#25: Queen Elizabeth Park

“Sad and cold and grey. Would not recommend unless you need a sad cold place to walk around by yourself and think about all the mistakes you made in your life. All the plants and trees are dead just like your hopes and dreams.”

#1 in Riley Park

4600 Cambie Street

For Kids

C



For Adults

A



Design

B-



Atmosphere

A



Final Score

30.07


It’s beautiful. It’s sprawling. It’s central. 

And it’s overrated. 

Queen Elizabeth Park was created in the 1930s, converted from a quarry site on the side of Little Mountain (its actual name), which had been used to build many of the roads in the quickly-growing city. With its majestic views and central location, it has been described as one of the jewels of Vancouver. If you were to go by marketing and general awareness, it would probably be the second best park in the city. 

And there’s *some* justification for that: befitting a mid-20th century park named for royalty, the park has a languid, regal splendor — if you like pretty flowers, there’s pretty much no better walk in the city, with three separate gardens to peruse. 

The Bloedel Conservatory is a lovely place to see exotic birds at an affordable price, the duck pond a relaxing place to see more common ones for free, the restaurant and surrounding viewing areas of downtown Vancouver a very solid (if overdone) setting for weddings or graduation photos. There’s a fairly good pitch and putt course, a passable disc golf course, and a giant arrangement of tennis, pickleball, basketball and ball hockey courts all slammed together. For our score, Queen E ranked only behind Stanley, Sunset Beach and VanDusen Botanical Gardens when it came to enjoyment for adults. 

But we’re not considering parks solely for how much adults would like them. And there are plenty of basic ways Queen Elizabeth could be easily improved. 

For one, a playground: literally a single one, anywhere in this massive park, would be nice!

For another, a transportation network that isn’t so car-centred (not to mention pay parking dependent!) would be helpful, considering it’s on top of a mountain. There’s no real internal path through Queen E, the roads and walking routes set up to promote going to one location at the top, enjoy the one thing there, and drive home. 

We haven’t even mentioned the acres and acres of underused green space, the half-baked off-leash dog park, the concrete-heavy top of the park, all the sports courts being fully exposed to the sun, but you get the point: Queen Elizabeth is a collection of fun and interesting things to do — particularly if you’re older and like pretty flowers — more than it is a cohesively fun and interesting park.  

It’s a big reason a new master plan for the park is being considered, with possible upgrades coming between 2023 and 2026. With so many new developments underway in the area (or already built along the Canada Line), it would be nice to have such a hyped park  live up to its massive reputation.    

By all means though, take your graduation photo there, get a nice seat at Seasons In The Park, and enjoy a game of pitch and putt. 

There’s lots to do, and lots to Instagram. And just because it doesn’t live up to its reputation doesn’t mean it’s not a nice place to spend an afternoon. 

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