#190: Cardero Park
#17 in Downtown
1601 Bayshore Drive
A small area across from the Westin Bayshore Hotel, Cardero Park is a small strip of green space surrounded by walking and bike paths on both sides. Huzzah.
But! While the green space in the middle is too small and too much a hump to do anything, there are plenty of benches that indent the area, giving folks an opportunity to take in the beauty of Stanley Park and the surrounding Coal Harbour visage. And there’s a small bit of the park that juts out into the middle of English Bay, creating a mini pond that provides a little more visual interest.
And that’s about the extent of what you can say for Cardero.
#189: Choklit Park
“This site was formerly the location of the Purdy’s Chocolate factory, hence the name!”
#9 in Fairview
2400 Spruce Street
If we were ranking parks for interesting architecture and backstory, Choklit Park would be significantly higher on this list.
Leased to the Purdy chocolate company in 1970, the company created a children’s playground on the steep embankment between 7th and 6th Avenue in the Fairview neighbourhood. In exchange, Purdy’s created a driveway that helped with their loading issues for trucks, another example of the interplay between commerce and community desires that has characterized much of the city’s park development.
“That’s the way a kid would spell it,” said Purdy’s owner Charles Flavelle of the name, and it stuck around even when the land was transferred back to the city in the 1980s.
In the end, the playground was taken away, and the land was turned into a winding brutalist park, with ample trees and flowers to provide a pleasant background as you walk down the path or stare at the slightly obstructed view of downtown.
And yet, the park loses serious marks for being designed with the abled-bodied solely in mind — there’s no way of getting down to the lower tier. And while it’s a pleasant place to sit and enjoy a view, there are literally hundreds of places in the city where that’s the case. It’s part of the reason why Vancouver is Vancouver(™).
Still, it’s an interesting place, with an interesting backstory, and such places enrich the heritage of a city, even when they’re not much of a park on their own.
#188: Valdez Park
“It is a dog park…hopefully full-time someday.”
#7 in Dunbar-Southlands
3210 West 22nd Avenue
On the west side of the city, this is the only official off-leash dog park between Jericho Beach, Kits Beach, and King Edward, which might explain why Valdez Park is so busy with dogs all the time.
As such, it Serves Its Purpose, which is a continuing theme of some of these lesser parks in Vancouver’s arsenal. But the off-leash area comprises the entire park (unlike most, where it occupies a section), meaning it’s not really hospitable to non-dog owners hoping for a quiet walk or picnic. And the lack of amenities or interesting design elements also limit its versatility.
At the end of the day though, dogs need parks too.
#187: Park Site at Renfrew
“There is a couple benches and a water fountain.”
#16 in Hastings-Sunrise
2899 Wall Street
Sometimes called “Avant Park” for the townhome development to the east of it, this park site is the most eastern of the ones that dot Wall Street, and the most modern-looking, owning most likely to community amenity dollars from those Avant properties.
There’s a little path that surrounds the park, and a couple of benches and a water fountain, but it’s too small to do anything and the view of the port is much the same as you’ll see in other parks.
Hard to fault a pleasant view though.
#186: Creekway Park
#15 in Hastings-Sunrise
2901 East Hastings Street
Have you been in the far northeast of the city and wanted to walk directly between Hastings Park and New Brighton Park?
You probably haven’t, given the mishmash of highways and busy roads that dot the area. But if you DID, you’d find the interesting Creekway Park, the result of a creek restoration done by the park board last decade.
It provides an interesting walk through bushes and marshy plants, although the creek itself was mighty dry when we explored this area in the summer. Regardless, the unique pedestrian and cycling path is helpful, and is certainly an upgrade over the gravel parking lot that used to sit there.
#185: Lower River District Park
“Very tiny, built not for the neighborhood but for the condo residents.”
#10 in Killarney
3180 Riverwalk Avenue
The city’s new “River District” is the biggest development since the Olympic Village a decade ago, but because it’s in the furthest southeast corner of the city, it’s likely out of mind for most folks.
But it’s filling it, development by development, and with it are slowly coming things like parks.
This is one of two that has been completed, a small simple green space with lots of plants and benches around a basic walking path. It’s well done for what it is, and is an example of how smartly designed places don’t need to be large or extravagant to be welcoming, even if this one is particularly basic.
It’s worth noting that every park here on out is considered “acceptable” by our ranking team — we’re still not at anything really good, but these parks are fine enough for what they’re offering.
#184: Park Site on Shaughnessy
“Getting to the park can be a bit confusing.”
#8 in Marpole
9250 Shaughnessy Street
Among the stranger bits of parkland in the city is tucked in an industrial area south of Marine Drive, south of Kent Street which serves as the main corridor for the businesses, all the way down Shaughnessy Street to the Fraser River.
Finally you’ll reach the end of the road, and see on your left what amounts to a secret park: less a cohesive green space and more a collection of things you can use.
There’s a covered picnic table, rare in a city that doesn’t prioritize them, a few benches, and the only beach volleyball courts in the south side of the hill. Navigate the rocks, and you’ll be able to get right next to the river, with a very rocky beach there for sitting.
It’s quite amusing, if fairly confusing, especially since the city barely acknowledges the existence of the park, and has shown no real interest in improving it, despite a request in the 2014 Marpole Plan for improved signage
But if you work in the area — or just live south of 41st and crave some quick beach volleyball — it will probably do the trick.
#183: Prince of Wales Park
“the playground was kinda lame.”
#6 in Arbutus Ridge
4780 Haggart Street
Another mediocre park next to a secondary school, Prince of Wales has a small playground that is barely passable for kids under five, and a large long field to play sports in. Between the two lie some trees — the provide some definition to the park, but not enough for any particular exploring.
Finally, there’s an unmaintained incline on the park’s west side. It gives some texture, but little else.
Still, ample green space is provided for all sorts of activities. One could do worse.
#182: Bates Park
“Almost no one goes there, there is nothing worth seeing, and the nearby Highway 1 is noisy!”
#14 in Hastings-Sunrise
669 Fellowes Park
Jammed between the Second Narrows Bridge and Boundary Road, the most northeastern bit of land in Vancouver used to belong to the Bates Family, who bequeathed their property to the city for use as a park.
To call it a “park” is a stretch though, given that it’s a small collection of short, somewhat patch trails that connect with the Trans-Canada Trail and Burnaby’s Montrose Park.
The highlight is a collection of homemade treehouses that are charming if you feel safe enough to climb up to them. Unless you’re a fan of the show Supernatural. Then the highlight is getting to see the entrance to the Men of Letters bunker in the flesh.
#181: Deering Island Park
“Very small park that is pretty, generally quite empty as well.”
#6 in Dunbar-Southlands
3530 Deering Island Place
A tiny island on the southwest corner of Vancouver that served as both farmland and residential area for BC Packers cannery workers, Deering Island was transformed into a small suburban-style single-family development with waterfront views in the 1980s.
While the push by some Vancouver residents to turn the entire island into a park failed, in 1999 a park was officially proclaimed on its far west side. A small green space next to the road transitions to a walking path next to the water for 70 metres or so.
Perfectly pleasant for island-dwellers, in other words. Plenty of more interesting waterfront options for the rest of us, however.