Metro Vancouver has often been called the City of No Fun. Sure, the Rainforest Cafe, Hard Rock Cafe, Kelseys and Planet Hollywood franchises packed up and left years ago, and the number of Milestones restaurants has shrunk. But we have something here that’s priceless: natural beauty and great weather 95% of the year. Here are some hidden gems that help me relax and re-focus.
Minoru Park (Richmond)
I’d been playing tennis here for years, unaware that behind the courts and baseball diamond was the verdant Pierrefonds Garden and historic Minoru Chapel. Enjoy 360 degrees of nature’s best with beautiful ponds and waterfalls, prolific riots of colourful flowers, majestic trees, and bushes. All this, in addition to a basketball court, a children’s playground, artificial turf fields (two!), bowling greens, cricket pitch, and track and field oval. More photos!
Seymour Valley Trailway (North Vancouver)
This paved 10 km scenic path easily accommodates four cyclists side by side. Several fully outfitted picnic sites are available if you want to lunch and take in the views. With alpine meadows, trees and creeks, you needn’t worry about civilization encroaching here. Its many inclines and declines makes the SVT popular with hikers, Nordic walkers, rollerbladers, and cyclists in the spring, summer and fall. Be there by 11am; parking spaces fill up fast. More photos!
The Secret Garden of Tsawwassen (Tsawwassen)
Just minutes away from the recently rebuilt Centennial Beach Cafe, the Secret Garden of Tsawwassen is indeed a place of contemplation–a world away from the bustle of downtown Vancouver. An almost reverent serenity surrounds you as you pass the welcome sign. The winding and ever-evolving layout of the garden, with its artfully placed exotic flowers, bushes and trees, is the decade-long personal labour of love of local inhabitant Brian Whitehouse. More photos!
Westham Island (Ladner)
I visited Westham Island seven years ago when the biking bug bit me again. Don’t let the weathered bridge fool you–in addition to being the home of the George Reifel Bird Sanctuary, there’s lots to see (and taste!) on this quaint and picturesque little island: BC wines from the Westham Island Estate Winery, preserves and fresh produce from Emma Lea Farms and Westham Island Herb Farm, and eight kinds of honey from Westham Island Apiary. More photos!
Extended Image Acknowledgements
- Photo Gallery, Seymour Valley Trails (Photo credits: KeepItSurreal on Flickr).
- Photo Gallery, Secret Garden of Tsawwassen (Photo credits: Wanderin_Weeta on Flickr).
- Photo Gallery, Westham Island (Photo credits: Jackie Poon on BC Living)
- Richmond Minoru Park (richmond.ca)
- Seymour Valley Trailway (clubtread.com)
- Take a Westham island Farm Tour (bcliving.ca)
- This Garden was Built for Peace (blogs.vancouversun.com)