#180: Rosemary Brown Park
#15 in Kitsilano
2299 Redbud Lane
Named for the pioneering politician who was the first Black Canadian woman to be elected to provincial office, Rosemary Brown Park is a newer park built in conjunction with the mixed-use development that sits on top of the old Carling brewery.
The park itself, weirdly separate from the connecting Arbutus Greenway Park, has a nice design for such a small space, with one area for sitting and a tiny playground for kids.
But the playground is only intended for the smallest of toddlers, the apartments next door are a little too close to the park to feel fully comfortable if you don’t live there, and there are much larger and more interesting parks directly north (Arbutus Greenway) and west (Connaught).
#179: McCleery Golf Course
“You will have 4 to 5 mosquitoes circling you at all times.”
#8 in Kerrisdale
7188 Macdonald Street
There has always been debate over Vancouver’s golf courses.
The immense amount of land they take up, the development pressures that came with population growth, the ebb and flow and golf’s standing in society have meant the places people played in the first half of the 20th century regularly shifted: courses at Jericho Beach and Quilchena were shuttered, while courses hugging the west coast of the city flourished. Today, the future of the city’s three public courses are periodically debated, while one private club has been transferred back to the Musqueam, with another set to do so in 2033.
But back to those public courses: there are three of them, all in different areas in the south side of Vancouver, all in good condition and all with interesting birds and plants for people to enjoy if they prefer a walk around the boundaries of the course instead of swinging a seven iron.
McCleery is the least interesting of them though: formerly a family farm, the course is mostly flat and plain from a topographic standpoint. The course has a few too many water hazards for a novice to particularly enjoy, but the routing isn’t particularly exciting for those who have played some of the region’s other tracks.
Of course, it’s still a good walk spoiled, with a couple of views of the Fraser River added in, and if you’re smart enough not to pick up the game, it becomes a good walk, period.
#178: Oxford Park
“The smell of rubber coming off the ground at the playground is so strong it’s sickening.”
#14 in Grandview-Woodland
2050 Wall Street
A small park across the street from Cambridge, Oxford is as equally mediocre, ironic considering the esteemed universities for whom both streets and parks are named for.
There’s a small but adequate playground for toddlers on this side hill, although there are plenty of reports of the rubber bottom turning hot and putrid during a heat wave. There’s also some interesting art to look at on the adjacent building, and a few trees to provide a bit of texture.
Nothing awful about it, in other words. But with so many waterfront parks nearby, and the superior Pandora Park fairly close if you have kids, there are few reasons to visit.
#177: Harbour View Park
“a couple benches overlooking the port.”
#13 in Hastings-Sunrise
2600 Wall Street
Another park that technically has no name, but which Google has given an accurate moniker, Harbour View has an excellent view of the harbour and the activities of the port from the end of Penticton Street.
It’s hard to give a high score, owing to its very small footprint. But if you enjoy look at giant shipping containers with mountains as a backdrop, this is probably the most superior choice among the Wall Street pocket parks.
A number of trees and a bit of a slope also give the plot of land some character.
#176: Westmount Park
#6 in West Point Grey
4651 West 2nd Avenue
Built in 1927 as part of a subdivision of houses that are now among the most valued properties in the entire province, Westmount is another one of the city’s underdeveloped triangular parks, this one on a fairly steep hill.
However, there’s a few things that make it valuable for the community, including a small playground good for older toddlers, and a pair of swings where you can peer through the many douglas fir trees to get a glimpse of English Bay.
And those trees are dense enough that to provide some shade and a somewhat interesting walk.
#175: Elm Park
“Fantastic place for a baseball game.”
#7 in Kerrisdale
5800 Elm Park
Less an actual park and more a collection of sports facilities, Elm has tennis courts, a lawn bowling club, washrooms and a baseball field, and if you need to do any of those three things the park will provide quite well, with trees on all sides providing shade and noise reduction from the busy commercial area of Kerrisdale to the north.
If you’re requiring anything else though, it will be lacking — no playground, no picnic tables, just a small strip of grass between the field house and the baseball diamond.
#174: Point Grey Park Site at Trafalgar
“Do not try and swim here!!!! You’ll get all cut up on barnacles.”
#14 in Kitsilano
2601 Point Grey Road
The easternmost of the Point Grey Road parks, this one has a number of benches where you can get wonderful views of Stanely Park and English Bay, plus there’s a picnic table that was installed a few years ago.
On the east side of the park there’s a rock with an engraved story about Vancouver in Ye Olde Times, of which there are around 15 more sprinkled through the city.
This was one of the first pieces of land purchased by the Park Board on the street for just over a million dollars in the early 1970s. They are worth, um, considerably more now.
#173: McGill Park
“Basically just a green space.”
#13 in Grandview-Woodland
2305 McGill Street
Another park named for an adjacent street originally named for a prestigious university in the far northeast corner of Vancouver, McGill is a small, semi-hidden field just off Nanaimo Street, with fencing and a layer of trees providing some reprise from the busy street.
While a decent use of a sloping space, the park itself is fairly minimal: a couple of interesting murals and tables to sit at, but a bit too cluttered for any activities aside from some green space for your dog to roam.
#172: Point Grey Park Site at Stephens
“watched fireworks from here… was ok but a little bit too far away.”
#13 in Kitsilano
2699 Point Grey Road
This park site is slightly better due to the more head-on view of the mountains one provides, a couple more benches that are closer to the view, and a patch of land that has a few more gentle slopes for games of bocce.
It’s also the site that became the subject of political controversy in 1991, because two years after the city bought the last for $1.9 million, some park board commissioners argued it should be flipped for a profit to build more parks on the east side of the city.
Plus ça change…
#171 Nat Bailey Stadium
“Baseball isn’t a fun sport.”
#7 in Riley Park
4601 Ontario Street
Everything about Nat Bailey is a throwback to the past — the stadium was built in 1951, originally called Capilano Stadium, before renamed in 1978 in honour of the founder of B.C. ‘s venerable White Spot restaurant chain.
Its main purpose is to be the home of a summer-only minor league baseball team, a reminder of when Vancouver wasn’t major league enough to be home to any major sports outside hockey.
There was the risk of it being demolished in the early 21st century, but enough supporters (and fundraisers) came together to keep it operating. And recent renovations make the stadium more than just nostalgia: it’s a fun place to watch a game with solid production values, good party sections and fun gimmick nights (fireworks, dog day, Jays alumni).
Ranking Nat Bailey as a park is weird, because it’s a concrete heritage site where you can’t do 95% of the things you associate with a park.
But if you don’t mind spending a bit of money, and don’t mind having the patience needed for three hours of baseball, you’ll have a good time.