Vancouver: 14th May 2016.
The Hop On/Hop Off bus showed us the sights of the city, before taking us to Stanley Park, where we ‘hopped off’ to transfer to a horse-drawn carriage for a ride around the beautiful park.
The Park occupies the tip of the peninsula on which downtown Vancouver is located, and features high on the list of every ‘Things to Do in Vancouver’ list there ever was, With (it says here) 400 hectares of ‘West Coast Rain Forest, manicured lawns, lush gardens, sports fields, quiet trails, Seawall. Stunning views, beautiful beaches and a host of cultural attractions’ Sadly, we had nothing like the time to see it all, for we only had two days in Vancouver, and wanted to see more of the city.
It was dedicated as a Park in 1889, before which the area was used by miners and loggers, who used draught horses to go about their business … creating some of the trails that are still used today. After the Park was opened, horses continued to be used, but for a more leisurely purpose.
Our wagonette … they call it a ‘tram’ … was hauled by two beautiful horses; a Belgian and a Percheron. The Belgian is, I believe, highly prized in Canada; in fact, I once heard there’s a ‘sub-breed’ called the Canadian Belgian. The Park’s brochure describes them as ‘organically powered vehicles, running of hay and oats’ … but doesn’t mention the ‘exhaust’, which is highly beneficial to the flowers in the gardens!
They showed us the famous collection of totem poles, and the rose garden. No wonder the Vancouverites are so proud of it.
We hopped back on the bus for a short ride to Prospect Point, where there’s a superb view of the Lion Gate Bridge … and a café, where we got on the outside of a knee-buckling cheeseburger for lunch. And, some beer; which changed all my views of Canadian beer for the better, having only tasted ‘Labatt’s’, which I didn’t think a great deal of, up to now.