When the COVID-19 lockdown started in March of 2020, my office closed down and I started to Working From Home (WFH). My daily commute, walking to work, was the primary way I got exercise each day. I rarely left the house for the first few weeks of COVID. The lack of daily exercise, the same four walls every day, and the general stress of COVID were causing me to be mildly depressed.
My partner suggested that we go to all the parks in Vancouver for exercise, a COVID-19 project, and to get to know all the different neighborhoods in Vancouver. A quick google showed that there were ~250 parks. If we went to a couple a day, we could see them all before the end of the year. With lots of parks on bike paths, we could potentially see a dozen or so parks on a single ride. As a way of confirming we had been to a park, we decided to do a selfie in front of each of the park signs and post it to social media. It took us seven and a half months to completed this project. We visited our last park on December 19th, 2020.
Some of my favorite parks:
- Deering Island Park - The small park on Deering island, has a good bench with great views of the Fraser River. From this park, you can walk the Fraser river trail and see a bit of Vancouver’s historic milling sites.
- Fraser River Park - On this walk along the river boardwalk you will see dogs playing in the off-leash section and a fantastic view of airplanes landing at YVR. A great place for recording “slow TV”.
- Queen Elizabeth Park - This gorgeous park is one of the most beautiful parks in the city. Filled with gardens, flowers, fountains, amazing views.
- Shannon Mews Park (aka New Park) - The european-style park just seems out of place in the city but is filled with wonderful garden beds, art, and a labyrinth.
- Crab Park - This park has a great view of the north shore, sea bus, Harbor air helicopters landing, all the boats in the Vancouver harbor and is a good place for a picnic.
- Marpole Midden - This seemingly ordinary park has a plain open field, but the history of this place was really interesting and well worth the visit. A National Historic Site of Canada
- Memorial South Park - Huge park, with lots of amenities, and all the sports fields. For me, the duck pond was the highlight as it had lots of wood ducks. A good place for a picnic.
- Habitat Island (aka Beer island)- It doesnt seem like much of a park, more of a gravel dumping ground from the Olympics, but this park has tons of birds calling it home. Good spot for just sitting around and watching the birds.
- VanDusen Botanical Garden - Is a beautiful park worth visiting however it does cost money.
- Jonathan Rogers Park - This park has good views, and is a great place for a beer.
We found many parks that didn’t have signs. Maybe a future project is to create signs for these parks.
Justin McElroy (CBC) @j_mcelroy did a similar project but also ranked and reviewed each park. He did a great job, you can find his website at vancouverparkguide.ca It looks like quite a few other people had the same idea this year. Anastasia French @Frenchastasia
When I started this project I created a spreadsheet of all the parks, sorted the spreadsheet by neighborhood, and tried to visit the parks based on neighborhoods. This worked, but I found it better to just create a google map of all parks across the city and check them off as we visited them. The map allowed spontanious viewing of the parks. If I was driving somewhere to pick up something, we would check my route to see if there were any parks nearby, then we took a detour to check them out. This had the nice benefit of making almost all trips outside of the house part of the parks project.
I wish I would have taken photos of the park beyond just the selfie. A 360 photo of each park would have been a great idea. Using a good camera instead of a camera phone. The camera phone made it easy but could not get low light shots or long distant shots. I wish I wrote a review of each park as I visited them, similar to what Justin McElroy did. The only stat I took from each park was, if it had a Vancouver parks board sign or not.
Before this project, I took the occasional selfie photo. Throughout this project, I took more than 1500+ one-handed, from the front-facing camera photos. If I have learned anything, is that a selfie is a horrible way of taking a photo and should be avoided at all costs. There are ways I leaned to make it “less bad”. Stagger people with one person in front of the other instead of inline. Taking the photo from above your head help to reduce the chin shots. Your head should be in the bottom 1/3 of the screen with what is interesting either above you or you should be on the right 1/3 of the screen. Rarely put yourself in the center of the photo. Don’t shoot across your hand, if you use your right hand to hold the camera, then the object should be on your left. Tilt your head right or left, so it’s not directly facing the camera this helps reduce the bug-eyed view. Line up your shorts then look at the camera lens instead of the picture on the phone. Take a photo, change position slightly, take another and repeat a few times before reviewing the photos. Taking a vertical and a horizontal photo for each sign helped a lot when making a photo book afterward. Do something interesting rather than just smiling at the camera, It’s all about lighting, get good lighting and you will get a good photo.
This was a great project for COVID-19 (2020). It allowed us to explore different neighborhoods that we wouldn’t have visited otherwise and got us some exercise. It also helped me mentally deal with COVID-19 and gave me something to look forward to every day.
