Nicknamed "Little Mountain," Queen Elizabeth Park is 500ft high, and boasts panoramic views of Vancouver and the North Shore Mountains. This 130 acre park, is also the second most visited in the city.
Having far from glamorous origins, Queen Elizabeth Park started out as a basalt quarry and was the source of foundation rock for early Vancouver roads. The quarry was permanently closed in 1911 and the scarred land sat idle until 1940 when it was dedicated as Queen Elizabeth Park after the much lauded 1939 visit of King George VI (the stuttering King) and his consort, Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) .
In 1948, Deputy Superintendent William Livingstone and the Park Board horticultural staff undertook the task of transforming the park by reclaiming the gullies left by the quarry operation and using them as the backdrop for plants, trees and shrubs, and for the placement of ponds and other water features.
In December 1969, Prentice Bloedel donated $1 million toward the development of a new plaza, covered walkways, fountains and the triodetic domed Bloedel Floral Conservatory, pictured below.
There's a posh restaurant called the Seasons and a host of activities, ranging from frisbee golf, tennis, Tai Chi to lawn bowling and regular golf, that's also available in the park. For more information, you can visit the park website.
I spent a lovely couple hours here on a sunny day last week, writing at a bench overlooking the city and the mountains. The sunken gardens, while still pretty, need to be better explored in the spring when the flowers burst to life.
All photography by Shehani Kay