English Bay (Vancouver)
English Bay is located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, west of the downtown peninsula, which separates the bay from Burrard Inlet connecting to the northwest, and False Creek to the southeast. Point Grey on the south and Point Atkinson on the north form the bay's entrance from the Strait of Georgia.
English Bay Beach, near the city's West End residential neighbourhood, is the most popular sunbathing, swimming, and sunset-watching beach in the downtown Vancouver area. Other downtown beaches facing English Bay include Sunset Beach, Second Beach, and Third Beach. Along the south shore of the bay lie Kitsilano Beach, Jericho Beach, the Spanish Banks beaches, and Locarno Beach, while on the North Shore are Ambleside Beach and various smaller cove-beaches in the city of West Vancouver. English Bay beaches are all major tourist attraction to visitors all year long, with the peak season being late summer.
The Vancouver Seawall runs all the way around English Bay from Stanley Park in the northeast around False Creek at Point Grey facing the Strait of Georgia in the southwest. This is a favourite destination for walkers, runners, bicyclists, and roller-bladers. (Note: the Seawall is one-way for cyclists and roller-bladers, running counter-clockwise from just east of Lions Gate Bridge to Third Beach.)
English Bay Beach is host to a number of public events. The Celebration of Light is a fireworks competition that is held for two weeks every summer (usually the last week in July and first week in August). While this competition often struggles to secure funding, it has successfully run since 1997 and is the largest off-shore fireworks display in the world. Each winter it is the host of Vancouvers' annual Polar Bear Swim and each summer the Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival is held on English Bay Beach.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, English Bay Beach was home to Vancouver's first official lifeguard, the legendary Joe Fortes, who taught hundreds of the city's early residents how to swim, and patrolled the beach from his cabin on its shore. Today, the waters of the bay are often dotted with hundreds of small pleasure boats, as well as huge freighters waiting at anchor to load cargoes at Vancouver's port.
The beach was the site of an oil spill in Vancouver on April 8, 2015 where the response was exceptional and world class according to the Coast Guard. However, the federal government was criticized for its response to the spill by both the mayor and premier. Three birds were injured by the spill.
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