One of Vancouver’s spectacular beach parks, a seat on a bench under the lacy black locust trees will quickly charm with its views of English Bay and Vanier Park. While lovely from the seawall, a step into the park reveals the large lawns and sandy beaches that are loved by sunbathers, soccer players, and those out for an invigorating stroll.
The First Nations people first referred to this location as Ay-Ay-yul-shun or “soft under the feet”. By the turn of the 20th century the pioneers were calling it Sunset Beach and the Park Board, though it did not own the property (the Provincial Government had title), provided informal supervision here during the warmer months. Finally, on June 27, 1941, in a convoluted land exchange involving the Park Board giving Abray Park (located adjacent to the Mountain view Cemetery) to the City and the City selling the northwest corner of Davie and Granville Streets to Gulf Estates Ltd., the deed to Sunset Beach (along with four water lots leased to the City later in 1942) was then turned over to the Park Board under a 99 year lease with the Provincial Government.
Private developers had built Crystal Pool at this site, a beautiful indoor natatorium in 1927, and offered to sell the building to the Park Board in 1938 or they would tear it down and build an apartment building. Long the Board’s goal to acquire the properties along Beach Avenue to open up unfettered access to the public, the Park Board completed the purchase of the pool in March 1940 obtaining the leased land later as stated above. The pool was eventually demolished in 1975, the year after the Vancouver Aquatic Centre opened.