A local couple made the most of staying home due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic earlier this year by exploring Vancouver's beautiful parks.
Vacouverite Steven Smethurst, who describes himself as a "Maker, Hacker, Coder, Artist, and all-around great guy," realized that he wasn't going to get a great deal of exercise after his office shut down in March 2020 and he started working from home. For the first few weeks of the pandemic, he says he felt somewhat blue.
"The lack of daily exercise, the same four walls every day, and the general stress of COVID were causing me to be mildly depressed," he writes in a blog post.
As a fun project, Smethurst's partner suggested that they should explore the city's parks. While the city has over 250 parks, they realized that they could visit each one by the end of the year if they made it to a couple of them daily. And for parks along bike paths, they realized they could see a dozen a day while they were biking around.
For proof, the creative duo snapped a selfie in front of each local park's sign and shared it on social media.
A great project for 2020
It took the couple seven months to complete the project, and they visited their last park on Dec. 19, 2020.
On his blog, Smethurst says that one of his favourite parks is Deering Island Park: "The small park on Deering island, has a good bench with great views of the Fraser River. From this park, you can walk the Fraser river trail and see a bit of Vancouver’s historic milling sites."
Other green spaces included on the list are Queen Elizabeth Park, Crab Park, Habitat Island, VanDusen Botanical Garden, Jonathan Rogers Park, and more.
Smethurst writes that he started off by making a spreadsheet of all the parks, which he sorted neighbourhood. The couple then tried to visit the parks based on neighbourhoods, but found it better to create a google map of all parks across the city and check them off as they visited them.
"This was a great project for COVID-19 (2020). It allowed us to explore different neighbourhoods that we wouldn’t have visited otherwise and got us some exercise. It also helped me mentally deal with COVID-19 and gave me something to look forward to every day," he explains.
In total, they visited 251 Parks--167 parks had signs, and 84 did not.