Vancouver History: The Stanley Park Seawall

Comments 1 by Rebecca Bollwitt

The Seawall is not only an icon of our city, stretching its arms around Stanley Park and the downtown core, but it’s a regular hang-out for locals and visitors alike. Starting today, there will be a detour at Sunset Beach while they do some reconstruction on some older portions of the retainer. Making sure that this barrier is safe and sturdy is paramount as it is constantly pummelled by the salty splashes of the Pacific Ocean.

world-class seawall walk
Photo credit: Judy Bishop on Flickr

Repairs will be on a stretch about 340 meters long between Sunset Beach and the Inukshuk and should be completed by the fall. Repaving will then take place between Brockton Point and Lumberman’s Arch for about two weeks after that.

It’s has its fair share of unexpected closures of the years but I’m glad they’re taking the time to do some repairs right now. I had my eye on the Seawall a few years ago when it took about 14 months to fix a piece that had been washed away by a severe wind storm.

Ready to re-open?

As the portion currently under reconstruction is about 75 years old I thought it would be worth taking a look back at the Seawall and how it has literally shaped our city.

Timeline (via
1917, Jimmy (James) Cunnningham began building the Stanley Park Seawall
1931, Cunningham named Vancouver Parks Board master stonemason
1968, The Stanley Park Seawall had had 1,200 lineal feet added
1980, The remaining 1.5 miles in the Siwash Rock area were completed
1980, A plaque at Siwash Rock was erected in memory of Cunningham

1948, Photographer: Walter Edwin Frost, Archives Item #CVA 447-129
2010, Photo credit: Junnn on Flickr

The Seawall route has continued to expand over the years, connecting far corners of the city through a network of paths and pedestrian thoroughfares. In total there are about 22 kilometers of Seawall that run from Coal Harbour, around Stanley Park, through to Sunset Beach, False Creek, over to Granville Island, under the Burrard Bridge, to Vanier Park and terminating at Kitsilano Beach.

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  1. Stanley Park seawall construction to be completed by the end of April | Everyday AdventuresTuesday, February 22nd, 2011 — 9:51am PST

    […] approximately seven months of construction, the Stanley Park seawall is set to reopen completely by the end of […]

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