Locarno Beach and Spanish Banks, Vancouver BC

I finally love the beach...after moving to the Midwest

In 1980, we moved from Burnaby to a Vancouver neighborhood close to the beach called Point Grey. During the first summer at my new house, I explored the beaches and parks with my brother and cousins. We fished on the docks, picked blackberries, and climbed the apple tree in the park. From that year onwards, I didn't make any effort to visit the beach again.

I avoided the beach in my teenage years, complaining to my mother that it was "boring" and I didn't like sand between my shoes. As I grew older, my visits to the beach were limited to bike rides along the Vancouver waterfront. I loved looking at the water and smelling the sea in the air as I madly pedaled my mountain bike. However, I never stopped my bike to walk and explore.

I've always lived near large bodies of water, even after I moved from Vancouver to Toronto and then later to San Diego. Lake Ontario, one of the Great Lakes in Toronto, isn't the ocean, but it looks like one because of its vast size. In San Diego, we would often drive by the beaches, but we never actually set foot upon one. I know, shame on me!

Since moving to the Midwest, which is thousands of miles from any Sea or Great Lake, I now crave to see and experience my hometown beaches.

A Visit to Locarno Beach, Vancouver, BC

The morning after our plane landed in Vancouver, we decided to take walk to Locarno beach. We didn't even pause to eat breakfast, as we were so excited to see the beach again.

Jericho Beach Map

Lacarno Beach is actually a very small beach which is unknown to many Vancouverites since it's nested between the larger more famous beaches of Spanish Banks and Jericho Beach.

View Larger Map

Subaru Vancouver International Triathlon

Walking down to the beach, we heard cheering and crowds in the distance. The road was blocked off to traffic and there were orange cones in the street. Then we saw a cyclist.

Subaru Vancouver International Triathlon 2013 cyclist

Subaru Vancouver International Triathlon 2013 cyclist

Getting closer, we also saw runners.

Subaru Vancouver International Triathlon 2013 runner

At the finish line we saw that it was the Subaru Vancouver International Triathlon. Some of the athletes were extremely muscular and fit looking, while others were...less fit. After listening to the announcer, we learned that this athletic event attracts both the amateur and the pro as the race offers routes designed for athletes of all levels. Teams can also enter the race, so that the course events are shared by a number of participants.

Subaru Vancouver International Triathlon 2013 finish line

Subaru Vancouver International Triathlon Finish line

Jericho Beach, Vancouver, BC

Jericho beach Vancouver, BC

My son walking to the docks

From the finish line, we took a short walk to the Jericho docks. Small boats are launched from the lower floating dock while the upper dock is used by sight-seers and local fishermen. 

A seal swimming near Jericho beach Vancouver, BC

We saw a seal swimming by the docks

Dock Fishing at Spanish Banks, Vancouver BC

Although there are many NO FISHING signs on the dock, many people fish from the Jericho dock year round. 

30 years ago, when I fished off the Jericho dock, Vancouver Harbour was polluted, and the only fish we managed to catch regularly were "bullheads" or the Pacific Staghorn Sculpin. It's considered a nuisance fish since they are so easy to catch and are slimy and inedible. I remember clearly the day I caught a small shiner perch and proudly presented the fish to my grandmother. She cleaned it and fried it in a frying pan. Just before we all took a bite, she told us that she would taste it first. She immediately spat it out and said it tasted like gasoline. I was so disappointed.

Walking to the end of the dock, we saw a family fishing off the Jericho dock: a grandfather, father, and son. We walked over to see what they had caught. 

starfish on the docks in Jericho beach Vancouver, BC

The little boy caught a starfish caught in a crab trap. 

Small English sole caught near the docks of Jericho Beach Vancouver, BC

A small English sole fish caught from the docks. 

Crabs caught in trap by docks at Jericho Beach Vancouver, BC

Small crabs caught in the crab trap. 
Luckily the fisherman threw them all back into the water.

From my observation of the catch that morning, the harbour seems to have recovered from the pollution of 30 years ago. :)

Jericho Park, Vancouver BC

From the docks, we walked east to Jericho Park, a large park with tennis courts, gravel trails and gentle hills. There is also a bridge that spans across a small pond surrounded with bullrushes. Along the pathways are many hedges of wild blackberry bushes.

Jericho Beach Tennis Courts Vancouver, BC

Jericho public tennis courts. At the far end of the park is the Jericho Tennis Club, a private health club which has night-time tennis, a swanky clubhouse, and a pool. 

Jericho Pond walkway Vancouver, BC

Blackberry bushes at Jericho Pond Vancouver, BC

Wild blackberry bushes are everywhere.

Blackberry picking at Jericho beach Vancouver, BC

We didn't pick any berries since it was too early in the season.

Large bumble bee photographed near Jericho beach Vancouver, BC

On our way back through some of the neighborhoods, we found this enormous bumblebee. 

Spanish Banks, Vancouver, BC

On the west side of Lacarno Beach is Spanish Banks Beach and Park. Along the beach are gravel paths, one for pedestrians, and the other for cyclists. The beach also has eight permanent beach volleyball courts and a dog park.

Volleyball nets at Spanish Banks, Vancouver, BC

Volleyball Stakes at Spanish Banks

Spear thistle growing at Spanish Banks Beach, Vancouver, BC.

Pretty wildflowers along the path. This one is called the Spear Thistle.

Dog park at Spanish Banks Vancouver, BC

Dog Park at Spanish Banks

The anchor at Spanish Banks Vancouver, BC

The Anchor 

By the time we reach the Anchor, we turn around and start back for home. Today, we decided to walk a bit further.

A lonely tree growing in Spanish Banks beach Vancouver, BC


We found a pile of washed-up logs that had escaped their log booms. On the West Coast, logs are transported from the forests to mills or freight docks by log rafts or booms. The logs are floated in the water and tied together to form rafts and are then pulled by boat. Sometimes a log will escape the log booms and eventually drift onto a beach. Logs are a part of landscape of West Coast beaches and create a natural seating area for beachgoers. 

Old logs washed up on the shore, Spanish Banks, Vancouver, BC

Holey logs, Spanish Banks Vancouver, BC

Older logs on the beach are filled with holes created by insects.

Grasses and logs at Spanish Banks Vancouver, BC

Vancouver International Fireworks Competition

For the past 23 years, the Vancouver Fireworks Festival Society has organized an international fireworks competition at English Bay. This year, the competitors were United Kingdom, Canada/Alberta, and Thailand. 

We were fortunate to be in Vancouver the first day of the competition on July 27th. Instead of fighting for parking and the massive crowds in English Bay, we decided to walk to Jericho Beach and see the fireworks from there. We took a large tarp and blankets so that we could sit comfortably on the beach. We arrived at 9 PM and waiting for the sun to set. 

Jericho Beach at dusk Vancouver, BC

Vancouver International Firework Competition

The fireworks were choreographed to the movie music themes of James Bond, which you can hear while watching the fireworks by tuning into the radio station. The weather, the gorgeous Vancouver skyline, and family made this fireworks display the best I've ever seen. 

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