Autumn Hikes Around Vancouver

Written By: Ryan Village

 

As summer winds to an end here in Vancouver, we welcome back the cool breeze of autumn and prepare for the snows of winter. Even though the sunshine may not be appearing as much around Vancouver, autumn is the perfect time to explore the many trails and parks surrounding the city while being sheltered by the beautiful canopy of changing colours. Immerse yourself in Vancouver’s vibrant coastal temperate rainforest by hiking some of its best trails through the eyes of a Vancouver native. Just don’t forget to bring a rain jacket!

Stanley Park

As the crown jewel of Vancouver, Stanley Park has been hosting and inspiring locals and visitors alike since its creation in 1888. Named after Lord Frederick Stanley of Preston, the sixth Governor General of Canada, Stanley Park boasts many activities and amenities including the Vancouver Aquarium, Brockton Point, Second Beach and more notably, the Stanley Park Seawall.

The seawall stretches for 9 kilometres/5.5 miles around the perimeter of the park, snaking next to the shimmering waters of Burrard Inlet and English Bay. It offers arguably the best view of the skyline of Vancouver’s downtown core as well as the North Shore Mountains, all on one multi-use path. The Bigleaf Maple and Black Cottonwood trees that border the seawall create a beautiful collage of colour as they bask in the autumn air. Other highlights include Siwash Rock, the Girl in the Wetsuit statue, and passing underneath the famous Lions Gate Bridge.

The seawall isn’t the only pathway that showcases the grandeur and beauty of Stanley Park; a huge network of trails cuts through the centre of the park amongst Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir groves. Beaver Lake sits in the middle of Stanley Park and is a worthy destination. The lake’s surrounding environment showcase a range of flora and wildlife including salmonberries, sword ferns and its namesake beaver family.

Access to Beaver Lake can be gained from a multitude of trails but is easily reached from Pipeline Road or the Ravine Trail. The #19 bus, which can be caught along Pender St. in downtown Vancouver, travels into Stanley Park and stops along Pipeline Road very close to the lake.

 

Lynn Canyon

Located on Vancouver’s beautiful North Shore, Lynn Canyon is a stunning destination that showcases a quintessential British Columbian rainforest. The canyon itself features steep cliffs, gorgeous waterfalls and thick moss that hangs from precarious alcoves. A series of trails follow the rim of the canyon and attain destinations including the 30-foot pool, Twin Falls, and the main attraction, the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge.

Credit: thetravelling_two via Instagram

Entering the park is completely free. However, keep in mind that Lynn Canyon can be extremely dangerous, especially during wet conditions.  Stay on the marked trails and reference the onsite maps highlighting the distance to various destinations.

Upon arrival, start walking past the first parking lot, you’ll come across the Ecology Center on your left and a café on your right. The Ecology Center is worth browsing to learn about the local plants and animals. The suspension bridge is immediately across from the café. Once across, you can take a left turn which takes you to the pristine, calm waters of the pool. Or, you can take a right turn which takes you to the aptly named Twin Falls. Walking out and back to either destination will take about an hour.

Lynn Canyon used to be a local secret but has since become increasingly popular with both locals and tourists. It’s easily accessible by public transit; from Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver, which can be reached from Downtown Vancouver via the Seabus from Waterfront Station, take either the 228 or the 229 bus to Lynn Valley Center. From there, you can either take the 227 bus or walk the 15 minutes up Lynn Valley Road to Lynn Canyon. There is also plenty of parking in the park if you’re driving there yourself.

Quarry Rock

Quarry Rock in Deep Cove, North Vancouver, is another classic Vancouver hike. The trail to Quarry Rock traverses a gorgeous forest that sits on the north side of Mount Seymour. Huge deciduous trees dominate the landscape and the waters of gurgling streams bounce off the mossy rocks. Once atop Quarry Rock, a unique view of Deep Cove presents itself. Despite the geographic solitude of this granite summit, somehow, you’re only 2 minutes away from Vancouver.

It’s true that an inordinate amount of people frequent Quarry Rock in the summer months. However, it is a worthy autumn destination because of it’s amazing views and varied landscape. The autumn season is also sure to dissuade many parties from heading out onto the trail.

