10K Loop from Queen Elizabeth park to False Creek

One of my favourite running routes is around False Creek. Although my 10k route down to the docks does have a number of traffic lights, I enjoy passing by the local stores and parks along the way. The route is from Queen Elizabeth Park, down Heather Street, along False Creek, passing Science World, then back across Cambie Street Bridge, and all the way up Cambie Street to the park.

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The best pars of running down Heather is passing by the beautiful character houses and, at this time of year, fluffy cherry blossoms lining the streets. As your pass Douglas and Heather Parks, you can often see children’s sports teams, and a small outdoor fitness gym for body weight workouts.

Going down towards the water is extremely downhill, which I like for training ankle/knee strength. There are a couple lights passing by the Vancouver General Hospital and crossing West Broadway, but after taking a left to cross 6th Avenue at Moberly Road, you’ll be at the seawall in no time. Following Moberly Road, turn left at Market Hill, which leads to Leg-in-Boot Square, and then feast your eyes on the stunning view of countless yachts docked in the sparkling water.

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For this route, I turn right at the water, which will take you under the Cambie Street Bridge. As you make your way through Hinge Park, you’ll see the fantastic Vancouver Biennale sculpture called Human Structures by Jonathan Borofsky. Next, you’ll be at Telus World of Science (or Science World), one of the most iconic structures in Vancouver. The golf ball-shaped building is definitely worth a visit for all ages, but if you aren’t keen on being surrounded by children, keep your eyes peeled for the next After Dark adult evening event. This will mark 5k.

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You might want to take a slight detour to view the newest Vancouver Biennale sculpture called the Trans Am Totem by Marcus Bowcott on Quebec Street and Milross Avenue. It’s a fascinating sight, and only a couple minutes off the seawall route.

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As you make your way towards the North end of the Cambie Street Bridge, you will pass by Edgewater Casino and enter Coopers Park. Going up the bridge will be your first real incline in the route. On the bridge, don’t forget to look out to enjoy a spectacular view of Science World flanked by aesthetically pleasing evenly spaced high-rises.

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Once you exit the bridge, prepare yourself for three things: a major incline, traffic lights, and pedestrian congestion. I prefer to climb hills when I can keep my momentum, so this is my least favourite part of the route. The congestion is particularly high by Broadway-City Hall Canada line station.

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From there, the traffic lights and congestion reduce. Around 12th Avenue, after passing City Square Mall, the incline reduces significantly. Cambie corridor has loads of cute local restaurants and cafes that might give you some ideas on where to carb-up later. Before you know it, you’ll be back at the park!

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Jog Through Queen Elizabeth Park

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.

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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”.

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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!

Queen Elizabeth Park

Queen Elizabeth park is one of Vancouver’s lesser known treasures, offering a wide range of activities for any age or mood. Walking trails throughout the gorgeous quarry gardens bring visitors across streams and a wooden footbridge above a small waterfall, creating a romantic atmosphere. The “Dancing Waters” fountain at the top of the plaza leads to the dome-shaped Bloedel Conservatory. Inside the conservatory is lush, exotic plant-life and more than 200 free-flying birds from all over the world. During the warmer months, the quarry gardens teem with a brilliant range of flowers, although the rose garden in the south-western perimeter is particularly popular.

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Activities

Joggers are found looping the 52-hectare park at any given time. There are also tennis courts, a pitch and putt golf course, a Frisbee golf course, a lawn bowling club, roller hockey rink, basketball court, and tai chi practiced at the top of the plaza. Those with four-legged friends often congregate at the off-leash area of the park, and the park is well equipped with receptacles for bagging waste. The lakes along the perimeter of the park also provide family fun for those who like to feed the ducks floating in the water.

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Best view in the city

QE park has arguably the best view in the city at 152 m above sea level. The spectacular view overlooking downtown to the mountains above North Shore can be enjoyed in the fine dining Seasons in the Park restaurant or for free on any of the many park benches. A number of sculptures can be found around lookout points, which visitors enjoy posing with for photographs. Wedding parties, often come take photographs in the whimsical gardens, but intimate ceremonies can also take place in the Chapel Celebration pavilion.

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Getting here

QE park is located along the Cambie Corridor by King Edward and Oakridge-41st stations on the Canada line. Entrances can be found at Ontario Street and West 33rd Avenue, or along West 37th Avenue between Columbia and Mackie streets. Those arriving by car can access the park either from Cambie Street at West 29th or 33rd Avenues, or from Main Street at East 33rd Avenue. There is free parking in the perimeter of the park and paid parking closer to the plaza.