Best of the City 2011: Full Day Activities

A Tour de Vancouver

Rent a retro cruiser from Denman Bike Shop (710 Denman St., 604-685-9755) and meander along the seawall all the way to the Olympic Village. Refuelling stops are many along the seven-kilometre route. Once there: get your
photo taken under Myfanwy MacLeod’s massive The Birds sculpture. 

Run Away to Sea

Rent a 17-foot speedboat from Sewell’s Marina in Horseshoe Bay on a hot day, drive it out behind Gambier Island, watch the harbour seals play, and drink cheap cans of beer (light, of course). Guaranteed best day of the summer. 604-921-3474. 

A Wall of Wonder

Hop on your 10-speed, pack some vegan pakora in the rat-trap, and fire up Google Maps. The Eastside Mural Project is a self-guided tour of four pieces of community-based art influenced by events, individuals, and narratives from the neighbourhood. The walls of Fratelli’s Bakery, the Russian Hall, Koo’s Produce, and the Britannia Gym have been reinvented as primal urban tableaux. 

Plant a Cherry on Top

Order a cherry tree online. To celebrate the city’s 125 anniversary, the sixth annual Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (March 26 to April 22) is offering 3,000 trees for $40 a pop to be planted in private properties around the city. Order before March 29. 

A Day of Naked Bliss

Our world-class city has its own world-class nude beach. Wreck Beach, the city’s westernmost sandy outcrop, is vintage Vancouver at its best. July 16 marks the 30th annual Wreck Beach Day, and fourth annual Body Acceptance Day. Enter the Body Acceptance Machine as a “textile” and emerge in all your natural glory. Build a sand castle in the all-together, but watch out for rogue sand! Pack a $20 bill in your birthday suit for the specialty baked goods.

An Island Safari

Come September, let an experienced Homalco First Nation guide escort you within feet of relaxed grizzly bears. An eight-hour tour includes private floatplane rides to Oxford River and back again, with a gourmet lunch at the Relais & Chateaux restaurant on Sonora Island thrown into the mix. $450 per person, plus flight. Sonora Resort, 604-233-0460. 

A Dainty Menace

Visit Stanley Park at the start of June, when the lilies are cracking open on Beaver Lake. Then lament their gorgeous destruction. Those lilies are invasive and are slowly turning Beaver Lake into a marsh. The park board just set aside $100,000 to kickstart efforts to save the lake from the plague. 

Go Eat It on the Mountain

Wondering where to go for lunch? Nosh on a glacier. For $275, your seat is booked on a one-hour seaplane ride to a secret alpine lake. Work up an appetite clambering over the white stuff, then pop a cork and toast your good fortune. Picnic lunch is $50 extra. 

Eat Shoots and Leaves

Beneath the plush canopy of the North Shore mountains is a harvest of wild and edible delicacies. Forage for chanterelles, matsutake, and porcini mushrooms with Swallow Tail Tours chef Robin Kort, who will inspire you with ways to prepare your harvest. Or, if you prefer to be treated, Kort also offers a secret supper soiree where you’re chaperoned around to mystery dining rooms for the most distinguished canapés and wines, such as onion tart deglazed with Chardonnay Musque. 604-709-3275. 

Take the Boho Express

Take a weekend in early October to experience The Drift, an art walk and open studio tour on Main Street showcasing over 80 artists and more than 60 venues. 604-731-6890.

A Crafty Booking

If you’re feeling crafty, spice up your library at Blim’s bookbinding workshop, taught by Emily Carr grad Katrina Dombsky. Learn techniques for hand-sewn book covers and turn that dusty old Dostoevsky or Hemingway volume into a shiny new art object. Book covers, paper, and ribbon are provided. You can also rent out the space for private crafting events. 115 East Pender St., 604-872-8180.