“Big open spaces with unique waterfront views.”
#2 in Hastings-Sunrise
3201 New Brighton Road
“Here Vancouver Began,” read the plaque at New Brighton Park when it was named a historic site in 1968, one of those bits of quiet Indigenous erasure as the city created a narrative around its founding throughout the 20th century.
But the northeast corner of Vancouver does have plenty of colonial history — it’s where the Hastings Townsite began, and with it the city’s first post office and roads, along with a historic hotel that gave the area its name.
And New Brighton integrates that history into its design, with the port activity on either side and a prominent grain elevator giving full reminder of the fact Vancouver primarily grew because it was a convenient intermediary point for raw materials reaching the rest of the world.
Even without that historical context, one can appreciate New Brighton as one of the most unique parks in the city from a visual standpoint. And even without those views, New Brighton is still plenty fun.
There’s the outdoor pool, for one — a large rounded square, with dedicated swimming lanes and more casual wading areas, only matched by Kits in the city for the size and joy it brings.
And in many ways, all of New Brighton is East Vancouver’s version of Kits Beach: less busy, less celebrated, slightly grittier but nearly as beloved.
Take the shoreline itself; the beach isn’t really much to write home about, but it will do in a pinch. More importantly, there’s unique views of the eastern section of the North Shore, little walkways to get further out on the water, and a more natural, wetland feeling than most waterfront parks in the city.
In addition, there’s a large field in the middle, a new dog park right next to the water, and a decent playground — though arguably that’s the only part of New Brighton that feels rather ordinary, with its dated and inaccessible design and it’s weird location.
No, it’s not where Vancouver began. But it’s where people can swim and see the shoreline without being swarmed by people, while enjoying plenty of green space.
And that is more than enough.