My Favourite Metro Vancouver Haunts

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.

Enjoy plenty of bunnies, geese, and breathtaking views at Pierrefonds Garden in Richmond Minoru Park. Stanley Park lovers, take note!

(Photo credit: BC Travel)

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! 

The Seymour Valley Trailway is part of the Lower Seymour Conservation Area. See fish breeding efforts in action at the end of the Old Growth Trail.

(Photo credit: vancouversnorthshore)

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!

Get a gorgeous glimpse of Eden with the Secret Garden of Tsawwassen. Feel free to leave comments in the guestbook. Donations are welcome.

(photo credit: the Vancouver Sun)

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!

Bring the family to the Westham Island Herb Farm to pick up your future jack-o-lantern from the pumpkin patch, and be sure to visit the haunted house before October 31st!

(photo credit: Jackie Poon | BC Living)

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!

  • 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)

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