Natural Wonders: Exploring The Stanley Park Rainforest Ecology

Stanley Park is a 405-hectare (1,001-acre) park that borders the downtown of Vancouver. The park has over half a million trees and many groves of old-growth Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir remain, the tallest of which stand 76 metres (249 ft) and the oldest trees are close to a 1000 years old.

Archaeological evidence suggests a human presence in the park dating back more than 3,000 years. The area is the traditional territory of Musqueam, Squamish and Ttsleil-Waututh indigenous peoples. 

The largest village in the park was near Lumberman's Arch and was called Whoi Whoi, or Xwayxway, roughly meaning place of masks. The reason for this name was the sacred mask used in potlatches and ceremonies was found in the rainforest near today's Beaver Lake.

1. The Gardens Around Lost Lagoon

Teaching meditation in the Bamboo Garden. The garden pathways around Lost Lagoon offer the ideal place to wander surrounded by flowers, plants and trees from all over the world.

2. Lost Lagoon Bird Sanctuary

The trail around Lost Lagoon offers incredible views of the North Shore Mountains and the downtown Vancouver skyline. Keep an eye out for all kinds of migratory birds and the 100s of ducks that call the freshwater Lost Lagoon home.


3. The Rainforest Ecosystem

The rainforests on the western side of Stanley Park are full of mystery and beauty. The God Head is a pilgrimage site for naturalists from all over the world.


4. Beaver Lake

In the middle of Stanley Park, you will find the peace and tranquility of Beaver Lake. In the spring the lake is covered in pink and white lotus flowers. Beaver Creek that runs out from the lake is salmon spawning habitat in the fall.


5. Siwash Rock

Siwash Rock is a famous landmark on the Stanley Park seawall, which. It is a column of slow-eroding volcanic basalt, it provides sanctuary to a colony of seabirds and has a small Douglas Fir on the top.


6. Old-Growth Groves

Some of the largest trees in Canada are found in Stanley Park. Here is the triple giant, a single Western Red Cedar that branches out. You will also find massive and ancient Douglas Firs and Big Leaf Maples.