Frederick Arthur Stanley was the sixth Governor-General of Canada, presiding over
a completely uneventful five-year term beginning in 1888. He had the good fortune,
however, to be immortalized by two tangential occurrences during his service. One,
he authorized the equivalent of $48 to purchase a trophy for a hockey
tournament that became the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup and two, he was
in office when one of North America’s most spectacular urban parks opened in
More than 50 miles of roads and paths twist under majestic cedars, hemlocks and
firs in Stanley Park, located on West Georgia Street, Route 99/1A, on a peninsula
north of town on English Bay. The dogwalk along the 5.5-mile seawall around the
entire peninsula is one of the most popular activities in Vancouver. Started in the
1920s to halt erosion, the stone wall took six decades to completely finish. At nearly
three dozen Vancouver parks, including Stanley Park, dogs are allowed off-leash
from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m and 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Just northeast of town is the dog-friendly Cypress Provincial Park. The lure of the
North Shore Mountains looking down on Vancouver brought hikers and skiers by
boat until the opening of the Lions Gate Bridge in 1939. This new easy access
threatened the old growth forests when clear-cut logging began under the guise of
cutting ski trails. Preservation forces aligned to save the trees, including namesake
stands of yellow cypress, and the park was created in 1975.
Alpine canine hiking is convenient to Cypress Parkway on three mountains: Black
Mountain, Mount Strachan and Hollyburn Mountain. The Hollyburn Mountain Trail is
a hardy ascent of about four miles round trip to the summit and the Black Mountain
Loop Trail visits sub-alpine meadows and glacial lakes ideal for a doggie dip. The
full circuit will take about two hours.
Less strenuous fare can be found around the mountain bases. The Yew Lake Trail is
a 30-minute canine hike from the main Cypress Mountain visitor center, on fully
accessible terrain through wetlands and meadows.
Experienced hikers can tackle the Howe Crest Sound Trail but maybe not with your
dog. Small cliffs are negotiated with ropes and you will encounter narrow trail
chutes. The rugged 18-mile trail tops several mountains and is best attempted by
canine hikers in small, well-researched bites.
To reach Cypress Provincial Park take Exit #8 off the Upper Levels Highway in West
Vancouver, and follow the road up the mountain.