Stanley Park is one of the best things about living in Vancouver. It's approximately 1000 acres (compared to New York's Central Park at 800) - and takes up about half of the downtown peninsula.
I'm lucky enough to live in Vancouver's TINY downtown core, which means Stanley Park is running distance from my house. Its also running distance from lots of hotels, so if you're here from out of town you should totally check it out.
Below is my 8 mile running route. The little diagonal line going from the forested area across the little inlet is the Lions Gate Bridge. You'll see a photograph of it below.
Route Map (8 miles / 13km)
The seawall around Stanley Park can get rather crowded on warm, sunny weekends. Weeknights are much more quiet. It's important to note, that bikes are supposed to stay on one (clearly marked) side of the path while pedestrians are supposed to stay on their side. If everyone sticks to the rules we'll all get along just fine. Sadly, many a tourist seem to be caught unawares of our local customs, which can lead to unfortunate mishaps.
Fellow Runners on the Seawall at Coal Harbour
There are lots of monuments and viewpoints along the way, a few of which are pictured, below:
Statue of Harry Jerome, who competed for Canada in
three Olympic Games, and set seven world records
including the 100m in 10.2, 10.1, and finally 10
seconds in 1960
The Nine O'Clock Gun, which is a 12-pound
muzzle-loaded Naval cannon, has been
declaring the time of day for over 100 years
Here's the "Girl in Wetsuit" statue (1972), which
you can get a better look at here. It was
commissioned by the city as a modern take on
the "Little Mermaid" in Copenhagen
Replica fibreglass figurehead from the SS Empress
of Japan, which sailed between Vancouver and Asia
from 1891-1922. The original wooden figurehead
can be found at the Vancouver Maritime Museum.
The Lions Gate Bridge looming in the distance,
with the North Shore beyond
The far side (north side) of Stanley Park, between the
Lions Gate Bridge & English Bay
The beach at English Bay, which is visible as the
seawall exits Stanley Park.
This is a great route for the natural scenery, cultural sites, and great people watching. Its not uncommon to spot Herons and Harbour Seals along the way too, which is an added bonus. There are a few drinking fountains along the way, though not as many as you might expect - so its a good idea to bring water.