Parks, recreation, and culture

Spanish Banks Bench

Spanish Banks destination walk

Route statistics

Distance 2.46 km
Steps 3,228
Elevation change 5 m

Spanish Banks destination walk, at 2.46 km or 3,228 steps, provides a wonderful linear walking route. Spanish Banks is a fantastic destination to choose for walking in Vancouver and combines the energy and excitement of several recreational pursuits with the breathtaking beauty of an array of incredible views.

Route description

The area commonly referred to as Spanish Banks is located beyond Kitsilano in Vancouver's most westerly neighbourhood: West Point Grey. The walking route spans the entire bank, which is divided into three separate sections: Spanish East, Spanish West and the Spanish Banks Extension.

The route travels along Vancouver's famous seawall. Adding to the array of opportunities for fresh air recreation, those who visit Spanish Banks Beach Park are treated to numerous stunning views. You can scan the open ocean or turn your gaze east to one of the most beautiful city skylines anywhere. The panorama offers awe inspiring diversity.

Accessibility

This walk is wheelchair accessible. The path is surfaced with gravel, and signage indicates when walkers and bikers have separate lanes.

Points of interest

History

History

European explorers first came to this area in the early 1700’s with the Spanish fleet being among the first to chart the Strait of Georgia (also known as the Salish Sea). In 1792, the area was named Spanish Banks to commemorate the meeting between the Spanish fleet under Galiano and Valdes and the English Fleet under George Vancouver. As trade activity increased in the area the name was picked up by Hudson Bay Company traders and was officially bestowed upon the area by Captain Richards of the HMS Plumper during its survey of Burrard Inlet.

The land has been leased to the Vancouver Park Board since 1929.

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Scenic views

Scenic views

Visitors to this area are treated to numerous stunning views. You can scan the open ocean or turn your gaze east to one of the most beautiful city skylines anywhere. The panorama offers awe inspiring diversity. You can spot the Shangri-la; Vancouver’s tallest building, or find the lighthouse on the point in West Vancouver. Looking beyond Stanley Park, you can find the tops of our three local mountains: Seymour, Grouse and Cypress. In the evening light, you might even catch a glimpse of the glistening silver tram as it speeds up and down Grouse Mountain, or the wind turbine near the peak.

Bowen Island, Gambier Island, and the Sunshine Coast are all within view if you look beyond the enormous freighters anchored in the bay. The interesting juxtaposition of nature meeting metropolis is realized at Spanish Banks. The bank is susceptible to erosion, and large boulders placed at the Spanish Bank Extension prevent the degradation.

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Spanish Banks West

Spanish Banks West

Spanish Bank West prohibits amplified music, giving the area a profile as one of Vancouver’s quieter and more relaxing beaches. Spanish Bank West also prominently features the low tide flats, which the area is best known for. At low tide the bank stretches out nearly 400 meters, making it a fantastic recreation space. Th sandbars provide excellent opportunities for skimboarding, building sandcastles, playing bocce or other casual sports, as well as for shallow wading. Even at high tide this area provides shallow waters for swimming. It is also a common place to see people out on the water kayaking, windsurfing, and kiteboarding. The beaches are backed by grassy fields, which are a great location for family gatherings, picnics, and other social activities.

A stream restoration project completed in 1999 demonstrates the successful efforts to bring back the Chum and Coho salmon habitat which had been destroyed by a parking lot. The ecosystem is healthy, as evident by the numerous wildlife sightings. Seals are common, and the return of grey whale to English Bay has been a source of great excitement and pride. 

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