People on Vancouver's busy False Creek seawall got a rare, up-close look at a Canadian icon on Tuesday, when a beaver chose to take an evening stroll next to runners and cyclists.

"Joggers stopped, cyclists dismounted and a group of us formed a barrier alongside him to protect him as he strolled along," said runner Rita Gunkel in an email to CBC.

Gunkel spotted the beaver waddling along the seawall and took a video.

"We soothed him with the occasional, 'It's ok, little beaver, we're with you.' He looked up at us as though he understood," Gunkel said.

"One young woman became the 'traffic control person' asking cyclists to slow down and dog owners to put their pooches on a leash."

Gunkel said the beaver eventually made its way into the duck pond at Charleson Park, ending an encounter she described as a "sweet, up-close Canadian moment with our national symbol."