Parks, recreation, and culture

People walking along the Coal Harbour Seawall

Coal Harbour seawall destination walk

Route statistics

Distance 5.77 km
Steps 7572
Elevation change 38 m

This 5.77 km or approximately 7,572 step circular route is a must for those interested in history, architecture, or exceptional views. Along the waterfront you will pass prominent buildings and an intricate network of lush green spaces all sharing the accessible, multiuse seawall. This urban trail displays the interesting mix of natural beauty and human ingenuity.

Route description

The walk starts and finishes at Canada Place, an "inspirationally Canadian" destination and hub of economic activity in Vancouver. Recognized across the world by its iconic great white sails, Canada Place is a symbol of nation pride on the west coast.

Also home to a cruise ship terminal, this elegant building holds a distinguished place on the waterfront and hosts many special events for the public throughout the year. Your walk will travel along the Canadian Trail and tour past historical points of interest which are marked by educational plaques.

Accessibility

Access to the Canada Place Promenade (lower level) is via the west side of the building only. An elevator located at the north end of the promenade provides access to the upper level promenade.

Note There is a significant incline on the Robson St to Burrard St section of the route.

Route details

Follow these step by step directions so you don't miss anything along the route.

Seawall

Seawall

Canada Place and the Vancouver Convention Centre

This award winning building won the title of "World's Best Conference Centre" in both 2002 and 2008, and is considered to be one of the most green convention centres in the world. The commitment to green technology is evident when viewing the building’s “living roof” from its west side. Featuring seawater heating and cooling, on-site water treatment, and a fish habitat built into the foundation; the Vancouver Convention Centre is a truly inspirational masterpiece of sustainable design.

Jack Poole Plaza and the Olympic Cauldron

Home to the 2010 Olympic Cauldron, Jack Poole Plaza was named for the head of the Vancouver Olympic bid committe which brought the 2010 Olympic Winter games to Vancouver.

Harbour Green Park

Constructed between 1997 and 2002, Harbour Green Park is the longest continuous waterfront park in the downtown area. It can be accessed from the seawall or from its grand Bute Street entrance. Here there is a spectacular water feature which doubles as a refreshing spray park in the summer.

Coal Harbour Community Centre and Park

A great example of Industrial design, with sleek curves and sharp edges, Coal Harbour Community Centre was built to reflect the area’s maritime culture, and resembles a ship. Offering programs from oil painting to sushi rolling, recreational opportunities for every age group and ability are available. The rooftop green space, aptly named Coal Harbour Park, has rolling lawns adorned with flowers and foliage. It overlooks the busy Harbour and provides an excellent vantage point to watch the floatplanes arrive and depart against the striking mountain backdrop.

Marina Square Park and Devonian Harbour Park

A restful and attractive place to visit at the foot of Denman Street. Make sure to check out the stepping stones that wind through the water feature at this location. From here you can see the Vancouver Rowing Club and several marinas.  As well, you can see Devonian Harbour Park the gateway to world famous Stanley Park.

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LightShed

LightShed

Artist: Liz Magor

The artwork, located on the downtown seawall near the Coal Harbour Community Centre and facing Stanley Park, is based on the old boat sheds that used to line the shore. The artist cast a ½ scale model in aluminum and coated it with luminescent paint. It is perched on top of cast pilings. At night a soft glow emanates from inside. Grosvenor, an international property group, commissioned this work by Liz Magor as a gift to the city. The artwork was cast in the Harman Foundry in Robert's Creek operated by Stephen Harmon, son of artist Jack Harman.

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Robson Street

Robson Street

This unquie strip, named after John Robson, Premier of British Columbia from 1889-1892, is famous for its eclectic mix of shops and is a favoured destination for tourists as well as locals. Its commerical traditions date back to 1895 when train tracks were laid along it, and a wide variety of small shops popped up to serve Vancouver's booming population. After the second World War the street became known as "Robsonstrasse", in homage of its pioneers. Traveling along Robson Street you will pass premier fashion retails and many fine dining restaurants. Be prepared for the hustle and bustle of eager shoppers at any time of the year.

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Burrard Street

Burrard Street

Hotel Vancouver

“Like the city that surrounds it, the hotel is rich in history, resplendent in natural beauty, vibrant and cosmopolitan”. Taking 11 years to complete, final touches to the hotel were made in 1939, making this the third hotel to be named 'Hotel Vancouver'.

Christ Church Cathedral

Over 100 years old and still in service, this Heritage building is a true marvel. It was built in 1894 and is an example of Gothic Revival architecture.  With stained glass windows and Douglas fir ceiling beams, the cathedral is an astonishing blend of old world design and new world materials.

Shangril-la

From the corner of Burrard Street and West Georgia Street you can also take in the Shangri-la. At the time of its construction it was the tallest building in Vancouver. It is a mixed use high rise standing at 201 meters, and it contains 62 storeys. This skyscraper is the 11th tallest building in Canada, and is known for its luxurious 5 star hotel. The building's podium complex has a spa, an Urban Fare specialty grocery store, a Vancouver Art Gallery display, and a cur rated sculpture garden open to the public.

The Bentall Centre

The five Bentall buildings have a great impact on the architectural appearance of Vancouver. These beautiful structures are equally pleasing at ground level with a multitude of open spaces alive with water features, native foliage and colourful planters. Pictured right is Five Bental.

The Marine Building

When it opened in 1930, uniformed doormen stood at its entrance beneath a huge polished brass archway. Reaching nearly 100 metres tall, Vancouverites were truly impressed. Gazing up towards the intricately carved marine scenery it is easy to understand why this building remains so important. Through a waving forest of seaweed, a mass of lobsters, crabs, prawns and starfish crawl over top of each other. Flying past the sea creatures, a flock of Canada geese can be seen with sun rays blazing over them. This supremely artistic structure, with its distinct wedding cake “icing” and tower reminiscent of Mayan architecture is one of the great Art Deco buildings of the world and is, to many, the building most clearly identified with Vancouver.

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