Metro Vancouver Park Series: Burnaby Lake Park

Comments 5 by Rebecca Bollwitt

I received an email a while back from someone offering to cover Burnaby Lake Regional Park for the Park Series, which I gladly accepted. The following post is written by Mike from

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Home to such animals as Wood Ducks, Blue Herons, Beavers, Eagles, and Canadian Geese, Burnaby Lake is an important wildlife sanctuary and a great place for bird watchers and nature photographers to enjoy. There is 19km of hiking trails, 6km of horseback riding trails, soccer and rugby fields, and a rowing pavilion amongst other sports facilities around the lake area.

Photo credit: Mike from VancouverTrails on Flickr

Metrics: The lake is 3.11 square kilometers and has a 10km walking trail that surrounds the entire lake.

How to Get There: Burnaby Lake is located in the center of Burnaby, on the north side of the Trans-Canada Highway about about 30 minutes driving time east from downtown Vancouver. The park has several access points including the Sports Complex by the soccer fields on the west end, the Nature House located off of Winston Street on the north, and the parking lot off of Avalon Avenue near the Burnaby Equestrian Centre on the east side.

The park is also easily accessible by public transit as the Skytrain stops at the Sperling-Burnaby Lake station along the Millennium Line and a short walk across the train tracks brings you to the Sports Complex on the west side of the lake.

Photo credit: Mike from VancouverTrails on Flickr

History: The lake was created 12,000 years ago by a glacier and more recently was used for logging operations as several saw mills were located along its shores during the late 1800’s. Today, the lake is an important wildlife sanctuary that is home to more than 70 species of birds.

In 2008, the City of Burnaby and BC Government agreed to spend $20 million on dredging the lake so that it could be used again for rowing competitions. The funding was also to be used to improve the wildlife and fish habitat within the park.

Notes: My first experience going to Burnaby Lake was as a child, my parents took orphaned baby raccoons to the Wildlife Rescue Association on the south shore of the lake. Today, I jog the 10km path around the lake or just take an evening stroll along Piper’s Spit where beavers can often be spotted swimming from their lodge as the sun sets.

Read more from Mike over on “Vancouver Trails has a range of trails from easy to difficult, from half day to full day hikes, each divided amongst several regions and each with their own unique terrain.”

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5 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. RaulWednesday, June 18th, 2008 — 9:31am PDT

    Hey Rebecca – do you and John (and whomever wants to join) go to Burnaby Lake for the afternoon, maybe over the weekend? I have *never* been there (hangs head in shame) in 12 years in Canada. I know, someone should just rescind my Vancouverite card right now 🙁

  2. Derek K. MillerMonday, June 23rd, 2008 — 10:52pm PDT

    Vancouver blogging couple trivia: my wife Air and I were working as park naturalists for the GVRD when we first met 20 years ago. Our job HQ was the Burnaby Lake Nature House at Piper Spit, and even back then the city was talking about re-dredging the lake, so I’ll believe it when it actually happens.

    That summer of 1988 we led kids’ day camps and also ran evening canoe tours around the lake to look for frogs, herons, beavers, and the like. It took another six years before we started going out, and more than a year after that before we were married, but it all started at Burnaby Lake. We still live nearby.

  3. Jacqui PhillipsTuesday, August 5th, 2008 — 5:25pm PDT

    I would love to know more about the lake and love to see any photos. I don’t ever have a hope of seeing the area as I live in England. (Cost being the main factor, of course).

    My interest is because my gt gt uncle had a sawmill there from around 1870, Piper’s Mill. He was Charles Thomas Wood Piper and his son was Charles James Piper (wife Florence and daughter Violet Ellen). Apparently CJ Piper lodged lots of photographs with Burnaby City Hall Archives when he left Vancouver in the 30’s.

    I presume Piper Avenue came from their name…what about Piper Spit? Is that near where the mill was?

  4. Jacqui PhillipsTuesday, August 5th, 2008 — 5:39pm PDT

    Excuse the glaring error in my first post…I wrote 1870…they hadn’t even arrived in Canada until 1890! I should have written 1900ish onwards!

    If anyone knows any more about them, I’d love some help!

  5. Spring Break Activities 2009 » Vancouver Blog Miss 604 by Rebecca BollwittTuesday, March 17th, 2009 — 9:04am PDT

    […] inexpensive yet fun and nature-filled options for a great day out (such as Lynn Headwaters, Burnaby Lake Park, and Blackie Spit). Tweet This Digg it Add to Stumble it Add to Technorati What are […]

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