#180: 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.
#179: 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 looking at giant shipping containers with mountains as a backdrop, this is probably the 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.
#178: 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.
Those trees are also dense enough to provide some shade and a somewhat interesting walk, making it perfectly adequate for the nearby community, if not worth directly seeking out.
#177: 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. If you need to do any of those three things, the park will provide quite well, with trees on all sides providing both shade and noise reduction from Kerrisdale’s busy commercial area 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.
#176: 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.
#175: McGill Park
“Basically just a green space.”
#13 in Grandview-Woodland
2305 McGill Street
Another park in the far northeast corner of Vancouver named for an adjacent street originally named for a prestigious university, 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.
#174: 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 than most of the Point Grey Road parks due to the more head-on view of the mountains, 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 of the properties 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…
#173 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 it was 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 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). Or at least was before two seasons were cancelled due to the pandemic.
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.
#172: Meditation Park
“Nice spot but too loud for the average meditator.”
#12 in Hastings-Sunrise
2366 Wall Street
Another Perfectly Acceptable Waterfront Pocket Park, this one at Nanaimo and Wall Street, Meditation Park has a number of subtle features that make it particularly charming, and arguably one of the best Wall Street pocket parks.
A few flowers and bushes separate the road from the rest of the park, giving it a secluded feel. Trees dot the tiny park in a way that gives it a more magical quality than some of the sparser park sites. The benches all face the ocean and provide a wonderful view of Lions Gate Bridge and the north shore.
In short, a park worthy of its name.
#171: Heather Park
“you’re better off walking 2 minutes down the street to douglas park.”
#3 in South Cambie
702 West 18th Avenue
You know how some schools have “annexes”, that are sort of its own thing, but also clearly connected to something bigger?
Heather Park feels a little bit like that. Just one block north of the incredibly large and popular Douglas Park, Heather has four tennis courts (presumably because Douglas has zero) and a small field used as an unofficial dog area (presumably because Douglas’ fields are very sports-oriented).
Two tiny springy swings in the shape of a duck sit under a tree; no need for anything more given the magnificent playground at Douglas.
Heather is often fairly busy though, a solid example of how a park can become quite popular if it fills two or three core needs very well.