The raccoon is a mid-sized mammal native to North America. Its body length reaches up to 70 cm and it can weigh between 6 and 26 kg. Raccoons can be spotted in Vancouver’s Stanley Park, mainly at dusk or dawn. They are intelligent animals, but homeowners consider them pests as they can cause significant damage to people’s houses. If you cross their way, keep a safe distance. Raccoons can attack you if feeling threatened.
Totem poles are an art form of the First Nations of the Pacific Northwest. Usually created out of red cedar, they display people or animals. The first European settlers mistakenly thought totem poles were religious objects. This was, and is, not the case. They serve more as family crests, marking the rights and privileges held by the family. At Brockton Point in Stanley Park, you can see a number of colorful totem poles. The Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver also has a great collection of totem poles worth visiting.
Visible from the Seawall on the western edge of Stanley Park, cargo ships are an indispensable part of today’s Vancouver scenery. They help keep the city’s economy running. The ships gather in Burrard Inlet, waiting to be unloaded at the Port of Vancouver (its official name). Two hundred years old, itis the largest port in Canada. Every year, around 150 million tonnes of cargo is moved through the port.
At dawn in Stanley Park, when the water surface is calm, you can hear and see birds like the Canada goose, bald eagle, blue heron, and various smaller birds. If you are lucky, animals like seals, sea otters, and coyotes may also show up.
The Canada goose is a wild goose which can be spotted across North America. In the wild, it can live up to 24 years. Canada geese migrate in the fall from Canada to the south, to overwinter throughout the US. However, they don’t always migrate. Geese living in Canadian cities like Vancouver stay, as they usually find enough food near people. An interesting fact is that Canada geese mate for life. They are monogamous, and most couples stay together throughout their lifetime. Since Vancouver is a city surrounded by nature, Canada geese will sometimes alight on busy Vancouver streets and slowly cross the intersection, which could be a fatal mistake. Usually, Good Samaritans “convince” them to stop this adrenaline-producing adventure and leave the scene.
The cargo ship Ultrabulk travels from Burrard Inlet underneath Lions Gate Bridge to the Port of Vancouver to be unloaded. As mentioned earlier in this post, cargo ships are an important part of Vancouver’s economy.
The coyote is native to North America. Coyotes are smaller than wolves. They eat squirrels, mice, rabbits, frogs, fish, lizards, fruits, dead animals or whatever is available. Coyotes typically do not pose any danger to people; however multiple incidents have been reported in Stanley Park—especially during the “COVID” years (2020/2021), when the park was visited by fewer people. Coyotes attacked humans, children, and pets on more than a dozen occasions. Sadly, a few animals had to be euthanized.
At Siwash Rock, cargo ships can be spotted in the distance. Pure nature is here, in contrast with human activity. It is important to find the right balance.
Traffic moves through Lions Gate Bridge like little ants, with the scenery of West Vancouver in the background.
As mentioned before, the earlier you wake up in the morning, the more bird species and animals you can spot in Stanley Park.
When walking the Seawall in Stanley Park, you can spot a one-meter-high bird standing still at the shore, patiently watching the water surface, or what’s underneath – a blue heron. It is an elegant bird weighing 2.5 kg and living up to 15 years in the wild. It hunts for fish, insects, amphibians, or small animals.
The wingspan of the Canada goose is up to 1.8 metres. It flies at an average speed of 64 km per hour, but if catching a strong tailwind, its speed can increase to 112 km per hour. If the weather is good, the Canada goose can fly up to 2,400 km per day. Canada geese are also strong swimmers and divers.
A sculpture featuring Portuguese Canadian Joe Silvey. He was a pioneer in search of gold who settled in Coal Harbour in 1850. This four-meter sculpture commemorates the early interactions between First Nations and Europeans.