#52: Nelson Park

“What’s with the gravel everywhere? Dogs don’t really like it.”

#4 in West End

1030 Bute Street

For Kids


For Adults






Final Score


Amazingly (or maybe not, given property values), Nelson Park is the only inland park between Stanley Park and Chinatown that’s a full city block large. 

That puts a lot of pressure on it to fulfill a lot of needs; little wonder The Province had a 2004 headline saying ‘Every urban issue is in this park’, and not a decade goes by where there’s not some temporary panic over the future of Nelson, and whether the park and Mole Hill neighbourhood can withstand another torrent of downtown development. 

That’s warranted, because Nelson is a lovely urban park, well used with a lot of uses. The dog park is dusty but just large enough, the community gardens are designed so some of them face the sidewalk — subtly integrating the park into the neighbourhood a bit more — and there’s ample amount of benches and wide cement paths. And we’re not even including the farmers market that takes place on the adjacent street. 

There’s a climbing apparatus for smaller kids, though we wish there was a bit more for them to do. There’s a bit of needless fencing separating each area as well, and we’re getting to the point in these rankings where being solid across the board only gets you so far. 

Debate over Nelson will likely intensify in the next decade, courtesy the installation of a hydro substation under the park and the redevelopment of nearby St. Paul’s Hospital.

With so many West End residents who care for it though, we imagine it will be in good hands. 

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