Couple documents their pandemic visits to over 250 Vancouver parks (PHOTOS)

Jan 16 2021, 1:26 am

When the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a mass shutdown of businesses, services, and activities across BC in March 2020, Vancouverite Steven Smethurst saw his life take a turn.

Like many British Columbians, Smethurst’s daily life completely changed. His regular commute of walking to work was replaced by working from home. He was missing his routine of exercise and being outdoors.

That’s when Smethurst’s partner, Lori Schlechtleitner, suggested they explore their city and visit every single park in Vancouver.

The couple has since documented their experience on their blog.

With around 250 parks to go through, they decided to try going to a few parks each time, with the hope of going to all of them before the end of 2020.


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A post shared by Steven Smethurst (@funvill)

Thanks to Vancouver’s biking paths, the couple often managed to visit more than a dozen parks on a single ride, bringing them closer to their goal.

Smethurst also created a Google map of all the parks of the city, which allowed him to check every time he had to leave the house and pick up something to see if there were any parks nearby.

Each trip outside of the house, regardless of its purpose, became a part of their project.

The couple captured their adventure by taking a selfie in front of each park sign.


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A post shared by Steven Smethurst (@funvill)

It took them seven-and-a-half months to complete their project, with more than 1,500 selfies to capture their adventure. They visited the last park on their list on December 19, 2020.

A couple of their favourite finds were Deering Island Park, Fraser River Park, and Shannon Mews Park, which even has a labyrinth. Marpole Midden Park is also a great find. Despite looking perfectly ordinary, it is a National Historic Site of Canada, and Smethurst explains on his blog that its history is worth the visit.

“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,” stated Smethurst on his blog.

“It also helped me mentally deal with COVID-19 and gave me something to look forward to every day.”

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