“Went last weekend because of the 5 stars and good recommendation it has, not my cup of tea. Big park but kind of dry, no many picnic tables or shaded places. Reviews say you can swimming here but I personally won’t do it. River/ ocean water was brown, maybe the time of the year? It had many dogs in the park and in the water.”
#1 in Kerrisdale
8705 Angus Drive
Vancouver has plenty of waterfront parks, it has plenty of beaches, it has plenty of off-leash dog areas, it has plenty of quieter nature parks, and it has plenty of places where it pays tribute to its past.
Nowhere do all those elements come together like Fraser River Park.
The design seems pretty simple: a giant field at the entrance, with a boardwalk along the river that goes on for a few hundred metres.
That field is massive though and has a slight crest to it, with a curved grouping of trees providing definition to the space. And it — along with the entire park — is an off-leash dog area, providing one of the largest areas in the city where they can roam freely.
And that boardwalk isn’t the type where you walk from Point A to Point B, say “well, that was certainly the ocean!” and then go on your way. It moves in and out of marshy areas into small beaches, gives multiple pathways for discovering the area, and has a few places where people can stop and sit.
Did we mention that beachy area? It’s a way to enjoy some sand without being crowded, in a place where stunning sunsets and all manner of boats are both common sights.
Plus, there’s plenty of educational display boards and equipment throughout the park (including a giant old-timey anchor), giving a sense of the industrial history in the area. And it’s one of the few places in the city where you can reserve picnic tables.
When it opened in 1988, The Province journalist Tony Eberts wrote that “Fraser River Park seems likely to become one of the city’s favourite outdoor destinations.”
That didn’t really happen — in a city with dozens of waterfront areas open to the public, Fraser River Park is ultimately a little too removed from the rest of Vancouver, tucked as it is in the far southwest, and it’s a bit difficult to get to if you don’t have a car.
Which means if you do visit, you’ll get that distinct sense of discovering a hidden treasure, the type you’ll come back to anytime you want a peaceful retreat from the city within its own borders.