| With all the devastation in Stanley Park caused by our severe storms at the end of 2006 it made me think just how much the park has meant to me.
On May 12 1886 the federal government declared the area as parkland making it the largest urban park in North America, New York's Central Park being close at 843 acres.
Stanley Park covers 404.9 hectares (1000 acres) much of which is natural forest accessed by numerous trails.
At the East end of the park is the most public area housing such things as a zoo, aquarium, outdoor theatre, and numerous other fun and cultural atractions but enough of the tourist attraction propaganda, this is about the park and me.
When I first arrived in Vancouver I lived close to the park and visited it frequently on weekends.
I officially proposed to my wife while on a walk around Lost Lagoon which flanks one side of the park. We would walk for hours together around the lagoon, through the trails or around the sea wall. Always present was the cry
of the peacocks or the honking of Canada Geese as they flocked around the lagoon.
Numerous other wild animals and birds make Stanley park their home the most noticable being herons and Mallard ducks.
Our favourite animals, however, had to be the cheeky friendly squirrels who were always willing to play.
On one beautiful afternoon we took a walk on one of our favourite trails conveniently called 'Lovers Walk' and decided to carve our initials in a tree. This trail led right through the forest to the west side where it emerged close to the 'Tea House'.
After tea and scones we marvelled once again at the huge hollow tree standing right in the middle of the road which circles the park.
It seemed only fitting that the place we loved so much would be the venue for our wedding reception.
The Stanley Park Pavillion nestled among the trees at the east end of the park made the perfect setting.
Even today walking past that beautiful building brings back memories of that happy day when we set out in life together.
More personal pictures
of Stanley Park
At the end of 2006 a huge storm hit Vancouver and over 3000 trees were uprooted in Stanley park. The seawall was also damaged by a slide.
Restoration work is already underway due to the immediate outpouring of donations from the people and businesses in Vancouver and the surrounding area. They are expecting to have the main work done in time for the tourist season but much of the park as we remember it will take much longer. Trees that were here before Columbus discovered America are now having to be hauled away. They will leave some fallen trees as this is a natural part of any forest but most will have to be removed. Our beloved trails are all closed because of the fallen trees but I am quite sure they will all open in due course even if some must be rerouted. I like to believe that the tree with our initials in it survived but I guess we will never know.
There is a positive side to all this. Some areas in the forest now have beautiful views of the mountains and it gives the parks board a chance to change things they would never have been able to do before. Reforestation of the hardest hit areas will be done with the hardiest of local species trees changing from some of the more disease prone varieties.
Note: The picture at the top of the page was taken when we took my wife's sister and a friend with us on one of our walks.