Regional Parks History Timeline (1966 to present)

Since time immemorial, many Indigenous peoples have lived on these shared territories including 10 local First Nations: Katzie, Kwantlen, Kwikwetlem, Matsqui, Musqueam, Qayqayt, Semiahmoo, Squamish, Tsawwassen and Tsleil-Waututh. Metro Vancouver respects the diverse and distinct histories, languages and cultures of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit, which collectively enrich our lives and the region.


A Regional Parks Plan for the Lower Mainland Region is created to meet the outdoor recreation needs of Lower Mainland residents (Population = 1 million)

1960s - 1970s

50 Year History of Regional Parks - Part 1: Land for Leisure


The Vancouver-Fraser Park District is formed to carry out the plan. Its priority: acquire land "while it is available and before prices rise too much"


The first regional parks open to the public

Aldergrove Regional Park (Abbotsford / Langley)
Belcarra Regional Park (Belcarra / Anmore / Port Moody)
Boundary Bay Regional Park (Delta)
Capilano River Regional Park (North Vancouver / West Vancouver)
Campbell Valley Regional Park (Langley)
Kanaka Creek Regional Park (Maple Ridge)


The fish hatchery is built at Capilano River Regional Park.


Regional Parks become part of the Greater Vancouver Regional District. "Parks are the region’s breathing spaces."


Derby Reach Regional Park (Langley) is opened to the public.


Burnaby Lake Regional Park (Burnaby) is established.

Regional Parks begins offering nature education programs with the Burnaby Lake Nature House as the main hub.


Bell-Irving Hatchery – originally a sheep barn – starts operating at Kanaka Creek Regional Park.


First annual Celebration of Nature (later called Country Celebration) at Campbell Valley Regional Park.

Campbell Valley Nature House is established.


Burrvilla, a Victorian style house (1905), is moved to Deas Island Regional Park from River Road. The attic is now a summer nursery for hundreds of bats.


Inverholme Schoolhouse (1909) is moved from East Ladner to Deas Island Regional Park and restored. Now reservable for special occasions.


Seven more regional parks are established:

Deas Island Regional Park (Delta)
Minnekhada Regional Park (Coquitlam)
Crippen Regional Park (Bowen Island)
Matsqui Trail Regional Park (Abbotsford)
Lynn Headwaters Regional Park (North Vancouver)
Tynehead Regional Park (Surrey)
Pacific Spirit Regional Park (Vancouver)


Fort Camping opens at Brae Island Regional Park for Expo 86.

1980s - 1990s

50 Year History of Regional Parks: Part 2 - Lions, Tigers & Bears


Stargazing programs have been held in Aldergrove Regional Park with local astronomers since the early 1990s.

Development pressure raises public interest in conserving large, undyked Fraser River floodplains, leading to the acquisition of land in 1995 for a future park.


Iona Beach Regional Park is established (Richmond).


Lynn Headwaters Regional park becomes the largest regional park in the system at 3,700 hectares.

Work begins to restore 10,000 year-old Camosun Bog in Pacific Spirit Regional Park.


Five more regional parks and one regional park reserve are added to the system:

Widgeon Marsh Regional Park Reserve (Coquitlam / Electoral Area A)
Glen Valley Regional Park (Langley / Abbotsford)
Barnston Island Regional Park (Electoral Area A)
Brae Island Regional Park (Langley)
Fraser Islands Regional Park Reserve (Richmond/Port Coquitlam)
Colony Farm Regional Park (Coquitlam / Electoral Area A)


Lower Mainland Legacy Program adds 458 hectares to Belcarra Regional Park along Buntzen Ridge adjacent to mountainside wilderness with spectacular ocean views.

Additional land acquired at Derby Reach Regional Park including pine bog forest.

Volunteer Campbell Valley Nature House Host program starts.


Scenic Tum-tumay-whueton Drive is added to Belcarra Regional Park and named for the First Nations village that once overlooked the ocean.


Local concern over harvesting juvenile crabs sparks the creation of Beachkeepers, a still-active volunteer program at Belcarra Regional Park.


