English Bay Paddle

For my first paddle of 2021, and my first time paddling with a full 3mm wetsuit, I headed to Vanier Park with the gang. The air temperature was a cool 5 degrees celsius, and the conditions were perfect for trying out the wetsuit.


Launching from the dock during winter is actually preferable to me now, since I can avoid getting my feet wet. It does take some practice to get comfortable though.

My send-off crew.

There was a slight breeze, and the cloud cover was dense and low. I wore a full body wetsuit, neoprene booties and gloves, and I threw on a red shell jacket mostly for visibility. Very soon I got warm enough to take off my gloves and hat.

I hopped across False Creek and followed along English Bay.

Snow capped North Shore Mountains peeking through.

I was not the only paddler on the water, but it’s definitely a lot quieter than the warmer months. The few paddlers I met were all very skilled.

I wouldn’t recommend a beginner to practice paddling in the winter; the winter gears can be cumbersome and restrictive, or, more likely, a beginner may not have the right gears and can risk hypothermia if they fall in.

Sea Wall on approach to Stanley Park.

It only took less than 30 minutes to get to Second Beach at Stanley Park. There were some occasional boat traffic and they tend to speed up around here, so there were some occasional boat wakes to be mindful of. I turned around at the Second Beach to deal with some waves head-on, and decided to head back.

McMillan Space Center at Vanier Park.

By the time I returned to Vanier Park, I was drenched in sweat. It wasn’t until I unzipped my wetsuit when I realized that my t-shirt was entirely soaked. The wetsuit was definitely enough to keep my body warm, but my toes were a little cold. I may have to try different boots.

  • Difficulty – pick a calm day, and it’s an easy paddle. If it’s windy, this can be very choppy and sketchy.
  • Boat traffic – occasional motorboat traffic, but paddling close to shore keeps them at a good distance away.
  • View – Sandy English Bay Beach, Sea Wall and Stanley Park, with cityscape of mostly old condo buildings.
  • Facilities – Paid parking at Vanier Park, with public washroom
  • Overall score – 7/10

Vancouver Shoreline Series:

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2 responses to “English Bay Paddle”

  1. […] 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. […]

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