- Written by Steph
One of my stranger hobbies is labyrinth walking and meditation. I’ve done it on and off for a couple of years, but have started getting much more into it in 2017. The process is simple – there’s one winding path that leads to the center of the labyrinth. You walk in, chill in the middle a bit, and follow the same path out. And somehow in the process, your mind clears, you feel peaceful, your questions get answered, and solutions to your problems appear. Pretty cool!
So how do you get in on this? Well, there are a bunch of them, all over the world, some thousands of years old. Here’s a handy website for finding one near you! They’re generally free, unless they’re part of a resort or historical site or something. For people in and around Vancouver, there are a few I’ve been to.
St. Paul’s Anglican Church
(not my picture – from their Facebook)
My “home labyrinth”! This is located in an old church in the West End. It’s open pretty frequently, but I prefer to go when they have live music once a month (soothing, meditative music, not rock bands or anything).
Strathcona Linear Park
This is a smaller one, outdoors, painted on concrete in a little park by Hawkes and Union. It seems to also double as a hockey rink. The area is mostly residential, so it is surprisingly quiet despite being in the middle of the city. It’s right along the Adanac bike route, so very easy to get to.
Renfrew Ravine Park
I just discovered this one yesterday, and it might just be my favourite! It’s in a forest, with lots of bird chirping and brook bubbling to listen to while you meditate. It actually felt like it was alive, which I haven’t felt at any of the other labyrinths I’ve been to. I really admired the work that went into this, because someone would have had to individually place each one of those stones. I wonder if they got it right the first time, or kept screwing up and having to redo it. It’s just a few blocks away from the 29th Avenue SkyTrain, so pretty accessible.
Finally, the first photo I posted was a quick snapshot from a trip to Sechelt. If you’re out on the Sunshine Coast and want to do some labyrinthing, St. Hilda’s Church painted a labyrinth in their parking lot, and it was surprisingly quiet despite being right in the middle of town. I imagine you’d probably want to avoid going at the same time as church services, but otherwise it seems to be always open.
I’m actively labyrinth hunting these days, so I hope to discover many more great spots over the next two months, leading up to my pilgrimage to Chartres, France (the birthplace of the Chartres-style labyrinth) at the end of our summer vacation. If you know of any others around the Vancouver area, please comment below and let me know – I’d love to visit!