Cammidge House (1914) originally located at 3rd Ave and Boundary Bay Rd is moved to Boundary Bay Regional Park and restored. Today, it provides a scenic setting for meetings, parties and events.


Minnekhada Regional Park hosts a study to minimize impacts on its resident bats, especially a colony of Townsend’s big-eared-bats, a species-at-risk.

Regional greenways system established


Blaney Bog Regional Park Reserve is established (Maple Ridge)

Pacific Parklands Foundation, a registered charity dedicated to the conservation and enhancement of Metro Vancouver's regional parks, is established.


50 Year History of Regional Parks: Part 3 - Protect & Connect.


Boundary Bay, an internationally significant site on the Pacific Flyway migration route, is designated as an Important Bird Area.

Gordon’s Brook is created from an agricultural irrigation ditch as part of the habitat enhancement of Pepin Brook in Aldergrove Regional Park.

Heritage Area at Derby Reach Regional Park officially opens.


Aldergrove Bowl at Aldergrove Regional Park is transformed from a gravel pit into habitat for wildlife and a scenic area with grassy meadows, pocket forests and a marshy pond.


Thwaytes Landing Regional Park (North Vancouver) is established with a goal of maintaining the biodiversity of BC’s southernmost fjord.

Brunette-Fraser Regional Greenway (Burnaby / New Westminster) is opened to the public.


Burns Bog Ecological Conservancy Area (Delta) & Codd Wetland Ecological Conservancy Area (Maple Ridge) established.

Community groups and hundreds of volunteers start removing invasive Scotch broom at Iona Beach Regional Park to restore the coastal sand ecosystem. This rare habitat with unique sand dune plants begins to return.


As development in the region increases and greenspace decreases, there is an emphasis on conservation and sustainability.


Pitt River Regional Greenway (Pitt Meadows) established.

North Alouette Regional Greenway (Maple Ridge) established.

West Creek Wetlands is acquired (managed as part of Glen Valley Regional Park).


Tavistock Loop Trail is opened, completing Brae Island Regional Park’s trail system.

Davies Creek in Crippen Regional Park is restored, improving the quality of fish habitat and supporting several salmon species.


Delta South Surrey Regional Greenway (Delta / Surrey) established.

New nesting beach at Burnaby Lake Regional Park supports largest known population of endangered Western painted turtles.

Accessible playground opens at Boundary Bay Regional Park.


Barnston Island Regional Park grows with the acquisition of Mann Point on the eastern end of the island, conserving additional foreshore to support raptors, spotted sandpipers and other wildlife.

Seymour River Regional Greenway (North Vancouver) established.

Sumas Mountain Interregional Park (Abbotsford) established.

Paved perimeter trail opens in Tynehead Regional Park, increasing the park’s accessibility.

Large amounts of dog waste and concerns about health effects on people and wildlife prompt Regional Parks to provide eco-friendly improvements in dog waste disposal.


Metro Vancouver Board adopts the Experience the Fraser (ETF) Concept Plan. ETF is a unique vision to connect communities, parks, natural features, historic and cultural sites and experiences along the Lower Fraser River. The vision is centered around the ‘Canyon to Coast Trail and Blueway’ connecting Hope to the Salish Sea.

The new fishway in Burnaby Lake Regional Park mimics a natural stream, making it easier for salmon to get past Cariboo Dam.

As part of the plan for a new watershed stewardship centre, Bell-Irving Hatchery is demolished in Kanaka Creek Regional Park.

The new concession at Boundary Bay Regional Park is open, featuring a green roof, bird-friendly glass and ample natural light.


New stewardship technician positions work to protect and conserve ecosystem health such as this project that uses beetles as a biological control against invasive purple loosestrife.

Bell-Irving Hatchery at Kanaka Creek Regional Park replaced.

Wetland created at Aldergrove Regional Park, providing habitat for Canada’s most endangered amphibian – the Oregon spotted frog.


Inaugural Ecoblitz stewardship event

Universally accessible fishing ramp opens at Edgewater Bar in Derby Reach Regional Park.

Data loggers are installed to monitor water flow in Burns Bog Ecological Conservancy Area, providing information to help protect a unique ecosystem.


