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Hollow Tree in Stanley Park

Hollow Tree in Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C., Canada

The Hollow Tree in Stanley Park is arguably the most famous tourist attraction in Vancouver for over the last 100 years.  The Hollow Tree is very old, about 600-800 years old Western Red Cedar tree that died, but left a huge hollow stump.  The stump has a circumference of about 60 feet with a huge hollow center.  Since people have had cameras, they have taken photos of themselves inside the Hollow Tree.  People have had cars, horse-drawn carriages, elephants, and obviously people inside the hollow tree for photos.  Stanley Park drive originally was slated to go right through where the Hollow Tree stood, but after much objection, especially from the photographers who worked at the tree, the road was diverted.

In 2006, there was a huge windstorm that caused major damage to the trees in Stanley Park.  The Hollow Tree was damaged and was leaning at a dangerous angle.  The Vancouver Parks board considered dropping the tree and letting it rot.  There was a big public outcry and finally the tree was saved by building a inner metal frame to hold up the tree safely.  The tree is now standing straight and open for people to take photos in.  If you come to Vancouver, you need to have your photo taken inside the Hollow Tree.

There are some fantastic old photos of the Hollow Tree at: https://sites.google.com/site/historyofstanleyparkhollowtree/gallery/

Hollow Tree plaque in Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Natural History

The Hollow Tree is a western red cedar (Thuja plicata), the giant of the British Columbia coastal ecosystem and BC's provincial tree.

It grows largest in diameter of all trees and often becomes hollow in later years, even as it continues to grow.  It's natural oil resists rot, which has made it useful for many objects.

The [western red] Cedar is very generally 'stag-headed' and hollow-hearted'-Report on Stanley Park by Dominion Entomologist, 1914

The Hollow Tree is a monument to the original forest of giant trees.  It is about 1,000 years old, possibly the oldest tree in Stanley Park and a link to the distant local past.

Also called the "Big Tree", it survived extensive logging in Stanley Park from 1865 to 1885.  It also endured wind storms that blew down thousands of trees in the park.  It has lost its top and its circumference measures about 50 feet.

"We're lucky we still have it.  It was just luck that it didn't blow over in the big hurricane."-George Wainborn, Chair, Park Board, 1965, referring to Typhoon Freda.

Hollow Tree plaque in Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C., Canada

The plaque says:

Some Vancouverites suggested over time that the Hollow Tree had lived out its life, while others argued its importance as a cultural icon.

Hollow Tree plaque in Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C., Canada

The plaque says:

Hollow Tree plaque in Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C., Canada

The plaque says:

The Hollow Tree has been valued by generations of Vancouverites who have visited it, been photographed at it, and taken action to protect it.

The Hollow Tree has attracted residents and visitors since the earliest days of Stanley Park.  Having one's picture taken here - often seated in a vehicle backed into the tree - is a local tradition.  The tree is listed in the Vancouver Heritage Register and has been recognized as a valued cultural resource in Stanley Park National Historic Site.

Photos

Hollow Tree in Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Hollow Tree in Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Hollow Tree in Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Hollow Tree in Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Hollow Tree in Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Hollow Tree in Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Where is the Hollow Tree in Stanley Park?

The Hollow Tree Picnic Area is located on the west side of Stanley Park just off of Stanley Park Drive between Prospect Point and Third Beach.

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