Lining the outer edge of a 1,001 acre natural park in the heart of Canada’s most serene city is a majestic 8.8 kilometre walkway and cycle path. From the cycle path, the monolithic Pacific extends just inches from your grasp while an abundance of natural wildlife roams inside the lush forest behind you. The Stanley Park walkway is reason alone to visit Vancouver and its cosmopolitan aura.

Editor’s note: These photos were first published in Vancouver 2015: Part 2. I’ve since returned to the photos to edit them differently, to break them apart into smaller packets, and to write about them from a different perspective.

Although I’m not used to big city living, I can understand the importance of nature amid streets of a concrete jungle. Endless, emotionless pavement takes its toll, while thick grass and salty sea air can provide some relief from the daily grind.

In the name of efficiency, we would have concrete, glass, and stone. But in the name of life, we would have the smell of smoked fish drifting away from a cedar log cabin. It seems fair to mix the two to some extent.

Baby fawns, chubby squirrels, mystical swans and blue herons. Sea creatures of all sorts. Soaring, Western Red Cedars provide shelter over head.

And motor cars.

It’s a series of symbiotic relationships, effectively living peacefully amidst the hustle of international shipyards and an evolving digital arena.

Yet, Stanley Park is more.

It’s a playground for the adventurous and a painting for the rich. Marine Drive lays across the sound, lined with castles fit for medieval kings. It was easy to hang our arms over the handrails at Brockton Point, gleeming across at our future, post-lottery home. And the yachts floating in the midst seemed to make the tease that much worse.

But Vancouver wouldn’t be Vancouver without the rich, without the sea, without the ships, and without the magnificence of Stanley Park. If anything, it felt as though Stanley Park was Vancouver, and Vancouver was Stanley Park.

They are mutually inclusive, inclusive of all forms and beings, blessed with mutual benefit.

They are the definition of a perfect relationship.