Enhancement project at Campbell Valley Regional Park supports wetland and pollinator meadow habitat.


Regional Parks Plan updated

Goal 1: Protect important natural areas to contribute to the liveability of the region and enhance connections with other parks or natural areas.

Goal 2: Within the context of natural area protection, provide opportunities for people to connect with, enjoy, be active and learn about the environment.

Surrey Bend Regional Park is established (Surrey)


Metro Vancouver marks 50 years of its regional parks system with a year-long celebration to showcase its 14,500-hectare network of parks and greenways.

Grouse Mountain Regional Park is established (North Vancouver).

Kanaka Creek Watershed Stewardship Centre opens in Kanaka Creek Regional Park.

Widgeon Marsh Regional Park Reserve – A park management plan is underway to give people opportunities to connect with nature while protecting the site's sensitive wetlands and ecosystems.

Metro Vancouver and its partners restore a salmon-bearing creek in Pacific Spirit Regional Park.

Endangered Western painted turtles get new nesting beach at Aldergrove Regional Park.


Metro Vancouver increases the Regional Parks Land Acquisition Fund from $7.57 million to $11.57 million to better enable the regional district to acquire land in the face of growing development pressures.

Parks outside of the Metro Vancouver Regional District are transferred to the Fraser Valley Regional District and City of Abbotsford: Sumas Mountain Interregional Park, Matsqui Trail Regional Park and the eastern portion of Glen Valley Regional Park. A portion of Aldergrove Regional Park’s land base is also transferred but continues to be managed by Metro Vancouver.

Metro Vancouver acquires a new tool called a Tiger Dam to protect parks along the Fraser River from damage caused by spring flooding.

An innovative engineering solution is used to replace Still Creek bridge in Burnaby Lake Regional Park, reducing the impact on sensitive surrounding ecosystems.

Campbell Valley Nature House demolished

Campbell Valley Nature House exhibits and activities relocated to red barn


A new nature discovery area opens in Aldergrove Regional Park.

Country Celebration 40th Anniversary

Metro Vancouver Board endorses the Public Programming Strategy that presents recommendations on how Regional Parks programming and interpretation will meet the needs of the region’s growing, diverse population.

Campbell Valley Regional Park expands by 3.95 hectares of old field habitat, maturing Douglas-fir forest and wetlands.

Sheep Paddocks Trail in Colony Farm Regional Park complete including habitat enhancement. (Original seasonal trail closed in 2007 due to flooding and severe undercutting by the river.)


Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Metro Vancouver sign an historic co-operation agreement for Belcarra Regional Park.

Codd Wetland Ecological Conservancy Area expands by 53.8 hectares on the west and south flanks of Thompson Mountain.

A team of experts embarks on the planning and design of Widgeon Marsh Regional Park (not yet open to the public).

Staff rise to the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping regional parks open and continuing to provide opportunities to connect with nature.

During the pandemic, local residents turn to regional parks to meet their needs for physical and mental health – as a safe place to connect with nature and others. 2020 sees record numbers with 16.5 million visits, an increase of 39% over 2019 (11.9 million).

Staff successfully pivot nature programs, taking measure to ensure the safety of participants and staff. Some in-park programs are scaled down while others let households or core bubbles move from station to station. New online programs are created including webinars and virtual field trips.

Nature Discovery Loop opens in Aldergrove Regional Park.

Delta Nature Reserve is added to Burns Bog Ecological Conservancy Area. This land is the only publicly accessible part of Burns Bog.

Kanaka Creek Regional Park expands with the purchase of 3.82 hectares of creek side and forest habitat.

Metro Vancouver announces funding for trail upgrades in Grouse Mountain Regional Park. Work begins on trail improvements and will continue until completion in 2024.

56 hectares added to Codd Wetland Ecological Conservancy Area.

Metro Vancouver Board approves 2021 budget which includes additional $4 million annual tax requisition to further boost Regional Parks Land Acquisition Fund.


Metro Vancouver Board approves the Regional Greenways 2050 plan, the region’s shared vision for a network of recreational multi-use paths for cycling and walking that connects residents to large parks, protected natural areas and communities to support regional livability.