At the Gallant Avenue and Panorama Drive intersection in Deep Cove, the trailhead is 500 meters north on Panorama Drive. The trail to Quarry Rock starts on your left and is on the first section of the Baden Powell trail, a 48km/30-mile-long trail that traverses the entire North Shore. Continue following the blue and white Baden Powell markers for another 2km through undulating terrain until you reach the magnificent viewpoint. Round trip, the hike should take between an hour and a half to two hours to complete.

Taking public transit to Deep Cove from Downtown Vancouver takes about an hour but is easily doable. From Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver, take the 239 bus to Phibbs Exchange. From there, take the 212 or 211 bus to Deep Cove. There is also ample street and public parking in Deep Cove. Once you return from the hike, don’t forget to stop at Honey’s Doughnuts and Goodies in Deep Cove. Try the maple-bacon doughnut if available!

Remember…

Autumn is a peaceful and charming time of the year in Vancouver. Nowhere else is this change felt more than the trails and forests that encircle our marvellous city. There are plenty of other places to explore besides the ones mentioned above. Happy exploring!

 

Always remember to prepare when venturing out into wilderness areas. Bring food, water and clothing and tell someone where you’re going and when you’re expecting to return. Autumn in Vancouver also means shorter days, colder temperatures and more difficult trail conditions. Visit the Adventure Smart website to learn more about trip planning for any hike.

 

 

References

 

Summer in Review

With the days already growing shorter, the colour of the leaves starting to change and crops reaching their harvest point, Vancouver is ready for the fall season. Since next Friday is the first day of Autumn, why not reminisce on everything that happened this past summer in BC.

Honda Celebration of Lights

Watching the magnificent firework displays along Vancouver’s beaches is an annual tradition. This year’s competitors were South Korea, Sweden and South Africa. Each created an unbelievable combination of fireworks, related to the theme of ‘Love’. However, the overall winner of both the Judges’ and the People’s Choice was South Korea.

Credit: geebird11 via Instagram

Pride Parade

Another annual event in the summer is the Vancouver Pride Parade, which brings together people from all over the city. Again this year, the parade was a success, and we even received a visit from our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

Wildfires

This year, we saw another season of the devastation that can be caused by wildfires. At one point, there were approximately 600 fires burning across BC at the same time. As a result, the province entered a state of emergency and also required the presence of the Canadian Armed Forces. Only within the last 2 weeks have the fires begun to lessen; however, the damage will have a lasting effect on our beautiful province. Below is a photo of one of our tour guides on the lake during mid-summer, surrounded by smoke. 

Credit: Stephen Elgar

PNE

Caramel apples covered with crickets, KitKat fries, and all sorts of delicious foods were present at this year’s Pacific National Exhibition. Also, new this year to the Fair, was the jousting show, Knights of Valour. Viewers could watch real and heartstopping, unchoreographed matches between professional jousters. Huzzah!

Credit: Tourism Vancouver/PNE

Cloudraker Skybridge 

A new suspension bridge opened up this past summer, and the Cloudraker Skybridge offers some of the best views in Whistler. Were you daring enough to walk 140 metres across the Whistler Bowl from the Peak to the West Ridge?

Vancouver Art Gallery

This summer, the Vancouver Art Gallery’s feature exhibit felt like it was made for a Canadian. The exhibit, called Cabin Fever, showcases the culture behind the architecture of a typical cabin in North America.

Royal BC Museum

In Victoria, the new exhibit at the Royal BC Museum, Egypt: The Time of Pharaohs, had everyone talking. The displays feature ancient artifacts and visitors had the opportunity to explore the mysteries of the Eqyptian civilization. Check out one of our previous blog posts for a complete review of the exhibit. Fortunately, visitors have until December to check out the displays for themselves.

Vallea Lumina

Another new attraction to open up in Whistler this summer was the multimedia night walk called Vallea Lumina. The story focuses on the tale of two long-lost hikers who stumble into a world of enchantment and light amongst the forgotten legends of Whistler.

Bard on the Beach

Hopefully, everyone had the chance to brush up on their Shakespeare with Bard on the Beach. This summer’s shows included As You Like It, Macbeth, Time in Athens, and Lysistrata.

Credit: Stephen Elgar

 

We wish we could sit and go over everything that happened this summer, but hopefully, our blog brings back a few recent memories. Was there anything you experienced this summer that should be on this list? Share it with us on social media!

