Burnaby had its colonial beginnings in the mid-1800s when the area was first surveyed and colonized in 1859 by Robert Burnaby during the gold rush. In those days, residents lived mostly in log cabins and on fruit farms. It wasn’t until the late 1800s, with the arrival of a tram line between Vancouver and Burnaby, that the area began to grow and urbanize.
There are few Burnaby artifacts from the 1800s left and snippets can be found in Burnaby Village; however, the park is designed to look like the 1920s. There’s a Blacksmith’s shop where you can learn how to make coat hooks out of iron. There are houses to wander, stores to peruse, a train to sit on, and interesting things in every nook and cranny … everything you’d expect to see in a historical village. The pièce de résistance is a fully restored and working 1912 C.W. Parker Carousel.
When we arrived at the carousel, it was just before lunch and few kids were there to ride so we got an extra turn. The horses are simply beautiful and if you go to the Heritage Burnaby website, you will find details about each individual horse. Niña’s favourite was a black armoured horse named Valiant. With its battle armour, running stance, and gilded saddle, it looked like the perfect horse for a little warrior.
Rides are accompanied by music from a grand 1925 Wurlitzer organ. It gives the experience a very 1920s steam-punk circus feel.
In my opinion, this is one of Vancouver’s best-kept secrets. Gate admission is free and the park is not overly crowded. Visit the park in the morning and Deer Lake in the afternoon and you’ve got a great day out!