1986 Vancouver hosted Expo 86. It not only opened Vancouver to the world, it also brought about many changes. Beer parlors and pubs were licensed to sell alcohol on Sundays and holidays (while social clubs took a beating). The Sky Train was constructed, going from Canada Place in downtown Vancouver out to Scott Road in Surrey.
Grace McCarthy, Minister of Transportation, contacted all multi-cultural Societies to create park-like areas along the Sky Train route. Originally 16-18 ethnic plazas were created but now only four or five are left: the Chinese Garden in China Town, the Italian Plaza on Clark Street, a big A on Victoria Drive and Stainsbury, representing the Austrian Business Association, now surrounded by a community garden, the Philippine community near the Nanaimo Station and the German Canadian Heritage Plaza on 29th Ave and Atlin Street (across from 29th Ave Sky Train Station).
While many of the parks may be gone, the BC Parkway, sponsored by 7Eleven and other corporations, is still enjoyed by people of all ages in many ways: bikers, joggers, walking groups etc. You can ride your bike from Science World all the way to New Westminster Quay. And if you feel adventurous, you can continue over the Pattula Bridge into Surrey.
With the addition of the Centennial Sky Train Line from Vancouver to Coquitlam and New Westminster, another bikeway, the Central Valley Greenway, was created.
Regardless if you are on the BC Parkway or Central Valley Greenway, the benefit of enjoying these trails by bike is that a Sky Train station is never too far away should your legs get fatigued.
Over the following years many more bikeways have been created or improved and connected to existing routes. Now you can bike along the south shore of False Creek all the way to Spanish Banks and even further. Or you can double back, cross the Burrard Street Bridge and keep going around Stanley Park and then back to downtown. The north shore of False Creek also makes a nice ride for a Sunday afternoon. (But be aware, there are guys with strollers who will aim for you!)
Visit the City of Vancouver’s Biking Page for more info on cycling around Vancouver. Whatever routes you choose there is no excuse not to spend time exploring Vancouver by bike.