Gardens and Lakes
Although Stanley Park is better known for its majestic cedars and firs than for its flowers, the park has several gorgeous gardens as well. Stanley Park gardens include an arboretum, a rose garden, a rhododendron garden, and a pictorial carpet bed at Prospect Point, the highest point in the park.
The great windstorm of 2006 revealed traces of a long-forgotten rock garden in the area of the Teahouse in Stanley Park restaurant. The Rock Garden was once one of the park’s star attractions and one of its largest man-made objects by area. A monument to the Nisei of British Columbia is immediately west of the Vancouver Aquarium and is accompanied by plantings of Japanese maple and flowering cherry trees and other plants from Japan.
The Shakespeare Garden is nestled between the Rose Garden and forest. The garden pays homage to Shakespeare and is a diverse arboretum that includes trees mentioned in his plays and poems. There are about 45 trees that form the arboretum. Trees designated from the works of Shakespeare have been affixed with plaques that display their appropriate quotes.
Stanley Park Rose Garden
The Stanley Park Rose Garden is part of a larger, landscaped garden of annuals, bulbs and perennials that slope down the causeway to the Stanley Park Pavilion. There are more than 3,500 plants on display at the Rose Garden, and it is best enjoyed during the peak bloom times of June to October and from late March to April. The Rose Garden is located off Pipeline Road, near the park’s West Georgia Street entrance.
Ted and Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden
The Ted and Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden is best viewed during the first two weeks of May. In the late 1960s, the park board received an extensive collection of hybrid rhododendron and azalea plants from the Royston nursery belonging to Ted and Mary Greig, who were renowned rhododendron hybridizers. Approximately 4,500 plants are planted around the Stanley Park Pitch and Putt golf course.
Beaver Lake is a small lake that is mostly covered by lily pads and is home to fish and water birds. As of 1997, its surface area was 3.95 hectares, but the lake is slowly shrinking in size. One of Vancouver’s few remaining free-flowing streams, Beaver Creek, joins Beaver Lake to the Pacific Ocean and is one of two streams in Vancouver where salmon still return to spawn each year.
Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park is one of Vancouver’s best-kept secrets. The artificial lake is a 16.6-hectare (41 acre) body of water, west of Georgia Street, near the entrance to Stanley Park. Surrounding the lake is a 1.75 kilometre (1.09 mile) trail that hundreds of people use daily. The lake is a nesting ground for many species of birds and animals, including blue herons, Canada geese, ducks, eagles, skunks, squirrels, and swans.
Lost Lagoon was originally a shallow part of Coal Harbour, which itself is an extension of Burrard Inlet. In 1909, the park board retained the services of T Mawson and Associates to create the artificial lake. In 1929, the saltwater pipes entering the lake from Coal Harbour were shut off, turning Lost Lagoon into a freshwater lake. Robert Harold Williams erected a lit fountain in 1936 to commemorate the city’s Golden Jubilee. The fountain was restored for the World Expo in 1986.
The name for Lost Lagoon comes from a poem written by Pauline Johnson, who explained her inspiration:
“I have always resented that jarring unattractive name [Coal Harbour] for years. When I first plied paddle across the gunwhale of a light canoe and idled about the margin, I named the sheltered little cove Lost Lagoon. This was just to please my own fancy for, as that perfect summer month drifted on, the ever restless tides left the harbor devoid of any water at my favorite conoeing hour and my pet idling place was lost for many days; hence my fancy to call it Lost Lagoon.”
In 1922, the lake was officially named Lost Lagoon by the park board, long after Johnson’s death and, ironically, after the lagoon had been permanently lost after becoming landlocked.
The Lost Lagoon Nature House, operated by the Stanley Park Ecology Society, has displays where visitors can learn about the animals and plants of Stanley Park. The Nature House is a valuable resource of information and is located on the southeast shore of Lost Lagoon under the viewing plaza at the corner of Chilco and Alberni Streets. It is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM from July to August, and is open during the weekends from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM from September to June.