The history of Stanley Park

Originally home to Burrard, Musqueam and Squamish First Nations people, Stanley Park was not one designer's grand scheme but an evolution of a pioneer city's hopes and dreams; a place for its citizens to recreate themselves through active sport or peaceful relaxation.

Named for Lord Frederick Stanley, Governor General of Canada in 1888, the City opened Stanley Park on September 27 of that year.

My visit to Stanley Park (1948)Vancouver Park Board

Two years later, in 1890, Vancouver City Council set up an autonomous and separately-elected Park Board, the only elected one of its kind in Canada. This cemented the City's dedication to parks (and later to recreation) matters.

Known now as the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, it remains committed to its mission of connecting people to green space, active living, and community.

Stanley Park today

As Vancouver's first official green space, the creation of Stanley Park marked a first, bold step towards making Vancouver the sustainable, liveable city it is today. And it happened more than a century before the City launched its plan to become the greenest city in the world by 2020.

Today, Vancouver boasts more than 240 public parks. The lush, evergreen oasis of Stanley Park is North America's third largest urban park with an estimated eight million visitors a year.

Explore Stanley Park through 125 years

Want to know more about the history of Stanley Park? Explore an interactive timeline that describes Stanley Park's events, First Nations, pioneers, places, and nature between the years of 1792 and 2013. Discover the long and diverse history of Vancouver’s beloved green space in stories and pictures, from the time it was created as a urban park to the present day.

To view the Stanley Park timeline:

  1. Select View full screen version to open the timeline.
  2. To browse the stories:
    • On a mobile device, turn to horizontal view, and then swipe the image area or date timeline.
    • On a desktop computer, click-and-drag the image area or the date timeline.
  3. If you want, you can view the Stanley Park timeline preview, below.

View full screen version