By Jamie Stolar
VANCOUVER — With the summer months rapidly approaching and temperatures about to be the best that Vancouver has to offer, what better way to kick off the season than a perfect picnic in a perfect place. But where you ask? Here are five of BeatRoute’s favorite summer spots to enjoy those long sunny days with food, friends and your favorite thirst quenchers. We narrowed down parks by accessibility and amenities, so be sure to get out there and enjoy the summer months in some of the city’s sweetest spots.
1. New Brighton Park
A little jaunt away from the city centre, New Brighton should be at the top of your list for checking out this summer. Right next to the Port of Vancouver just off McGill on New Brighton Road, this park is fully equipped with BBQ pits, picnic tables, a swimming pool and a big open green. New Brighton is also great for catching a romantic sunset or taking a quiet stroll along the ocean pathway.
View: The North Shore in all of its glory.
Food: City-standard concession. Unless greasy fried starch is your pallet, consider packing BBQ-able items.
Bonus: Little pockets of beach separated from the park by shrubs are perfect for concealing otherwise acts of PDA.
2. Crab Park
Sitting at the north end of Main Street is where you’ll find the second of our favorite ocean side parks. Formerly known as Portside Park, Crab Park was designated in 2004 by a neighbourhood park committee – Create a Real Available Beach. Crab Park at Portside has become a popular seaside destination for downtowners. With several monuments scattered throughout the park, the small pier that juts out into the ocean or the grass-covered hill that faces the North Shore mountains, Crab Park is the perfect spot for you and your chosen companions to spend the day.
View: The rear end of Gastown, a colourful assortment of barges, and the North Shore.
Food: No immediate options. Plan for a park/patio combo in Gastown afterward.
Bonus: Feel like you’re a part of the neighbourhood park committee camaraderie for a day.
3. Shaughnessey Park
The strange reality of having a park in the dead centre of the most affluent neighbourhood in Vancouver is that everyone in the surrounding area has a yard the size of a public promenade, hence his park virtually abandoned. Yet the shade from the gargantuan oak trees is ideal for drifting asleep in a mid-summer nap, only to wake up in a daze, wondering if you’ve been transported to the set of Downton Abbey, given your surroundings.
View: The tops of elegant houses, otherwise concealed by perfectly geometrically trimmed hedges.
Food: None in sight, but Meinhardt’s is a skip away if you want 30 types of balsamic vinegar, crunchy cornichons or smoked salt.
Bonus: A quick Google satellite view search will show you which houses have pools you might consider illegitimately bathing in.
4. Strathcona Park
Strathcona Park is by far the largest park of our chosen five. With baseball diamonds, basketball courts, skate park and soccer pitch, this park is definitely for the actively inclined. Of course if spectating is your sport of choice, there’s a huge field that is very suitable for this highly underrated activity as well. You may see circus-rope dancers and slack-line walkers set up, it’s just got that vibe. Keep an eye out for other special events at this park throughout the summer months, depending if you want to join in or avoid the crowds.
View: Industrial complex on one side, charming neighbourhood on the other, cloud of smoke depending on where you seat yourself.
Food: Read about Strathcona’s new food joints in this very issue of BeatRoute.
Bonus: A climbing wall to appease your inner Spiderman.
5. Woodland Park
Woodland Park can be found in-between McLean and Woodland on Adanac Street. Right across from Bomber Brewing and just down the street from Off the Rail Brewing Co. Woodland is the perfect place to stop before or after you go to refill you growler(s) of hoppy nectar. Woodland Park has two big baseball diamonds at either end of the park and sitting in between the two fields is a charming community garden as well as a wading pool.
View: Although you might be able to spot a square inch of ocean or tip of a mountain, the main attraction is the bike lane. Who wouldn’t tire watching breezy biker beauties for an afternoon?
Food: Skip the edibles and opt in for the great variety of local breweries within a short distance.
Bonus: Did we mention beer?BC, British Columbia, Crab Park, food and drink, New Brighton Park, parks, Picnic, picnic spots, Shaughnessey Park, Strathcona Park, Vancouver picnic spots, Woodland Park