Story by Tricia Edgar
Vacay.ca Outdoors Columnist
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA — Looking for a romantic view, with a sunset and some trees thrown in for good measure? Look no further than Vancouver, where you can find romance, nature, and culture in these lovely picnic spots.
Stanley Park, Vancouver
Stanley Park is the ultimate urban park: it’s 1001 acres of trees, beaches, and fields right beside Vancouver’s urban core. Stop by Third Beach and lean against a log, watching the sun set over the ocean. If you’re feeling really romantic, go on a horse-drawn carriage tour. These private or public tours stop at the kiosk at the Coal Harbour parking lot, just off the Georgia Street entrance to Stanley Park.
Where to Eat: While there are many concession stands in Stanley Park, if you’re on the tourist trail, stop by the funky Commercial Drive shops before you head out for your romantic meal. Commercial Drive’s Italian food shops feature pasta-filled delights, and Uprising Breads at 1697 Venables Street is stocked with fresh-baked whole grain goodness.
Lynn Headwaters Regional Park, North Vancouver
Searching for romance that’s a little more on the wild side? Lynn Headwaters Regional Park is nestled in the forest of North Vancouver. Picnic in a field overlooking the rushing Lynn Creek, then go for a gentle walk along a path up the river. Art history buffs will enjoy the Varley Trail, named after Frederick Varley, a member of the Group of Seven who once lived on Rice Lake Road. If you’re up for a longer walk, head down the park trails to the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge in Lynn Canyon Park, and hold your sweetie’s hand as you brave the crossing!
Where to Eat: Looking for luscious sweets? Head to Rose Bakery at 1537 Lonsdale Avenue in North Vancouver, where you’ll find Persian delights for your honey. If coffee’s more your style, stop off at The End of the Line Café near the entrance of the park, the place where the tram cars would stop to deliver vacationers to the forest.
Quarry Rock, North Vancouver
This one has it all: a view of the water, a gorgeous rainforest, and doughnuts. The two-hour hike to Quarry Rock begins just north of Panorama Park in Deep Cove. The steep trails are worth the lovely view from the rock, where you can see the little boats putting around the waters below. The trail is part of the North Shore’s well-known Baden Powell Trail, a trail that extends across these lovely mountains.
Where to Eat: Honey’s Doughnuts in the little village of Deep Cove is renowned for its doughnuts, which are a meal or two in themselves.
Cypress Mountain, West Vancouver
It’s one of the most romantic views in Vancouver. Drive up Cypress Mountain, and halfway up you’ll see a little area where you can pull over, park, and look out over the city as the sun sets. You’ll see Vancouver’s iconic downtown view, with the Lions Gate Bridge arching its way over the inlet to Stanley Park and the dark green forest right beside the buildings of the downtown core. On the evenings of the Celebration of Light, this area is packed with people who gravitate to the view of the fireworks.
Where to Eat: Vancouver is known for its wholesome food. Stop by the Ethical Kitchen on 1600 Mackay Road, and you’ll find organic, grass-fed meats and other delights. Eat in, or choose from their tasty takeout delights in the deli. Searching for more wholesome goodies? Stop by Whole Foods at Park Royal in West Vancouver on your way to the mountain.
Take a walk in the wilderness or explore the urban beaches that surround the city. Vancouver’s forest and ocean landscapes provide the perfect backdrop for an afternoon or evening of romance.