Vancouver Summer: Ten Tips for Making the Most of It

With summer (hopefully) upon us, it’s time to start thinking about how we can make the most of the short season.

While most Vancouverites cram their schedules with the usual activities, like hiking the Grind, swimming at Kits pool, watching the fireworks, and kayaking our local waterways, there are a host of less well known activities that can help add some flair to summer 2007.

Here are just a few:

Shall we dance?

DanceSport BC offers Robson Square Summertime Dance Series 2007 every Friday throughout the season. In its 28th year, this free event provides entertainment for all ages.

Take part in a free ballroom dance lesson, watch professionals in full costume glide across the square, and listen to a great mix of music, including both ballroom and social dance music. Participants and spectators alike are welcome. Visit www.dancesportbc.com for details.

Jump off a mountain
We all know the Grouse Grind is a favourite pastime among Vancouver locals. But have you ever thought of jumping off the mountain rather than taking the tram back down?

Not for the timid, Tandem Paragliding is available from the top of Grouse Mountain.

This exciting adventure runs May through September and will have you paired up with a professional paraglider who will have you soaring high above the treetops for a breathtaking view of the city.

See www.grousemountain.com for information or call Grouse Mountain Guest Services at 604-980-9311.

Be your own pirate

With the third in the Pirates of the Caribbean series passing through theatres this spring, many may be eager to experience their own pirate adventure.

Although it may not pack the same adrenaline raising encounters as the movie, volunteering to be a deckhand may be your only opportunity to get out on the high seas this summer.

Check your local marina for ads or post one of your own. Or, if you’re less into volunteering and more into commanding your own ship, go to www.bonnielee.com to inquire about renting your own boat.

Get a beach-ready body

CrossFit Westside offers outdoor classes this summer, Tuesday and Thursday evenings, as well as Saturday mornings. Let CrossFit trainers Jenika and Robyn show you how to increase your strength, stamina, and flexibility in a fun and friendly outdoor environment.

Different than your typical outdoor boot camp class, CrossFit will teach you the components of functional fitness, while burning off those last few pounds so you’ll be ready to peel off the layers and hit the beach. Each class is tailored to participants’ fitness levels, so it’s fun for all.

Checkout www.crossfitwestside.com for class times, prices, and location.

Make Vancouver a better place

If you’ve got a little extra time on your hands this summer, why not sign up for a fun and rewarding volunteer opportunity?

Many positions are available to help at special events throughout the summer. Special projects are also available for teams, so if your office or business is looking for a way to give back, this is the perfect opportunity. Hundreds of volunteer positions are listed at www.volunteervancouver.ca.

Spend some time in space

Throughout the summer, from about 9:00pm to midnight, the telescope at the University of British Columbia is available for public viewing. Let students and astronomers from the school’s Department of Physics and Astronomy show you the beauty of the night sky.

Admission is free but the viewing is only open when the skies are clear. Call 604-822-6186 to determine if the telescope is open and then see the website at www.astro.ubc.ca/telescope for details on location and parking.

Get it from the Garden

From now until early October, pick up local fruits and vegetables, food, and crafts direct from the source at three Vancouver farmers’ markets.
West End Farmer's Market: This market is open every Saturday from 9:30 to 2:00 at Nelson Park, which is located on Comox Street, between Bute and Thurlow.

East Vancouver Farmer's Market: This market is open every Saturday from 9:00 to 2:00 at Trout Lake Community Centre, which is located at 3350 Victoria Drive.

Riley Park at Nat Bailey Stadium: This market is only open on Wednesdays from 1:00 to 6:30.
See www.bcfarmersmarket.org/directory/vancouver for more information.

Go back in time

Saturdays throughout the summer, Gastown Business Improvement Society offers free afternoon walking tours of Gastown.

Historians dressed in period pieces will lead you through the neighbourhood, explaining the significance of particular points of interest and sharing the richness of Vancouver’s history.

Call the Gastown Business Improvement Society at 604-683-5650 or see their website at www.gastown.org for more information.

Get a new summer do

Summer is a particularly slow time for hair salons. Most clients get their look updated in late June and then hold off until September for a refresher.

That means July and August are often the months when stylists search out hair models upon whom they can practice new techniques. So for a fresh style for little to no cost, check out www.craigslist.com for ads for hair models or inquire at your local salon.

Slap on your skis

Waterskis, that is! Cove Watersports’s Wakeboard and Waterski School is located in Deep Cove and offers a fun and safe learning environment for everyone from the beginner to the experienced.

The school is open until October and has a multitude of packages available. Special classes are geared towards kids, women, the novice, and the seasoned rider. For more information, see their website at www.covewatersports.com.

Asja Major's stories are subject to copyright laws. Ask permission before reprinting.

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