English Bay Beach
Originally known as First Beach, English Bay Beach is in downtown Vancouver along Beach Ave (of course!) between Gilford and Bidwell Streets. The curving sandy beach is where the shores of Vancouver meet the Pacific Ocean.
The eastern edge of the beach is bounded by the Stanley Park Seawall which is popular for walking, bicycling and running. This wide promenade runs along the waterfront offering stunningly beautiful views of West Vancouver, downtown and Point Grey to the south, particularly at sunset.
This lovely sandy beach has excellent facilities including cafés and concessions, toilets, lifeguards (May to September), volleyball courts and a paid parking area. There’s a mat for easy access onto the sand and water wheelchairs are available. You can rent beach chairs, umbrellas and kayaks and if you fancy a swim there’s a swimming raft with slide moored just offshore. Close by there are restaurants, ice cream parlours and coffee shops.
The area is graced with palm trees which seem to survive the cold, and an unusual collection of statues including the Inukshuk statue commemorating the 2010 Olympic Games hosted here.
One of the most famous things to do on English Bay Beach is join in the Polar Bear Swim which takes place in freezing conditions on New Year’s Day. The beach also hosts the annual Celebration of Light fireworks in late July.
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