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Learn About... Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada

 
     A 1939 visit by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth served as the inspiration for the park's name. Now the second most visited park in Vancouver, it attracts six million people a year. Interspersed between the meandering walking paths are other recreational activities, such as tennis, disc golf (played with a Frisbee), and pitch-and-putt golf. A popular place for wedding photos in warm seasons, in winter, Little Mountain becomes a tobogganing mecca.
 

 
     The centerpiece of the park is the Bloedel Floral Conservatory, named for the man who donated the funds. This gigantic triodetic dome, similar to a geodesic dome, has a roof of 1490 glass bubbles protecting a lush tropical atmosphere beneath it where about 500 types of plants and trees ranging from jungle to desert climes thrive. A variety of tropical fish and over 100 types of birds also reside under the dome, and are allowed to swim and fly freely.
 

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Learn About Burrard Inlet and North Shore Mountains

 

Burrard Inlet

     A coastal fjord formed during the last Ice Age, Burrard Inlet separates the city of Vancouver from the North Shore mountains. Its deep, but calm water, protected from the open ocean, attracts large oceangoing vessels, making it Vancouver's primary port. Although highly urbanized, a few park areas remain as thickly forested as they were centuries ago, but some of the steep slopes were so impassable that only recently was a rough wilderness hiking trail finally completed around the area known as Indian Arm.

 

The North Shore Mountains

     The North Shore Mountains, which marks the beginning of the fabulous Coast Mountain Range extending through Alaska, is made up of six mountains that, although not particularly high, are nonetheless extremely rugged and heavily populated with wild bear, cougars and coyote. Drastic weather conditions in the mountains, even in summer, contrast dramatically with the mild conditions in nearby Vancouver, barely a half hour away. The main hiking areas, with moderate to difficult trails, are at Cypress Provincial Park, Seymour Provincial Park and Grouse Mountain. The trails reward hikers with views of dense green forests, fragrant meadows, alpine lakes, and awesome summits. As rugged as it is, an easy, wheelchair-accessible loop trail is available at Cypress Provincial Park so that everyone can enjoy this wilderness.
 
 

 

 
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