COVER STORY: 10 Things to do this summer
1) Get Bowled Over — NORTH SHORE BOWL
Ah, bocce, a favourite leisurely — and sometimes fervent — pastime of older Italian gents.
On a warm summer evening why not gather some friends together for a round of bocce at Boulevard Park? Afterwards, skip over a couple streets to Lonsdale Avenue and indulge at Brazza Gelato.
The West Vancouver Lawn Bowling Club (20th Street and Marine Drive) hosts open bowls for first-timers every Wednesday at 7 p.m. Here’s your chance to step onto greens saturated with history: organized lawn bowling in West Vancouver dates back to before the First World War. And how about indoor bowling? Because, let’s get real, there will be a few rainy days this summer.
On those occasions, surely the North Shore’s last standing bowling alley — North Shore Bowl — can brighten the mood. It offers the ultimate throwback to the ‘70s and ‘80s with disco bowling and glow-in-the-dark birthday party rooms. “Oh yeah, I’ve had that [disco bowling] since ‘99 and it was just as popular then as it is now,” says North Shore Bowl owner Richard Grubb.
For hours and pricing, visit northshorebowl.ca.
2) Go fish — NORTH SHORE
Experience urban angling at its best on the North Shore. Cast a line from the shores of the mighty Capilano River — teeming with chinook and coho salmon from now until late fall. A prime access point is downstream from the Capilano River Hatchery where a network of trails branch off towards the water.
Or head to Horseshoe Bay and try trolling for myriad salmon species in Howe Sound. The boating specialists at Sewell’s Marina (www.sewellsmarina.com) can set you up with a fishing charter, leaving you to sit back and focus on finding that elusive big fish.
Amateur anglers might have better luck at Rice Lake – a well-stocked, serene fishing hole in the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve, cradled by a lush forest of Douglas fir and western red cedar trees. Reeling in the rainbow trout off the elongated dock at tranquil Rice Lake is a summer tradition for many families.
A map with directions to Rice Lake is available online at metrovancouver.org. Remember to pack a valid B.C. freshwater fishing license.
3) Oceanside eats — PIER 7
LoLo’s PIER 7 restaurant has taken al fresco dining to a whole new level in North Vancouver – two levels, in fact – boasting a pair of new patios just a stone's throw from the ocean.
From your seat at this summer’s most buzzed-about haunt, prepare to feast your eyes on the sweeping 180-degree views of the Vancouver skyline and the adjacent bustling port. Perfectly paired with the vistas is the West Coast-inspired menu, of course.
The PIER 7 tower is a must-try: Dungeness crab, oysters, prawns, tuna tataki and chilled mussels; add lobster if you are feeling extra indulgent. PIER 7 executive chef Dino Renaerts – he’s been at the helm of some of Vancouver’s finest dining establishments – has crafted yet another well-honed wine and libation list. Calling all SeaBus commuters: detour to PIER 7’s lively bar at least once this summer and unwind with ginger sangria or a dark & stormy – and a dazzling sunset.
Afterwards, a stroll in Shipbuilders’ Square is a natural aperitif. More info: pierseven.ca.
4) Raise your workout bar — BAR METHOD IN WEST VANCOUVER
Graceful sweating – it’s the latest celebrity workout craze known as The Bar Method.
But be forewarned: this isn’t your ordinary prance around the studio. And, yes, you will become hooked. West Vancouver is home to one of only two Bar Methods in Canada. This ballet-inspired, one-hour workout incorporates stretching, weights and barre exercises. As simple as that sounds, the movements are small but intense, and muscle shaking is almost guaranteed. Sculpted arms, flat abs, a lifted seat and elongated thighs will be your reward. That is if you can tune out your inner Black Swan demons.
West Vancouver Bar Method owner Carolyn Williams explains why she feels spoiled to have found this exercise. “I think the biggest thing is that it works and you feel your body getting stronger,” she says. “It wasn’t an exercise I felt I could plateau in.”
The Ambleside studio offers a spa-like experience with neutral colours and a large airy studio that looks out to the ocean. For $80, new clients can have unlimited access to The Bar Method for a month. More info: west-vancouver.barmethod.com.
5) Listen to the crickets — NORGATE FIELD
Tales of war and other strife often overshadow the camaraderie that exists between nations. Turn off the TV on Sundays and catch a harmonious blending of sport and cultures. It’s called cricket, and it’s been a staple at Norgate Park in North Vancouver since 1954. Matches run Saturday and Sunday afternoons between noon-6:30 p.m., leaving the window for cricket watching wide open.
This civilized sport also sees players break for a spot of tea midway through the game. Just be sure to bone up on the rules before you head to the pitch, as cricket can be confusing to the lay spectator.
“The game demands many skills — certainly athleticism and stamina — but also quite a bit of strategy and so is very enjoyable to watch for both new and experienced observers,” says Rajiv Jhangiani, president of the North Shore Cricket Club.
Just across Capilano Road, also on the weekends, expats from Zimbabwe, South Africa, England, New Zealand, East India and Pakistan converge at Hugo Ray Park, home of the West Vancouver Cricket Club and a licensed clubhouse where Jamaican patties and pies are among the offerings.
6) Adolescent Adrenaline — NORTH VANCOUVER
School’s out for the summer! It’s time for teens to blow off some steam. We’re lucky on the North Shore to have natural amusement at our doorstep, and where owning a mountain bike is a local birthright.