251 Parks, 167 with signs, 84 without signs
MacDonald Beach Park, Robson Park, Guelph Park, Sahalli Park, Lilian To Park, Thornton Park
Andy Livingstone Park, China Creek North Park, Pine street community gardens, Riley Park Community Garden, Ted and Mary Gric Rhododendron Garden, Bloedel Conservatory
Charleson Park, second beach, Trillium Park, MacLean Park, Grandville loop park
Seaforth Peace Park, Choklit Park, Nat Bailey Stadium, Riley park, Strathcona Linear Park, Charleson Park, Hilcrest park, Downtown Skateboard Park
Coopers’ Park, Jean Beaty Park, Point Grey Road Park, Victoria Park, McSpadden Park, Kerrisdale Arena, Garden Park
Rupert Park, Dusty Greenwell Park, New Brighton Park, Charles Park, New Brighton pool, Garden Park, Templeton Park, Burrard View Park
Ron Basford Park, Vanier Park,
Vanier Park, Locarno Beach Park, Tatlow Park, Jean Beaty Park, Volunteer Park, Cultural Harmony Grove, Margaret Pigott Park
Point gray road park, Spanish Banks West park, Hadden Park, Kitsilano Beach Park
Parks with signs:
Deering Island Park, Guelph Park, Lilian To Park, China Creek North Park, Strathcona Linear Park, MacLean Park, Trillium Park, Sahalli Park, Tea Swamp Park, Strathcona Park, Andy Livingstone Park, Downtown Skateboard Park, Seaforth Peace Park, Thornton Park, Robson Park, McAuley Park, Granville Loop Park, Choklit Park, Riley Park Community Garden, Mountain View Cemetery, Hillcrest Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, Maple Grove Pool, McCleery Park, William Mackie Park, Ebisu Park, Marpole Midden, Fraser River Trail, Callister Park, SW Marine Dr Viewpoint, Sunnyside Park, Hastings Park, Clark Park, China Creek Skateboard Park, Pandora Park, W.C. Shelley Park, Sun Hop Park, Grimmett Park, Mount Pleasant Park, Woodland Park, Vancouver Island park, Alice Towley Park, Elisabeth Rogers Community Garden, Major Matthews Park, Glen Park, Langara Golf Course, Winona Park, Dude Chilling Park, John Hendry Park (Trout Lake Park), Trout Lake Community Centre, Copley Community Orchard, Cedar Cottage Community Garden, Norquay Park, General Brock Park, Slocan Park, Renfrew Ravine Park, Renfrew Park Community Centre, Beaconsfield Park, Douglas Park Community Centre, Heather Park, Cambie Park, Stanley Park, Charleson Park, Carnarvon Park, John McBride Community Garden, Ron Basford Park, Ash Park, Sutcliffe Park, Balaclava Park, Cultural Harmony Grove , Grays Park, Elsje Point & Kitsilano Seawall, Kitsilano Beach Park, Vanier Park, Kensington Community Centre, New Park, McBride Park, Musqueam Park, Elm Park, Tisdall Park, Oak Park, Volunteer Park, Almond Park, Spanish Banks West Concession, Point Grey Road Park, Connaught Park, Hastings Mill Park, Tatlow Park, Locarno Beach Park, Jones Park, Jean Beaty Park, Jericho Beach Park, Margaret Pigott Park, Tecumseh Park, Gordon Park, Hadden Park, Rosemary Brown Park, Arbutus Village Park, Quilchena Park, Delamont Park, Foreshore Trail, Coopers’ Park, Nanaimo Park, McSpadden Park, Victoria Park, Grandview Park Playground, Garden Park, Meditation Park, Burrard View Park, Dusty Greenwell Park, New Brighton Park, New Brighton Pool, Adanac Park, Charles Park, Rupert Park Pitch & Putt, Hastings Community Park, Clinton Park, McGill Park, Oppenheimer Park , Wendy Poole Park, CRAB Park at Portside, Nelson Park , Devonian Harbour Park , Marina Square, Coal Harbour Park, Trafalgar Park, MacDonald Park, David Lam Park, Thunderbird Park, English bay beach park, Sunset Beach Park, Memorial South Park, The Drive Temporary Community Garden, Cedar Cottage Park, Mac Innis park, Van Tech park , Sunrise Park , Falaise Park Park , Cariboo Park, Carleton Park, Price Park, Aberdeen Park , Foster Park , Gaston Park, Melbourne Park, Penticton Childrens Playground, Kingcrest Park, Nitobe Memorial Garden , Cartier Park, Sunset Park, George Park, Moberly Park, Fraserview Park, Sparwood Park, Champlain Heights Trails, Everett Crowley Park, Captain Cook Park, Champlain Heights Park, Oak Meadows Park, Kinross North Park, Kinross Middle Park, Fraser River Park, Killarney Park, Riverfront Park, Gladstone-Riverside Park
Parks without signs:
Barclay Heritage Square , Komagata Maru Memorial, Arbutus Greenway Park , Harbour Green Park , Lord Roberts Field , King George Basketball Court , Portal Park , Cardero Park , Devonshire Park , Park Site on Trinity Street , Cambridge Park , Wall Street Community Garden , Oxford Park , Creekside Park, Bates Park , Portside View Park , Commissioner Park , Park Site at N Renfrew St , Harbour View Park , New Brighton Beach , Franklin Community Park , Hastings Community , Kaslo Park , Prince of Wales Park , Carolina Park, St. Lui Park , Ravine Park , Kerrisdale Centennial Park , Eburne Park, VGH Energy Centre Plaza, Granville Park, Pine Street Community Garden, Willow Park, Shaughnessy Park, Laurel Landbridge Park, Hinge Park, Jonathan Rogers Park, Robson Square, Prince Edward Park, Riverview Park, Arbutus Park, Tyee Elementary School, Mosaic Creek Park, Britannia Park, Salisbury Park, Templeton Park, Creekside Park, Point Grey Park Site at Trafalgar Street, Point Grey Park Site at Stephens Street, Acadia Beach, Jericho Hill Grounds, Trimble Park, Westmount Park, Foreshore Park, West Point Grey Park, Shannon Park, Montgomery Park, Memorial West Park, Chaldecott Park, Malkin Park, Valdez Park, Quadra West Park, VanDusen Botanical Garden, Park Site on Blenheim, Braemar Park, park on trafalgar street, FBL U-Hill, Pacific Spirit Regional Park, Ross Park, Brewers Park, Humm Park, Bobolink Park sign, Kinross Ravine Park, Neighbourhood Park South, Fraser Foreshore Trail, Iona Beach Regional Park, Old Hastings Mill Store Museum, Chess park, McDonald Beach Park, Cleveland Dam, Brunswick Point, Gibbys Field