PARK ROYAL – The launching pad to North Shore Adventures
– by Mark Sissons
In a city world renowned for its gorgeous natural setting, Vancouver’s North Shore stands out. Just over the Lions Gate Bridge from downtown, this stunning outdoor playground offers something for everyone – from pristine beaches and tranquil seaside parks to challenging mountain trails that culminate in stupendous views. Whether you’re on the way to Whistler, catching a ferry at Horseshoe Bay, or simply fancy exploring a vibrant new neighbourhood, Park Royal’s over 200 popular shops, restaurants and services are the perfect complement to a well-deserved outdoor escape or family adventure. Perfect for stocking up on supplies, finding that perfect outfit or relaxing after an exhilarating day, West Vancouver’s favourite retail experience is also your launching pad for some
amazing recreational options. Here are some of our favourites.
Ambleside Park & Beach
Popular among locals and visitors alike, West Vancouver’s most accessible park offers plenty of ways to relax, not to mention spectacular views of Stanley Park and downtown Vancouver. You can stroll or cycle the popular oceanside Centennial Seawalk, drop by the dog park, play tennis or beach volleyball, or simply relax by the water in designated swimming areas monitored by lifeguards. Kids can test their skills in the newly renovated skateboard park, which is also popular for basketball, roller hockey and roller-blading. And the whole family can join the fun at the beautiful waterfront Pitch and Putt mini golf course.
John Lawson Park
Like Ambleside, John Lawson Park is an easy stroll from Park Royal. Named for John Lawson, the so-called ‘father’ of West Vancouver, this local favourite is located along the Centennial Seawalk. A great place to take the kids after shopping on a hot summer afternoon, its new splash park and playground feature a pirate ship and a train. You can also enjoy a cool dip in the ocean followed by a leisurely picnic in its expansive grassy areas. The Pier at John Lawson Park also offers spectacular views of Burrard Inlet, making it the perfect spot to watch cruise ships and catch the sunset.
A labyrinth of hiking trails that end in spectacular ocean viewpoints, 75-hectare Lighthouse Park is a true West Coast gem. Pick up a delicious picnic lunch from Park Royal and then set out to explore its extensive network of walking paths lined with old growth Douglas firs. Eventually, you will reach historic Point Atkinson Lighthouse, built in 1912, and designated a National Historic Site. This North Shore landmark overlooks a rugged, rocky coastline where seals are often spotted basking in the sunshine. Bring a picnic lunch, a book and a blanket for a lazy afternoon spent relaxing on the rocks as you watch sailing boats and yachts cruise past nearby Bowen Island.
Just a few minutes’ drive from Park Royal and world famous for the challenging Grouse Grind, a grueling natural staircase climb straight up its front side, Grouse truly offers something for everyone. The fun begins aboard the Grouse Mountain Skyride, an aerial tram that ferries visitors up the mountain 365 days a year. Waiting at the top is an alpine adventure for the whole family. In summer, you can hike, take in a lumberjack show, visit a wildlife refuge that’s home to a pair of much loved Grizzly bear orphans, watch a Birds of Prey demonstration, take a helicopter tour or even paraglide off the summit. And of course, in winter, enjoy superb skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and ice-skating.
North Shore Spirit Trail
Winding along the scenic North Shore waterfront, this fully accessible greenway extending from Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove features a 6.5 km long North Shore section that passes close to Park Royal and links familiar and popular destinations with new waterfront landmarks. Especially popular are Kings Mill Walk, which offers spectacular ocean views, and an expansive off -leash dog area that connects to the impressive Harbourside West Overpass, a 280-metre long pedestrian bridge over the train tracks to West 1st Street. From here, you can walk, run, cycle or inline skate all the way to Lions Gate Bridge.
Capilano Suspension Bridge
What better way to end your Park Royal day than with a thrilling visit to one of Vancouver’s most popular tourist attractions. This awe-inspiring 137-metre-long span suspended 70 metres above the Capilano River is a truly breathtaking experience. Inhale in the cedar-scented air as you dare yourself to complete the new Cliffwalk that snakes along a granite precipice along Capilano River. Or try the Treetops Adventure, which crosses seven suspended footbridges offering views 110 feet above the forest floor. Other activities include educational visits with resident raptors, guided history and nature tours, First Nations cultural immersion and much more.
Park Royal Shopping Centre
If you are looking for a day trip that can offer you endless opportunities all in one place, Park Royal can provide! We offer the option to shop, dine & play in a one-of-a-kind indoor/outdoor setting. Only minutes from downtown Vancouver, Park Royal is nestled between the mountains and the beach in beautiful West Vancouver. You can find 200+ brands including your favourite shops, unique stores, delectable restaurants, cafes, grocery stores, BC’s largest signature liquor store, many health & wellness services and more!