One of my favourite places to jog is in Queen Elizabeth park, particularly in the late afternoon or evening (depending on the time of the year) so I can catch the sun setting over downtown at the lookout point. My route takes me around the inner perimeter of the park, then up to the top of the pavilion and back down, allowing me to incorporate at least two hill-climbs into the relatively short, high-intensity workout.
I usually enter the park through the Cambie street entrance across from 30th Avenue. If I’m feeling up for a challenge, I’ll turn left towards W 29th Avenue because the southern stretch along W 37th Avenue from Ontario street up to the Ridgeway Bikeway is a gruelling incline, whereas the major incline in the opposite direction is a more gradual, smaller path jutting left off W 33rd Avenue.
The Challenging Route
If I’m taking the more challenging route, I’ll pass by a couple duck ponds, the first one as I’m running parallel to Midlothian Avenue, then after I’ve run down the hill onto W 33rd Avenue, I’ll see another pond along Ontario street. Often there will be some frisbee golf players by Ontario street, and as I take a right turn up W 37th Avenue, sometimes I’ll see some pitch & putt golf players on my right through the chain fence.
Once I’ve finally reached the top of the hill at Ridgeway Bikeway, I’ll turn right, which will take me by the off-leash dog park and tennis courts on my left. The rose gardens in the southwest of the park will be visible on my right side as I continue on the path towards the northwest until I reach a small sign pointing up a path towards the middle of the park labelled “Garden Displays”.
Final Push to the Top
Hopefully a second wind will have hit me because the steep incline to the top of the pavilion will have my thighs burning, but the view at the top is my reward. As I make my way towards the Bloedel Conservatory dome, I will take a right towards the plaza. In the mornings, there are always groups of people diligently practicing tai chi in the plaza, but in the afternoon it’s mostly tourists photographing the Dancing Waters fountain and famous “Knife Edge-Two Piece” sculpture by Henry Moore.
Sometimes I’ll take a breather to absorb the view at top and stretch my hamstrings. The lookout point in front of the Bloedel Conservatory is lined with benches for visitors to enjoy the view of the North Shore and spectacular mountains behind it. However, if you make your way towards the Seasons in the Park restaurant, you will find bronze sculptures of a man photographing three people by J. Seward Johnson Jr. From this viewpoint, you can clearly recognize BC Place and the Top of Vancouver revolving restaurant.
Finally, I’ll make my way back down with a smile of my lips, because I’ll just have completed a fantastic 5k workout!