Vanier Park is one of the most beloved public parks in Vancouver. Located in the Vancouver neighborhood of Kitsilano (southwest of downtown Vancouver), Vanier Park is home to museums and a BMX bike park, hosts cultural events, and boasts stunning waterfront views of False Creek, English Bay, and downtown Vancouver. It's within walking distance of Kitsilano Beach and is one of the top spots for viewing the annual summer Celebration of Light Fireworks.
Top 5 Things to Do at Vanier Park
- Visit the Museum of Vancouver, Canada's largest civic museum and the ideal place to learn about the history of Vancouver.
- Visit the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, a space and science museum for kids that includes a planetarium and observatory. (Both museums share the same, iconic domed building you see in most postcards of Vanier Park.)
- Ride over and through Vancouver's first BMX bike park, which features dirt ramps, jumps and gaps.
- Enjoy incredible views of False Creek and downtown Vancouver's skyline.
- Go in the summer (June - early September) and see a play at the acclaimed Shakespeare festival Bard on the Beach. The main stage plays take place inside open-baked tents with views of Vanier Park's gorgeous vistas.
Getting to Vanier Park
Vanier Park History
Once a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) supply depot, the site was turned over to the Vancouver Park Board in 1966. Named after former Governor General of Canada George Vanier, the park officially opened on May 30, 1967. The H.R. MacMillan Space Centre and the Museum of Vancouver complex opened in 1968, thanks to lumber baron MacMillan’s $1.5 million donations.
Making the Most of Your Visit
Spending the day in Vanier Park is easy since you can spend hours at the museums and the park itself. Combining an outing at the park with a tour of Kitsilano's--and Vancouver's--other landmarks is easy too, given Vanier Park's fabulous location.
Make a day of it with these top five mini-trips:
- Walk west along the Park's pathways to Hadden Park and explore the Vancouver Maritime Museum.
- Walk further west to visit Kitsilano Beach, its playground, tennis courts, sandy beach, and Kits Pool.
- Hop in the car or on the bus and combine your trip to Vanier Park with shopping and dining on West 4th Avenue, one of Vancouver's Top 10 Places to Shop.
- Take a False Creek Ferry across English Bay (via the Aquatic Centre) to Granville Island.