"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, 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.

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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.