#20: Habitat Island

“Best place for a beer with some great views and usually some really cool people hanging around too.”

#1 in Mount Pleasant

1616 Columbia Street

For Kids

B-



For Adults

B+



Design

A



Atmosphere

A+



Final Score

30.96


20 short notes on Vancouver’s 20th best park.

  1. Yes, Habitat Island is its real name. Not “Beer Island”. 
  2. Why is it called Beer Island? Well, it’s a man-made island (technically a peninsula where you have to cross), and people like to drink there. 
  3. People like to drink pretty much anywhere, of course. But Habitat Island is a relatively secluded waterfront area with many places you can sit, in an area highly populated with childless Millennials, so you do the math. 
  4. Overall, its reputation as “Beer Island” is overblown — on any day you’ll see a few people quietly imbibing somewhere on the island or rocks surrounding it, but more people just enjoying the view,
  5. And the mystique of Beer Island takes away from the park’s actual backstory, which is plenty fun itself: the federal government required the city to create more shoreline when it took some away to create Olympic Village. An island was certainly one way to create a lot of artificial shoreline in a concentrated area. 
  6. As the story goes, it was created from 60,000 metres of rock and gravel and sand from related Olympic construction.
  7. They also planted 246 trees
  8. And 20,929 shrubs.
  9. They also added a few little trails that go nowhere, and there’s enough big rocks and little bushes that it’s a fun area to explore for small kids.
  10. There used to be more trees and foliage before — that was probably more fun for people clandestinely drinking, but likely makes it a little more safe overall.

11. The ebb and flow of the rocks surrounding the island provides fun variety (and additional hangout spaces at low tide)
12. The legend is the park architects wanted to make it a true island at high tide, but it was nixed because of obvious safety concerns. It still happens from time to time though, and it is delightful.
13. This park is right next to Hinge Park, both in location and in ranking — we don’t know why they aren’t considered the same park, but obviously it would be a top 10 park if that were the case.
14. The level of detail and possibilities in a small space really is impressive
15. It’s also objectively ridiculous such a fanciful place exists right in the heart of Vancouver, and with so many iconic views: to the east is Science World, to the west is English Bay, straight ahead is BC Place, and they’re all completely unobstructed.
16. Two of the people in our ranking team put Habitat Park in their top 5 — most others had it closer to their 30th-40th best park in the city.
17. Were those two people the most likely to indulge in the nickname of the park? Who can say yes.
18. No matter who you are, this is a fun park, a unique park, one of those parks that is neat to bring a friend from out of town, but pleasant to visit 1-2 times a year regardless.
19. You can give all the backstory you want, argue whether this ranking is too high or too low, but at the end of the day it’s a tiny island right in the middle of False Creek.

20. And it’s pretty neat that Vancouver has places like that.

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