Cates (Whey-ah-wichen) Park

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This large seaside park near Deep Cove has it all: long shoreline for splashing, swimming or beach combing (and taking in the views!), two playgrounds, a seasonal concession stand and paddling centre with rentals, lots of grass to picnic or play ball games, a “castle” and shaded trails for walking in the forest.  The park is in the heart of Tsleil-Waututh Nation territory, and there is a cultural planning and cooperation agreement between the District of Vancouver and Tsleil-Waututh Nation, for whom the park holds cultural and spiritual significance.

ACCESS AND FACILITIES

The park stretches from Dollarton Highway to the water, bordering with Cates Landing development in the west and Sea Shell Lane in the northeast.  The northeast part of the park is often called Little Cates Park.  There are washrooms, both at the main Cates Park area as well as at Little Cates, picnic tables, lots of benches, and a covered picnic shelter.  While there is ample parking within Cates Park, it does fill up quickly on nice sunny summer weekends, so plan accordingly.  The seaside trail (Malcolm Lowry), connecting the two open grass areas of the park is flat, hard packed dirt and stroller friendly.  In the summer, there is a concession stand and paddling centre where you can rent kayaks or paddle boards.  If your kids are a bit older, then Takaya Tours also runs group tours out of Cates Park.

THE PARK

At the main Cates Park entrance area, you’ll be surrounded by grass fields and the beach.  You can pick any access point to get to the beach or explore the large fields and go warm up on the playground.  The concession stand is near the water.  Heading east of the concession stand, you can visit a First Nations traditionally made canoe and totem pole.

Next to the totem, you’ll see a trail entrance.  A few different trails run parallel to the shoreline, with Malcolm Lowry trail the closest to the water.  You can walk the short path (~700m) all the way to the northeast end of the park (Little Cates), which features another large grass field, playground, and picnic facilities.  An unusual feature of Little Cates is “the castle”: the concrete remains of the foundation of a waste burner of an old lumber mill.  With its several entrances and sturdy walls it’s popular with small kids for all kinds of imaginative play.  For your walk back to Cates main area, you can retrace your steps or walk a bit east on Sea Shell Lane, past the pickle ball courts, and pick up a parallel trail back to complete a loop.