Located on the Burnaby-Vancouver border, just west of Metrotown, Central Park is home to forested trails, duck ponds, an outdoor pool and Swangard Stadium.
PARK STATUS AND COVID-19
The park has remained open throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The golf course and children’s play areas closed for a while, but then reopened. The outdoor pool, however, remained closed for the entire 2020 season.
Metro Vancouver’s Central Park in West-Central Burnaby
Central Park is a large park set on about 215 acres of space. It is known for its wide range of sports and other recreational facilities. There are walking trails through the forest, tennis courts, a small golf course and a swimming pool. At the park there is also a lawn bowling green, an outdoor fitness circuit, two fair-sized ponds and a really good children’s playground.
Where is Central Park?
Central Park is in west-central Burnaby not far from Metrotown. The park is bordered by four fairly prominent Burnaby streets. Boundary Road runs along the west side, Kingsway goes along the northern edge, Imperial is to the south and Patterson Avenue runs along the east side.
Because of its size, there are a number of entrances and parking lots at Central Park. Parking is free.
The closest entrance and parking lot to Swangard Stadium is just off Kingsway. It’s marked by a pair of large stone pillars that commemorate the park’s historical connection to the beginning of the British Columbia Electric Railway. There are also parking lots along Boundary Road that are just a short walk from the stadium too, and right by the outdoor pool.
The closest parking lot to the Pitch and Putt Golf Course and Lower Pond is off Imperial Street.
The closest SkyTrain station is Patterson which is on Patterson Avenue. From there it’s a 15-minute walk to the Metropolis at Metrotown shopping mall (to the east) or a 10-minute walk to Swangard Stadium (through the park to the west).
Activities at Central Park
Central Park is home to a number of walking trails. The newest trail in the park is the Perimeter Trail which is a 0.82 km paved pathway that is lit up at night. This trail will eventually connect all four sides of the park. Currently only phase 2 of construction has been completed. Cycling is permitted on the main Perimeter Trail, not on the other paths.
Some other really nice trails include the Terry Fox Trail, which is a 5-km route used for annual the Terry Fox Run in September, and the Trail of Hope, which is a scenic 2.6-km trail that circles the Upper Pond and reaches the Lower Pond too. Both go through forested areas of the park. In total, Central Park has about 8.5 km of trails.
Central Park also has several picnic sites set up around the park for folk wanting to relax or take a break after their walks.
Popular sports amenities at Central Park include a pitch and putt course as well as a 50-metre outdoor swimming pool.
The pitch and putt course is one of our favourites in the Lower Mainland. It features 18 holes and is fun for all ages and skill levels. The average hole length is approximately 85 yards, which makes it doable for beginners and also great short game practice for seasoned golfers. There are many large trees that provide shade on most holes, allowing for a cool round of inexpensive summer golf.
The pool is only open in the summertime and features 6 lanes and a 1-metre diving board. Both the pool and change rooms are wheelchair accessible.
Other amenities at the park include public sports fields, a playground, tennis courts, a baseball diamond, outdoor fitness equipment, lawn bowling facilities and horseshoe pitches.
The main playground is a really nice one with a wide range of different structures to play on. The playground is located at the north end of the park just east of the stadium.
Korean War Memorial
The Korean War Memorial is located on the east side of Central Park. It recognizes those that fought and lost their lives in the Korean War. The memorial was created and put into place in 2007. It’s not a big structure, but good to be aware of.
Swangard Stadium is located at the northwest corner of Central Park. It’s a popular place for team sports and competitions. It often hosts running races and other events. The stadium is also the former home of the Vancouver Whitecaps soccer team (who now instead play home games at BC Place Stadium).
Events at Central Park
A number of events take place at Central Park each year. These include the Colombian Picnic, Canada Day celebrations, Korean Festival and Burnaby’s Terry Fox Run. The European Festival also used to happen in the grounds of Swangard Stadium, but not anymore. In recent years it has instead taken place at the Alpen Club.
The Colombian Independence Picnic is a small event hosted by Vancouver’s Colombian community. It usually takes place in mid-July in the middle of the park by the Upper Pond. It’s a free event and all are welcome.
Burnaby celebrates Canada Day on July 1st at the Burnaby Village Museum (at Deer Lake Park) and Swangard Stadium (at Central Park). Family-friendly activities take place at the museum in the afternoon and concerts and fireworks happen in the evening at Central Park’s Swangard Stadium. Both events are free.
Vancouver’s Korean Cultural Heritage Festival happens at Swangard Stadium in August. It’s also free, and it’s larger than the Colombian event. At the August festival there are Korean food stalls and entertainment.
Terry Fox Runs take place throughout the Lower Mainland (and all of Canada) in mid-September each year. The main one in Burnaby happens at Central Park. It’s a fundraising event raising money for cancer research.
Central Park Video
The following video shows what Central Park looks like in the fall. The video was taken in early November, so just after the autumn leaves were at their peak. It’s also starting to get dark in the later part of the afternoon. As you’ll see though, the place is still beautiful.
In the video you’ll see the two ponds at the park as well as a squirrel. We saw lots of squirrels on this visit, all scurrying around in search of food for the winter. We also saw lots of ducks, a few fish in the pond, a chipmunk, seagulls, other birds and a rabbit.
Central Park is beautiful in autumn, but also in all other seasons of the year too. There are lots of coniferous trees (that don’t lose their leaves), but also a few deciduous ones that turn colourful as the weather gets colder.
Other articles that may be of interest include the following:
- Metro Vancouver Parks & Places in Nature
- Lower Mainland Outdoor Pools
- Vancouver on a Budget
- Burnaby Village Museum
- Deer Lake Park