Vanier Park to Granville Island Paddle

Vanier Park sits on the western end of False Creek, right as it opens up to English Bay. The water here is cleaner than East False Creek around Science World, and it offers several good options to paddle: going east to Granville Island and into False Creek, west to connect to Kitsilano and beyond, or north to hop over to English Bay Beach and Stanley Park.

It was very easy to launch here. The parking lot is very close to 2 docks with a sandy beach.

Launching from Vanier Park near the public boat ramps.
The send-off crew.

It was windy and overcast, and I could see some serious choppy waves coming from English Bay. But the False Creek channel was as calm as ever. I headed east into the channel to explore Granville Island by water. Pre-COVID, Granville Island was one of our favourite spots in Vancouver for its restaurants, markets, artisan shops, and Kids Market. We have avoided visiting since the pandemic started. Seeing our beloved park from the water and not knowing when we can actually safely visit again was pretty surreal.

Granville Island.
Public Dock in Granville Island. Access from the closest parking spot is probably a few hundred meters away, and that’s if you can find parking in the busy tourist destination.
Calmness in the protected inlet. I tried not to think about the E coli content here, but I think it would be almost as bad as the stagnant waters near Science World.
If you ever wondered what the silo dudes in Ocean Concrete look like from the water, yes, they have painted backsides.

It’s still busy in False Creek, but I think I got more used to the boat traffic so they didn’t bother me as much.

A bit boat coming under Burrard Bridge.

It was much before our scheduled meet-up time when I got back to Vanier Park, so I hopped over to explore English Bay Beach a little. At first, the little chops and waves didn’t look so bad.

But as soon as I rounded the corner, it got super intense!

I rode a few of the waves like rodeo and beached as quickly as I could. I was amazed that I stayed on my feet. I took a breather on the beach for a few minutes, admiring the waves and how much difference the shape of the shore makes. Looking back, only a few meters away behind the corner damper rocks, the waves were still little manageable chops.

I waited for the wind to die down a little bit, then headed into the waves on my knees. It only took a few strokes to get back to calmer waters. Stanley Park, not today!

A guy launched as I pulled out. I watched to see if he was heading into the waves with a much less stable touring board. He immediately turned east and headed into False Creek. Good choice.
  • Difficulty – going east: easy; west: a little choppier; north on a windy day: thrilling ocean rodeo
  • Boat traffic – heavy
  • View – beautiful city and park views
  • Facilities – flush toilets at the eastern end of the parking lot; paid parking cost $7.55 for 2 hours
  • Overall score – 7/10

Vancouver Shoreline Series:

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