"Dandy Park," my brother called it when he was a little boy and unable to pronounce Stanley Park. It's a perfect misnomer for this downtown...

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VANCOUVER, B.C. — “Dandy Park,” my brother called it when he was a little boy and unable to pronounce Stanley Park.

It’s a perfect misnomer for this downtown Vancouver park, one of the world’s most entrancing urban parks.

I spent a day in Stanley Park this past weekend, walking the six-mile Seawall path that encircles its shoreline and strolling forest paths to the teardrop Beaver Lake (lots of ducks, no beavers in sight) in the heart of the thousand-acre park.

To make it easier for Seattle Times readers to explore Vancouver — including Stanley Park — and other West Coast cities, Travel is offering online interactive maps of Vancouver and Victoria, B.C., and soon maps of Portland and Seattle, at seattletimes.com/travel. Each map highlights 10 of my favorite places in each city, with links for more information.

Stanley Park likely will be in the top 10 for most visitors since it has something for everyone, from walking/biking/jogging paths to children’s playgrounds; a miniature train; and the Vancouver Aquarium, where snow-white beluga whales frolic.

I headed to another of my top-10 places this past weekend, the Vancouver Art Gallery. It’s a perfect rainy-day destination, a place to get a glimpse of British Columbia’s art history and cutting-edge present.

The museum is housed in what was once the provincial courthouse, an imposing 1906 building of stone, columns and a grand circular staircase. Courtrooms have been transformed into art galleries and, while far smaller than the Seattle Art Museum, it offers an evocative collection of 20th-century Canadian landscape paintings, especially of the beloved B.C. painter Emily Carr. Temporary exhibits often focus on historic and contemporary photography, for which Vancouver is becoming well-known.

Kristin Jackson: kjackson@seattletimes.com or 206-464-2271.

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