So pick a mountain, any mountain – Seymour, Cypress, Fromme – and get riding. Your kids could also be climbing the walls this summer – in a good way.
There are 15,000 square feet of rock climbing combinations inside The Edge Climbing Centre in North Vancouver. Check out edgeclimbing.com for more information.
There are other adrenaline-packed activities for those keen on keeping their feet planted on the ground. If you’re 12 years old, congratulations, you have met North Shore Paintball’s (nspaintball.ca) basic requirement. But it might be handy to have some sleuthing skills in your back pocket to avoid being the first one pummeled by paint. Relax, moms, the paints are non-toxic: they are water and vegetable oil-based. Who knew?
And tucked away in a business park off Dollarton Highway is Laserdome Plus (laserdome.net) where high-tech hide-and-seek happens. Are you up off the couch yet?
7) Take a hike — NORTH SHORE
Weren’t one of the 262 diehard runners picked in the Knee Knackering race lottery this year?
The annual 48-km foot race along the Baden-Powell Centennial Trail from Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove is July 14. However, you have the entire summer to explore the North Shore’s most celebrated and trampled trail.
The terrain is varied: there are majestic mountain peaks to climb and tranquil streams to meander alongside.
At the western end of the trail, Black Mountain summit (3940 ft.) in Cypress Provincial Park is the highest point in the hike.
Beautifully condensed Baden Powell Trail experiences include Lynn Canyon Park, and Deep Cove’s Quarry Rock – where the trail culminates with a spectacular burst of scenery on a high bluff overlooking Indian Arm.
To keep you on the right path, there are bright orange, diamond-shaped markers attached to trees.
If you are ambitious enough to hike long sections of the trail make sure you know what you are signing up for before lacing those hiking boots.
Be sure to check North Shore Rescue’s website for the 10 essentials to pack for a trek in the trails: northshorerescue.com/education/what-to-bring.
8) Celebrate First Nations culture — NORTH SHORE
Takaya Tours (takayatours.com) offers a guided ancestral journey along the Indian Arm coastline by canoe or kayak. Guides from the Coast Salish Nation sing songs, tell legends and point out ancient village sites.
First Nations art tells a colourful story. Visiting the Khot-La-Cha Art Gallery and Gift Shop (khot-la-cha.com) is an experience in itself. Traditional masks, prints, gold and silver jewelry, wood carvings, textiles and clothing – many produced by local First Nation artists – are displayed in a distinctive longhouse-style building.
Grouse Mountain will host a Uniquely B.C. Adventures day camp every Friday this summer. Kids spend the day with a Squamish Nation elder who will lead the group in song, arts and crafts, and storytelling in the Hiwus Feasthouse, situated on the shores of Blue Grouse Lake.
Call Grouse Mountain guest services for more information: 604-980-9311.
9) Check out a splashy event — NORTH SHORE WINTER CLUB
Usually, you don’t hope for an event to flop. But this is an exception.
On July 7, the World Championship Belly Splash 2012 takes place at the North Shore Winter Club. Expect campy costumes, funny team names (The Four Flying Wedgies, for example) big splashes and over-the-top fun.
“A lot of fabulous entertainment,” said event producer Pat Riccardi, who has been putting on bellyflop competitions as way back as the 1970s, when he started at the Bayshore Hotel and then later moved to North Vancouver’s Coach House pool.
Most importantly, the splashy event is a fundraiser for Autism Society of B.C. and the C.H.I.L.D. Foundation. Celebrity judges will score the splashers and cannonballers on categories that include wildest costume, form and splash, best mid-air pose, team formation, board approach, style, water entrance and splash height.
And the pool isn’t the only place you’ll find the action: there will also be prizes, an auction, 50/50 draw and halftime entertainment.
The event goes July 7 at noon at the North Shore Winter Club pool. For info, go to bellysplash.com.
10) Fly high — GROUSE MOUNTAIN
Tired of seeing things from street level? Of course you are!
This summer, get a new perspective on things with new heli tours offered by Grouse Mountain and Blackcomb Aviation.
“Grouse Mountain is constantly seeking new ways to enhance outdoor experiences for visitors and locals alike,” said Grouse Mountain general manager Michael Cameron.
“Blackcomb Aviation’s deep ties to the Sea-to-Sky community together with their longstanding reputation for safe, service-focused flight tours will help us showcase our unique natural surroundings in new and imaginative ways.”
Those interested in taking a heli tour have a handful of options for their trip. The Crown Mountain tour, for instance, takes travellers to the peaks of Crown and Goat mountains, while the Coastal Scenic Tour showcases the North Shore mountains, English Bay, Stanley Park and downtown Vancouver.
“Grouse Mountain Resort is a unique four season destination known the world over for its spectacular natural setting and wide range of services and activities,” commented Sacha McLean, CEO of Blackcomb Aviation.
“Our mandate is twofold – to provide the most diverse, well-priced range of sightseeing tours possible and to make every guest’s flight experience a memorable one.”
The tours started June 1 and will end for the season on Sept. 30. Trips start at 11 a.m. and run until dusk seven days a week, weather permitting. To book a trip, or get more information, call 604-980-9311 or visit blackcombaviation.com. Some tours require pre-booking and passenger minimums do apply.