The journey from Kits Beach to Jericho beach takes 7 minutes by car or taxi and 11 minutes by bus but as a fresh off the boat expat trying to integrate, I decided to walk thereby earning a few more Vancouverite points! The rocky foreshore also known as the Point Grey Foreshore is an intertidal zone, where the ocean meets the land during high tide. My friend, for whom all beaches in Vancouver are second to Kits, recommended going during low tide so we could walk across the sea bed. The ocean reveals some gorgeous rock formations and other underwater treasures as it slips away. Particularly stunning are the massive piece of driftwood along the way with each ripple of water etched in wood.
The marine life in Vancouver is a rich confluence of the North Alaskan currents and the Southern Californian currents, however the high salinity of the tide pools at the foreshore means that only the species adaptable to both low and high tides thrive. Crabs and snails hide under rocks and moist crevices to protect themselves from drying out in the sun. Marine algae can survive losing up to almost 90% of their moisture and become brittle till in come the waves and they magically come to life. The trail is home to a plethora of barnacles and mussels that hold small amounts of sea-water in their shells and are closed tight during low tide. The Mussels secrete ‘byssus’ threads that anchor them to the shore, while the barnacles stick to rock by secreting cement. The rocks are also scattered with Sea-Stars with their thousands of tube feet that cling onto the shore with suction cups.
Some of Vancouver’s most expensive homes or the Billionaire’s Row, lie above the artificial seawall wall with spectacular views of English Bay. It is also one of the largest natural shorelines in Vancouver. While other beaches boast concrete promenades, the Kits trail is generally left to itself at the insistence of the locals who love this hidden natural gem in the heart of the city. There are several graffities along the usually boring concrete seawall and even a stretch of designer Seawall built by landscape architect Paul Sangha called the Metamorphous. This 200-foot-long piece of public art is made of out Corten Steel that reacts with the salty air and is eventually supposed to dissolve in 75 to 100 years, making it part of the rocky, tidal landscape.
Towards the end of the trail, you can either climb a steep set of stairs to the streets and make your way to Jericho beach or clamber over an outcrop of massive boulders and mossy rock to get to the other side. While this may seem a bit of a choice between a rock and a hard place quite literally, I am told that the stairs are nothing compared to the set of devil’s stairs it takes to get back to civilization from Wreck’s Beach. So, we took the stairs and headed towards Jericho Park with its gorgeous sandy beaches which we welcomed with relief after an hour of stumbling through mossy, slippery gravel and rocks.
There are several activities that one can undertake at both beaches. Kitsilano pool just happens to be the longest pool in Canada. It is a salt water pool over-looking the ocean and is open from May to September. Apart from aquatic activities there are several tennis courts, beach volleyball nets, parks for picnics, barbecues, paddling, yatch clubs and more! Jericho beach in particular is famous for the summer Vancouver Folk Music Festival, held every year. (Cancelled due to Covid this year). However, we chose to reward ourselves with ice cold refreshing ice-cream sticks and divinely hot, sweet potato and potato fries thereby undoing the few calories we may have burned during the short trial.