AMBLESIDE WALKING DIRECTIONS
The Ambleside Walk begins at the far eastern end of Ambleside Park (1), at the farthest end of the parking lot. Walk to the seawall and proceed west. On the right-hand side is the Ambleside duck pond, with a view of the sports playing fields behind. The median is the former site of ‘An Enclosed Line,’ demolished in 2004 due to decay. At the end of the spit to your right, you will see a welcoming totem raised by the Squamish Nation, one of several pieces of public art in the park (2). Continue along the seawall and note the facilities available for your enjoyment, including a skate park, sports court, changing rooms and washrooms, concession stand, and children’s playground. At end of the seawall, you will find the Narvaez’s cairn, erected in 1941 to commemorate the first European explorer to view West Vancouver. Next to the cairn is a monument to Clyde McRae, who walked Canada coast to coast in 1973.
Turn left from the seawall onto Argyle Avenue, and walk past the Hollyburn Sailing Club (3), built in 1963. Continue along Argyle Avenue to the corner of 14th Street to Heritage Square (4); here you will find the Ferry Building Gallery (5), originally built in 1913 to house the West Vancouver Municipal Ferry Service (6), and Ambleside Landing (7), part of the West Vancouver revitalization of Ambleside. Artist Don Vaughn’s ‘Stone Assemblage’ (8) is to the east along the water’s edge.
Keep heading west on Argyle Avenue to pass by the Floral Clock (9), built by the District of West Vancouver to celebrate the millennium. A bit further along, you will find the public Argyle Gardens on your left. Further along Argyle Avenue, you will find the Harmony Arts Festival building at 1564 Argyle (10), which is the headquarters of the West Vancouver’s annual fine arts festival. The Harmony Arts Festival is held annually in August. Next door, you can drop in to view the local art showcased at the Silk Purse Gallery (11). At 16th Street, turn right and head north up the hill. At Esquimalt Avenue, turn left to pass the West Vancouver Municipal Hall (12) on the right-hand side. The Gertrude Lawson House (13), which now houses the West Vancouver Museum & Archives, is on the left at 680 17th Street. Drop in and view the current exhibit, enjoy the heritage gardens and bench, or stop by the side door to tour the archives.
At 17th Street, turn left and head back down the hill; note the Horse Chestnut trees (14) that line both sides of the street. The Boy Scouts planted the trees as a fundraiser in 1935. Turn left at the intersection with Marine Drive and continue to 13th Street, exploring the shops and services of Ambleside Village (15) along the way.
At 13th Street, turn south and walk back down to Ambleside Park at the marked entrance. Rather then walk along the seawall, walk along the back edge of the playing fields and follow the train tracks. The Pacific Great Eastern Railway Company’s (16) West Vancouver line saw its inaugural run take place on January 1, 1914. It ran as a commuter line to Horseshoe Bay until 1928, when it was replaced by a “jitney” or motor coach. The tracks were later torn up and the PG&E was later bought by the Provincial government and renamed BC Rail. The line was rebuilt and is still in use today.
Just over the tracks on the north side, you will see the West Vancouver SPCA and the Ambleside Youth Centre, which are currently housed in old War Assets Corporation Huts (17) bought by the District of West Vancouver in 1947. On the right-hand side is another hut that houses a daycare centre.
Continue walking to the end of this road until it joins the Capilano River trail. Turn right onto the trail and head back along the river, winding westward towards your starting point. From here, there is a magnificent close-up view of the Lions Gate bridge (18): here the Capilano Fog & Light Station (19) was once located on the sandy spit at the mouth of Capilano River. This area of the trail is referred to as the ‘Doggie Walk,’ as owners can take their pets off leash. The walk back towards your starting point passes the former site of the wooden sculpture ‘Standing Wave,’ (20) also demolished due to decay. Continue past the Pitch and Putt course on the right, and exit the trail in the parking lot where you began.