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English Bay Beach and Region

Stanley Park Seawall at English Bay

English Bay is the body of water where the shores of Vancouver meet the Pacific Ocean. It’s also home to beautiful English Bay Beach in downtown Vancouver.


As a result of the COVID-19 virus and measures to discourage large numbers of people from gathering at the same place, parking areas at English Bay Beach have been closed. As of mid-April, 2020, the beach itself remains open, just not the parking lots. People who do visit the area are told to stay a minimum of six feet away from others to protect themselves and help minimize the spread of the virus.

As of April 9th, also in an effort to reduce the number of people visiting the area, and to make it easier for pedestrians to stay farther apart, the eastbound lane of Beach Drive has been closed to traffic. Cyclists and pedestrians can now use in this part of the street.

As of the beginning of June eastbound lanes on Beach Drive remain closed to traffic and parking lots at English Bay remain closed. The Park Board, however, has started to place logs back on the beach for people to sit on.

To learn more about the parking-related policy, see the City of Vancouver‘s website.

For information about how the novel coronavirus is impacting the Lower Mainland in other ways, click Vancouver COVID-19 Event Cancellations.

Vancouver’s English Bay

English Bay, the open body of water, is surrounded by West Vancouver to the North, the City of Vancouver to the east, and the region from Kitsilano to Point Grey in the south.

It is a stunningly beautiful bay, with picturesque views in every direction, including from the western section of the Stanley Park seawall and from Ambleside to Dundarave and Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver. The views from Kitsilano, Jericho and Spanish Banks beaches in the south are equally spectacular.

From English Bay there are great cycling and walking pathways along the water, all the way to Stanley Park in one direction, and then on to Point Grey via Science World, Granville Island and Kitsilano Beach in the other.

English Bay Beach
Vancouver and English Bay Beach

English Bay – The Beach

English Bay is also the name of one of Vancouver’s most beautiful and popular beaches.

Located at the far end of trendy Denman Street, English Bay is where Vancouver’s annual January Polar Bear Swim takes place. Yes, hundreds of crazy Vancouverites really do go swimming in the freezing ocean the morning of January 1st each year!

English Bay is also home to the city’s annual Celebration of Light fireworks festival that takes place on three separate nights in late July and early August.

Even when there isn’t a big event going on, the beach at English Bay is always popular.

Connected to Stanley Park along the seawall, English Bay is Vancouver’s most central, urban and arguably most exotic beach. Not only is there a bit of nature, but there are also lots of great restaurants, ice cream stores and coffee shops right close by (not to mention palm trees and one of Vancouver’s most amusing collections of statues).

English Bay Video

To give you an idea of what English Bay Beach looks like, check out the following video. It was taken in the late afternoon in the middle of May (which explains why nobody is swimming or in their swimsuits).

The video begins with a couple of youth walking along the sand by the water. In the video you’ll see scenes of the beach, ocean and skyline in Vancouver’s West End. Towards the end the video includes a 360-degree view of the Inukshuk statue that was built for the 2010 Olympic Games. The final scene is from the rocky bit of beach just past the Inukshuk below the seawall.

As you’ll see in the video, sunsets in English Bay can be amazing. It’s such a beautiful place!

Tips and Advice

Below are some tips to help you make the most out of your experience at English Bay Beach.

TIP #1: Be prepared to walk a fair ways as there isn’t a lot of parking in the immediate area – mostly just downtown street parking. If you are going for a bicycle ride along the seawall, consider parking your car in Stanley Park or somewhere further down the way and then riding to English Bay if you don’t find parking closer by.

TIP #2: Get there very early on fireworks nights in the summer and park a ways away as the place can be a zoo with all the people – up to 400,000 on a good night.

English Bay Lawn on Fireworks Night
English Bay Crowds on Fireworks Day

Other Information

Click the following link to learn more about Metro Vancouver’s other top beaches.

Click Celebration of Light for more on the summer fireworks competitions at English Bay.

Other articles that may be of interest include the following: