Originally, Burnaby was filled with trees and wilderness, but by 1850, its earliest settlers had already begun to turn it into a well-populated suburb. These days, visitors to Burnaby will find a wide array of shopping centers, parks, and cultural and sporting events to enjoy, and those coming from nearby Vancouver can reach Burnaby via the SkyTrain in less than 20 minutes.
In Burnaby's city's centre, the Metropolis at Metrotown is the largest shopping mall in British Columbia and the second largest in all of Canada. It has more than 450 individual shops, as well as a 10-screen movie theatre and two public courtyards; the mall's food court seats more than 1000 patrons and provides stunning views of the North Shore Mountains.
Burnaby tourists who would rather enjoy the fresh air will find more than 130 different parks from which to choose. For instance, roughly 10 minutes east of the city centre, the Barnet Marine Park offers a chance to swim, kayak or stroll along the calm shore of the Burrard Inlet; toward the northeast, Deer Lake Park features more than 37,000 plants and bulbs in its Century Gardens. Deer Lake visitors can rent boats and canoes, hike through a multitude of trails and view wildlife, or sample Pacific Northwest cuisine at the park's Hart House Restaurant, a favorite destination for locals.
Adjacent to Deer Lake Park, several venues offer cultural opportunities throughout the year. The Burnaby Art Gallery hosts an ever-changing series of contemporary art exhibits, while at the multi-purpose Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, visitors can catch a play in the James Cowan Theatre or the Studio Theatre, take a dance class, purchase artwork, or have a cup of coffee at the on-site Encores café. The Burnaby Village Museum, which has its own working carousel, presents exhibitions of archival sound recordings, the re-creation of a historical one-room schoolhouse, a vintage tram barn and more.
Burnaby has five golf courses, including the popular Burnaby Mountain Golf Course. About 15 minutes northeast of Deer Lake Park, this course features a driving range with heated stalls, a full-service pro shop, and a 72-par, 18 hole course that can be completed in about four hours. Eagle Creek Bar and Restaurant offers catering and special event services, as well as pub food and sporting-event screenings.
Diners who would like to venture off the course for their eats and escape the crowded atmosphere of the Metropolis's food court, The Hop and Vine Tap House across from Burnaby Mountain is a great place to stop for one of 16 draught beers, a large selection of wines, and an east-meets-west menu. Locals looking for an ethnic flair enjoy Balkan House, south of Deer Lake Park, where they can order shishkebabs, schnitzels, and other Eastern European fare. Green Basil, across from the Metropolis, is a cosy respite after a long day and a favourite place for Thai cuisine; their menu includes many traditional spicy curries, speciality martinis and cocktails, and satay options for everyone's palate.