1. Travel
Send to a Friend via Email

9 Attractions in Coal Harbour

A Visitor's Guide to the Vancouver Waterfront Neighborhood

By

Coal Harbour borders Vancouver's most popular neighborhoods, and it benefits from each: the West End's liveliness, convenient amenities in Downtown, and scenic beauty in Stanley Park. Add in non-stop water and mountain views, and this stretch between Canada Place and Stanley Park rates as a perfect place to explore.

The Neighborhood History

Historically, First Nations people established camps along the shore. With the pioneer settlement of the area came the discovery of a coal seam, and businessmen claimed the land to set-up a brickworks.

In the late 1880s, the Canadian Pacific Railway made Coal Harbour the terminus of their line and built shipping piers along the shore. Two of the piers have since become Canada Place.

Top Attractions and Things to Do in Coal Harbour

1. Coal Harbour Seawall

© Chloë Ernst
Part of Vancouver's seawall network, the paved route through Coal Harbour can be the start or end point for a bicycle ride along the waterfront. The route passes outdoor sculptures, a large marina, and waterfront restaurants.

2. Marina and Boat Tours

© Chloë Ernst
The Coal Harbour Marina has fancy yachts to ogle as well as a few floating houses that are full-time residences. Some Vancouver boat tours operate out of the marina, offering daytime, dinner, and sunset cruises.

3. Seaplane Terminal

© Chloë Ernst
Vancouver's float planes take-off and land at the Coal Harbour Terminal. It's a perfect launching point for quick flights over to Vancouver Island or one of the smaller Gulf Islands. You can also take a scenic flight-seeing tour of the area.

4. Canada Place

© Chloë Ernst
At the east end of the neighborhood, Canada Place is one of the city's main gathering points. This is where city bus tours depart, where cruise ships arrive, and where there's a huge Canada Day party on July 1.

5. Floating Gas Station

© Chloë Ernst
Out in Coal Harbour (the body of water inside Stanley Park's Brockton Point), there's a rare and very photogenic floating gas station. Boats pull up to the station to fill up. Most of us just snap photos.

6. Harbour Green Park

© Chloë Ernst
This small green space lies at the north end of Bute Street, and offers a restaurant, washrooms, and children's water-spray park. Pleasure boats can moor at the park and dock for up to three hours, during the daytime only.

7. Sport and Recreation Clubs

© Chloë Ernst
There is a strong tradition of water-sport recreation in Coal Harbour. Besides the yachts moored at main marina, you'll see the active Vancouver Rowing Club, which hosts a sports and social events in its heritage 1911 building. You'll also find a location of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, complete with restaurant and covered berths, here on the edge of Stanley Park.

8. Coal Harbour Community Centre

© Chloë Ernst
For a gym workout or dance class, head to this small but newer community center on the waterfront. A playground area and scheduled children's events make the space very family friendly.
Address: 480 Broughton St.
Phone: 604-718-8222

9. Hear the Nine O'Clock Gun

© Chloë Ernst
Every night at 9 p.m., a single canon blast marks the hour in Vancouver. The Nine O'Clock Gun is one of the most historic pieces in Stanley Park, and originally helped moored ships to synchronize their chronometers. You can hear the blast miles away, but one of the best spots to do so is on the shore of Coal Harbour, looking out at Brockton Point and the naval base on somberly named Deadman's Island.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.