British Columbia

Stanley Park reopens to cars; Vancouver Aquarium to reopen Friday

As of Monday afternoon, cars are now welcome on Stanley Park's roads, but traffic will be restricted to one lane with the other demarcated for cyclists.

After weeks of closure, cars are now welcome on Stanley Park's roads

Stanley Park reopened one lane of Park Drive to vehicles on Monday. The other lane is now set aside for cyclists. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

After weeks of closure, cars are now welcome on Stanley Park's roads. 

The Vancouver Park Board voted Friday to ease traffic restrictions in the park, but decided to restrict car traffic to one lane. The other lane is a separated bike lane. 

Dave Hutch, the director of planning and development at Stanley Park, said Monday there is a row of traffic cones lining the right-hand side of Park Drive demarcating the bike lane. 

Even with the road reopened, Hutch said he doesn't know how many cars will visit this summer. 

"With Canada's borders ... closed, we know that international tourism is down dramatically … and tourism plays a huge role in terms of the numbers of people we see in Stanley Park, so we're really expecting to see more of the local and regional draw in terms of the vehicles," Hutch said, noting that staff are collecting data on the numbers of visitors. 

On the other hand, he said the park has seen a dramatic increase in the number of cyclists.

"We typically would see around 3,500 cyclists a day at Stanley Park. We're seeing upwards of 6,500 on average going through the park [and] upwards of 9,000 on peak weekends," he said. 

Cyclists are still not permitted on the seawall so that everyone has enough room to move through the park safely. 

The Vancouver Park Board voted Friday to set aside the second lane of Park Drive for cyclists. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Aquarium re-opening

Businesses like the Teahouse restaurant — which is still closed — have been concerned about reduced vehicle access. Hutch said the park has been working with the local businesses to find the best balance of protecting public health and safety as well as access to businesses. 

"We know it's not an ideal situation," he said. 

The Vancouver Aquarium has been shut down since March 17, the longest closure in its history. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

The Vancouver Aquarium, located within the park, will re-open on Friday after being closed for more than three months.

"In our 64-year history, we've never been closed for more than a few days and so we are extremely excited to reopen and welcome back visitors and members," Karen Howe, director of visitor experience, said in a statement.

Some of the new rules at the aquarium include mandatory ticket reservations and face mask usage by visitors, except children under 3 years of age. 

Visitors will have 90 minutes to follow the one-way flow through the museum's exhibits.

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  • An earlier version of this story stated The Teahouse restaurant was at Prospect Point. In fact, the restaurant is at Ferguson Point.
    Jun 23, 2020 9:42 AM PT

With files from On The Coast