History of the Nine O’Clock Gun

Credit: Graham Cox

 

Not far from the Georgia Street entrance of Vancouver’s Stanley Park rests the famous Nine O’Clock Gun. One of the city’s older monuments, this gun has watched Vancouver expand into the metropolis it is today. 

Unlike so many landmarks that reach a point where they shift from an active member of the community to a retired piece of history, the Nine O’Clock Gun continues to not only be used but every once in a while make a few local headlines. From lightning strikes to kidnappings, few have lived like the Nine O’Clock Gun. So join us as we explore the exciting adventures of this historic artifact of Vancouver.

Origins

Going into specifics, the ‘gun’ is actually a cast-iron navy type, twelve pound, muzzle-loader cannon. Although it was cast in 1816 in England, it didn’t reach Vancouver’s shore until 1894. Its original purpose was for local fishermen to set their chronometers and warn them that the fishing day was coming to a close. Previously, a stick of dynamite had been used on a fishing-rod (a much-needed improvement – especially for whoever had to light the dynamite!).

The Nine O’Clock Gun continues to fire today; every evening at 9:00 pm. Additionally, it has been fired to signal the start of the New Year, the moment of silence in the Remembrance Day ceremony, and the end of WW2. The gun was also fired for the death of its oldest friend, Captain WD Jones, who had been tasked with firing the gun for many years.

Credit: Tourism Vancouver/Nelson Mouellic

Repairs

Throughout its life, there have been times when the gun has remained silent. First in 1936, when a defective firing cap needed replacing and secondly, during the entirety of the Second World War. Also, in 1956, the city paused all firings due to damage. It seems that after 50 years of active duty, the Nine O’Clock Gun required heavy repairs.

With the barrel appearing thin and worn, and a small hole noticed, repairs involved 100 pounds of bronze welded to the cannon’s surface. Had this not been successful, the gun would have needed to be replaced, and an important piece of Vancouver’s history would have been lost.

While time and age seem to affect the gun the most, it also once met the misfortune of a lightning strike, which delayed the firing by almost 2 hours. The result was a series of electric failures requiring repair.

Credit: tyler.the.photographer via Instagram

Pranks and Ransoms

The Nine O’clock Gun has also seen its share of pranks by local hooligans. One reason for the metal cage that now surrounds the gun, is the various attempts to place large rocks inside the barrel. The first time this happened, the floating Chevron Gas Station in Vancouver’s harbour had to replace their damaged sign. The second time, rocks showered the decks of nearby boats.

The second reason for the cage and the most infamous prank was because, in 1969, the gun was discovered missing. Soon after came the ransom note reading:

DEAR SIR, AS YOU ARE PROBABLY AWARE THE 9:00 GUN HAS BEEN KIDNAPPED. IF THE CITY OF VANCOUVER WANTS IT BACK A PHOTO OF OUR MAYOR TOM CAMPBELL, OR A REASONABLE SUBSTITUTE SHOULD APPEAR IN THE VANCOUVER SUN ON TUESDAY DONATING A HUNDRED DOLLARS TO THE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL.

The city never did donate the money, although community members actually raised $400 and donated themselves. Part of the reason for the lack of official city response was due to the timing of the kidnapping – around the same time as the start of the University of British Columbia’s engineering week, a time where pranks occur annually. In the end, the gun was returned and no other kidnappings have occurred.       

Credit: Tourism Vancouver/Barberstock Films

 

Whether you are a visitor that stays late to watch the firing or a local who uses the blast as a curfew warning, it is hard to imagine Vancouver life without the Nine O’Clock Gun.

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Sources

Russwurm, L. (2013, November 07). Vancouver Was Awesome: The Adventures of the Nine O’Clock Gun |. Retrieved August 22, 2018, from https://www.vancouverisawesome.com/2013/11/06/vancouver-was-awesome-the-adventures-of-the-nine-oclock-gun/                                     

History of Vancouver – Nine O’Clock Gun at Stanley Park. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.vancouverhistory.ca/archives_gun.htm

Post, M. (2013, May 30). History of Stanley Park Nine O’clock Gun. Retrieved from https://www.insidevancouver.ca/2013/05/30/history-of-stanley-park-nine-oclock-gun/

 

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