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We will be spending one night pre-cruise in North Vancouver and will have a rental car. We have been to Vancouver several times so we have done a lot of the tourist stuff. We will be sailing out on 5/15 on the Coral Princess. In the morning we will go to Cleveland Dam and hike around a bit. We might also hike to Quarry rock. From North Vancouver which would be the easier way to get to Canada Place, route 1 then Hastings from the east or through Stanley park. We plan on dropping the luggage at the ship then returning the car to Avis and walk from there.

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Honestly it depends on several factors - most controllable being your accommodation location, as depending where in North Van there may be an obvious distance saving using one bridge or the other (mostly likely Ironworkers bridge - the 1 - as this is closer for most of North Van, while form West Van the Lion's Gate is nearer). As long as you avoid rush hour you shouldn't be unduly delayed on either route except by the 'definitely happens but not very frequently' issues of someone breaking down/an accident on one of the bridges - so I'd check Google Maps, GPS, Waze etc. depending what you have access to, right before you leave to see if there's any traffic issue that suggests you take the other crossing.

 

If you were planning to go hiking in the morning with your luggage in the car then heading directly from Cleveland Dam to the pier I suggest you don't, as all the parking lots of the attractions around North Van are regularly targeted by thieves in summer. If you have a car with a big enough trunk that EVERYTHING can be hidden in it then the risk would be small, but 'rental cars mean tourists mean luggage' so there's still a chance of someone smashing a window and popping the trunk unless they've already scored enough from other cars. Quarry Rock is more out of the way, less risky from a luggage theft scenario, but I'd still be hesitant to do any hiking on embarkation morning just in case of a sprained ankle or something!

 

If you are coming in from hiking directly to the pier though, from Cleveland Dam the Lions Gate is definitely the shorter trip and Quarry Rock it's the Ironworkers - in both cases you would have a significant detour to use the other bridge instead, an extra ~5k from QR and almost 10k from CD, so I'd be inclined to use the closest bridge unless it has major traffic issues.

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Thank for the info. We will change our plans a little. We will just leave our luggage at the hotel and go back and get it. Check out time is 11 so we can just head to Canada Place. Since we will still be on EST we will be up early and should have time for a little hiking.

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If you don't get enough exercise before heading to the pier, there are some nice walks around the city to kill some more time (you're on a two ship day so it would normally not be too bad if you get there even a little before noon to beat the first batch of Amtrak arrivals, but this is still early in the season so operations at the pier will be sluggish - so I'd aim for either before 11am or after 2pm to minimise your waiting time).

 

I'm sure you've been in Stanley Park on prior visits, which you could manage a loop around and back to the pier in 3 very leisurely hours, but since you have the car you could drop the bags then drive back out of the core to e.g. Queen Elizabeth Park for the best views in the city, or out to UBC which has lots of green space to walk around in.

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We were planning to go to Stanley Park after we arrived around 2 on our way to our motel but maybe we will stop at Queen Elizabeth garden instead since we have never been there.  We will have our luggage in the car trunk so I think it would be safer to pay to park in the lot. I see it is $3.50 an hour do we need CDA money to pay? I also read that it is free near the tennis courts and we wouldn't need to watch the clock to be sure our time didn't run out but is that worth the extra walk? 

We have been to Stanley Park a few times but always love to go back. We can always go Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning since it is right near our motel.

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12 hours ago, Eileen G said:

...maybe we will stop at Queen Elizabeth garden instead since we have never been there.

You can use credit cards at the ticket machines in QEP (and Stanley - in fact if you've driven to Stanley and parked before, it's the exact same machines - not surprising as the same park board runs both!) There is some free parking around the edges, which I think does include the car park near the tennis courts, and also some of the Hillcrest Park/Riley Park areas next door (really it's one big bit of green space, since it certainly sounds like you guys are up for plenty of walking you wouldn't have any difficulty wandering around from any of the free parking spots places, and ~2pm on a weekday you should have a good shot of getting one). The Rose Garden, Disc Gold, and Pitch & Putt golf are near the tennis courts - unless you're going to play one of those sports I don't feel parking there adds any value for you since you'll see a much bigger rose garden in Stanley soon after, so I guess it comes down to whether saving CAD$7 (2 hours should be plenty unless you plan to walk ALL the paths) but spending an extra 15-20mins walking around seems worthwhile to you.

 

The main pay parking right on top at QE Plaza is very convenient, totally open with great sightlines and lots of people coming & going so a slim chance of a smash & grab not being noticed by someone. The parking is actually on top of the biggest reservoir in the province, making a very practical use of the 'lid' they put on it (and providing plenty of water for the large fountain)! Quarry Gardens, viewing terrace, and Bloedel are easily accessed from it (and if you saw the many padlocks on our bridges on prior visits, they were all removed and installed onto a new metal sculpture to make the 'Love Locks' artwork that's in QEP, just the other side of the large quarry garden).

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