Continuation... Stanley Park's Brief History
Each year an estimated people visit Stanley Park and many either walk or bike around the seawall which was begun in 1917 to combat erosion. The hero of the seawall is master stonemason, Jimmy Cunningham who oversaw its construction for more than 40 years. Unfortunately, Jimmy died in 1963 and did not get to see its completion in 1980.
The Lions Gate Bridge was officially opened to the public in 1938 after a year and half of construction. The final bill for the bridge was nearly 6 million dollars.
Stanley Park had a zoo since it first opened in 1888 till 1996. In 1888. Henry Avison who was the city’s first park superintendent, created the zoo when he captured a baby black bear and chained him to s stump.
The zoo had a large polar grotto that was built in 1962 and this quickly became the main attraction of the park. It had 4 bears to start and their names were Nootka, Jubilee II, Prince Rupert and Princess Rupert. They were donated to the zoo by the Hudson’s Bay Company. In 1962, a bear by the name of Tuk was added to the group and he is fondly remembered for once rescuing a kitten that had been tossed in to their grotto.
There are also great blue herons living in the park and this unique subspecies of heron has been found in the park as far back as can be remembered. Their colony has moved around the park over the years, from Brockton Point, to Beaver Lake, to the colony’s current home on Beach Avenue near English Bay.
Stanley Park also has beavers and if you are lucky enough, you may catch a glimpse. No one knows where the beaver came from, only that everything at Beaver Lake has changed since it arrived. It is thought to have swam from the Capilano watershed, braving the ocean-going freighters and strong tidal currents in the Burrard Inlet. When it came ashore at, it likely shuffled up 300-metre Beaver Creek, before reaching Beaver Lake. That was in 2008, and it became the lake’s first resident beaver in almost 60 years.
Want to know more about the history of Stanley Park? Explore an interactive timeline that describes Stanley Park's events, First Nations, pioneers, places, and nature between the years of 1792 and 2013, check out: Stanley Park