If you’re staying home this summer, consider taking a “day” vacation in a neighbouring community.
Kayak around Bowen
We’re all supposed to stop and smell the roses, right? Well how about slowing down and taking in all the sights that we rush past in our daily routine?
This summer adventure begins with taking the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Bowen Island. The ride is only 20 minutes but it takes you to another world. You arrive in Snug Cove with the Union Steamship Company Marina to port and the Bowen Island Marina to starboard. Sailors will be tempted to turn left to explore the boats at the USSC Marina but those who want to get out on the water under their own steam should turn right. That’s where they’ll find Bowen Island Sea Kayaking. If it’s your first time being out in ocean waters, you can sign up for lessons or get a guided tour, including a sunset or full moon package.
For the dogs
It’s a lot of fun for seniors… senior dogs that is, says Sheena Trenholm.
Sam, a mastiff/chocolate lab mix, sits down in the sand before placing his large head on her knee.
He’s 12 years old, but when a young pointer rushes by with three golden retrievers in pursuit, Sam proves he’s still got gas in his tank.
“We got a hot item on the beach,” Trenholm says with a laugh as Sam joins the high speed game of tag.
Trenholm operates a dog walking service called Urban Dog. When she’s caring for dogs that can’t hack the North Shore’s mountain trails she usually ends up here at Ambleside’s dog park. The park’s paths are easy on the joints for both four-legged and two-legged creatures, she says. There’s the sandy beach, ocean and lots of logs to sit on.
In fact, Ambleside dog park is fun for everyone – senior dogs, puppies, dog owners and dog lovers.
Ambleside dog park is located at Marine Drive and 13th Street in West Vancouver.
Park it at Cypress Bowl
There is nothing quite like it, Larry Syroishko says.
On one side there is the loop through a subalpine bog community, while on the other side stand 150’ tall old growth trees. Both are wheelchair and stroller accessible.
“I don’t know anywhere else you can do that,” the North Shore supervisor for BC Parks says.
What he is talking about is Yew Lake Trail, a two-kilometre low-grade loop that meanders through an alpine lake system in Cypress Provincial Park. Several information signs highlight the area and it is not uncommon to see squirrels and curious birds along the path. If your lucky, you may even spot a mountain goat, Syroishko notes.
“They come from the north. They’re just visitors,” he says.
In August the wildflowers are blooming and the snow should all be melted, Syroishko notes.
For those seeking a more adventurous hike, the Howe Sound Crest Trail offers a lot of variety – from the reconstructed two-kilometre hike from Yew Lake Trail to the Bowen Lookout to a three-day trek to Porteau. The trail passes three lakes and there are four camping sites along the way.
“It is very strenuous. You will be challenged for sure,” Syroishko says, noting the views are spectacular.
Access to both these trails is from the parking at Cypress Bowl by the main information kiosk, located in front of the downhill ski lodge.
For more information visit www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/BCParks100/ and click on Find A Park.
Paddle up Indian Arm
Nestled at the base of Mount Seymour along the pristine waters of Indian Arm, Deep Cove is one of the North Shore’s not-so-secret jewels.
For decades the coastal community has been a haven for outdoorsy types eager to hop in a canoe or hike the Baden Powell Trail, but in recent years a new activity has also been making ripples – stand-up paddleboarding.
Enthusiasts will tell you the sport, which uses long paddles and a surf board, is the closest one can come to walking on water. But don’t just take their word for it.
This summer Deep Cove Kayaks is offering introductory lessons to help beginners master fundamentals such as stance, form, and ocean safety.
Once you have the basics down, there are a number of more advanced courses, as well as paddling groups and weekly races.
For more info on rentals and lessons, including dates and prices, visit www.deep
covekayak.com or call 604-929-2268.
Take in a summer festival
Nothing says summer like a fun-filled festival, and this year there will be no shortage on the North Shore.
SummerFest, the North Shore’s Waterfront Festival, will also bring children’s entertainment, dance classes, farmers’ markets and live concerts to Lonsdale Quay ever weekend this summer until September (www.lonsdalequay.com).
Across the Capilano River, West Vancouver’s Harmony Arts Festival will run from July 29 to Aug. 7 at locations along the waterfront.
For more than two decades this North Shore celebration of the arts has included everything from studio tours, art markets and live demonstrations, to film screenings and concerts by some of Canada’s hottest acts. (www.harmonyarts.ca).
Feel like you’re standing on top of the world this summer with a visit to Grouse Mountain’s newest attraction – The Eye of the Wind.
Take an elevator ride up the mountain’s 20-storey high wind turbine to a glass bubble with breathtaking 360-degree views of the Coastal Mountains, the evergreen forests, the shimmering waters of the Burrard Inlet, and the skyscrapers of downtown Vancouver.
The Eye of the Wind offers guests the unique opportunity to stand inside an active wind turbine as its three massive blades woosh by your window.
The attraction opened to the public last summer at its mountaintop location, 1,231 metres (4,039 feet) above the city.
Tours of the tower are $25, but can be bundled with general admission to Grouse Mountain. So why not make a day of it? Take a hike, watch the lumberjack show, go for a chairlift ride, and visit the grizzly bear refuge.
For more info, including hours of operation and prices, visit www.grousemountain.com.
The tide is high
During high tide, Whyte Islet Park is an island. But when the tide goes down, it’s a beautiful place for a picnic. Just make sure you’ve had dessert by the time the tide comes back up again or you’ll be staying the night.
The islet is part of Whytecliff Park west of Horseshoe Bay. It overlooks a quiet bay where novice scuba divers often like to get their feet wet. There’s lots to explore without having to go down the depths of the Howe Sound.
If you want to know more about the tides, and when it’s safe to cross, Sewell Marine in Horseshoe Bay has a handy tide chart.
A bridge(s) too far
They’re North Shore tourist institutions, but if you haven’t walked across the Capilano or Lynn Canyon suspension bridges then this is your summer to do it.
This year, the Capilano Suspension – the oldest visitor attraction in the Vancouver area – will be offering a new exhibit, Raptors Ridge Birds of Prey. It features an educational look at a host of different birds. Don’t worry, they won’t be flying on site.
The main attraction this summer is Cliffwalk – a platform jutting out from the cliff face, providing visitors with a bird’s-eye view from 70 metres above the canyon.
More info at www.capbridge.com/
For those looking to satisfy their bridge-fix on a more regular basis, the free-of-charge Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is the place to be.
Located in the heart of North Vancouver, the Lynn Canyon bridge offers more than just spectacular views. East of the bridge is Twin Falls, a less popular tourist spot, but perfect for anyone looking for a quiet place to sit and relax.
A short walk on the north side of the bridge is 30-foot pool, a popular choice among hikers and tourists. Looking for a quick swim to cool off when the warm weather finally arrives? Want to shake off the rust from a long night on the patio? If so, then this is place. But take heed, the water is cold – very cold – year round.
More info at http://lynncanyon.ca