A Long Vancouver Beach Walk

A lot of attention is paid to Vancouver‘s downtown, but just over the Burrard Street Bridge in the Kitsilano neighbourhood is a bike/walk that allows visitors and locals to enjoy beaches and views.

The best place to start is at the corner of Cypress and Cornwall where the No. 22 bus, which goes to/from downtown, stops. Once there, head north on Cypress St. and walk by the homes and look for the big totem pole in front of the Marine Museum. You will see a walking path that heads west and then curves to the south. At this point you are looking at English Bay. Once past the point, you are officially on Kits Beach, which is a favourite spot for people to sunbathe, play volleyball or people-watch.

Part of the park includes an enormous pool (Kits Pool). Walk right past that, heading west. Eventually the park ends and you follow Point Grey Road, which reconnects with Cornwall Avenue. This is a bit of a boring part, but some of the homes will let you peek out at the excellent view of West Vancouver. After about a kilometre, you will encounter another beach park: Jericho Beach. Each beach park as its own concession stand as well lavatory facilities. (In the case of Kits Beach, it has been upgraded with a fancy restaurant!)

Jericho Beach Park seems to go on forever, but actually merges with Locarno Beach and eventually ends at the Spanish Banks. Look for great blue herons, seals, bald eagles and unusual people. For history buffs, Spanish Banks is named after an event in which Captain George Vancouver convinced Spanish explorers there was nothing of interest on BC’s west coast.

Spanish Banks is where the nasty hill comes in. At this point unless you are keen on a challenge, turn back. For the rest of you, head uphill and stop occasionally for the view. At the top of the hill, you enter University of British Columbia (UBC) grounds. Watch for the signs to Wreck Beach. For the truly adventurous, lock up your bike and take the long, long walk down. However, if you are prudish, don’t. Although always in danger of being shut down by the city fathers, Wreck Beach is clothing optional. So plan accordingly. Often there are vendors of surprising things. Many years ago I was offered electric jell-o and chocolate truffles.

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