fraser River and Mount Baker. Depending on when you visit, you may spot beaver or seals in the river and you may be able to pick blackberries from bushes along the riverfront pathway. While you may notice the sounds of passing trains and SkyTrain, this park, part of the Brunette Fraser Greenway, is one of my favourite places to enjoy some peace and quiet in the city.
(And not to be forgotten: Waterfront walks at Westminster Pier Park and the Quayside esplanade and walks through the urban forest – and rose garden – at Queen’s Park are other places you can get some fresh and escape the daily grind.)
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