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An Untouched Urban Rain Forest

Burnaby's Central Park

CANADA | Wednesday, 27 May 2015 | Views [87] | Scholarship Entry

Do you ever like to get lost? I've always had fun diving headfirst into a city, taking wrong turns or getting off at random stations trying to find the meat of a place, where the locals live. So it was one September morning in Vancouver when, after waking up on the couch of a recent acquaintance and quieting my hangover with grub from the incomparable Templeton on Granville and Helmcken, I decided to take my chances with Seattle of the North and hop on the SkyTrain, Vancouver's (mostly) above ground light rail transit system. Somewhere on the borders of Vancouver proper and its adjacent Burnaby, part of Greater Vancouver and home of Canada's second largest mall, I looked out and saw a sprawling ocean of green. Off I got at Patterson Station, descending the stairs and entering Burnaby's Central Park. Now anyone who's visited Vancouver will tell you all about Stanley park; "It's huge!", "It's Beautiful!", "There's so much to see and do!". And they're not wrong, but what they often forget to mention are the crowds. Vancouver is a beautiful city in the sun, but like most of the Pacific Northwest it spends about two thirds of the year dreary, gray, and overcast. Any day of half decent weather will see the streets, beaches, and parks filled with outdoor minded locals and wide eyed tourists, and this goes double on weekends. But Central Park is different, despite its ease of access and smaller size (though still an ample 200+ acres!) you'll find yourself alone, surrounded by nature and its accompanying sounds as you wander trails through a beautifully preserved rain forest. Once you get to wider spaces you'll see a bit more civilization, ringing the park are a small stadium, former home of the Vancouver Whitecaps soccer team, as well as tennis courts, a baseball diamond, playgrounds and picnic areas. But unlike Stanley park here you'll usually just run across locals, mostly young families, enjoying nature in the heart of their city and happy to chat with visitors. Still, for this writer's money stick to the trails, be it the five kilometer Terry Fox, or the two and a half Trail of Hope which both loop back to where you begin. Whether you're just passing through or you've lived on the coast your whole life you owe it to yourself to take a morning (a weekday if you can!) and wander this quietly preserved slice of a disappearing ecosystem right in the middle of Metro Vancouver.

Tags: 2015 Writing Scholarship

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