Long recognized as one of the great parks of the world, Stanley Park is one of the crown jewels of Vancouver. Stanley Park is Vancouver's first park and one of the city's main tourist attractions and is an evergreen oasis of 400 hectares (1,000 acres) close to the downtown core. Its natural west coast and First Nations atmosphere offers a back drop of majestic cedar, hemlock and fir trees which greets visitors from all over the globe and transports them to an environment rich in tranquility. The park also is home to various wildlife and its features appeal to the naturalist, the plant lover or one who would do nothing more than relax in beautiful surroundings.
Stanley Park was opened in 1888 by the British Lord Stanley of Preston who later became the Earl of Derby. The largest city-owned park in Canada and the third largest in North America, Stanley Park is more than ten percent larger than New York City's Central Park and almost half the size of London's Richmond Park.
Each year the park joins an estimated eight million visitors, locals and tourists alike, who come for its recreational facilities, gardens, seawall and ocean views. The famous seawall path which circles the park is used by more than 2.5 million pedestrians, sight-seers, cyclists, and inline skaters every year. Most of the park is forested with old growth forest and an estimated half million trees that can be as tall as 76 meters (250 ft) and hundreds of years old. There are also approximately 125 miles of trails and roads through the park which are patroled by the Vancouver City Police horse mounted squad. The Project for Public Spaces has ranked Stanley Park as the sixteenth best park in the world and sixth best in North America.
A great number of quality recreational facilities are also available in Stanley Park including a pitch and putt golf course bordered by the spring-blooming Ted and Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden. At the Park's heart is the formal Rose Garden surrounded by mass perennial plants looking for their very best from April through September.