Best of Vancouver 2012 contributors' picks: Recreation
For the Georgia Straight’s 17th annual Best of Vancouver issue, our editorial team has spent months on the lookout for good deeds, weird urban details, and various howlers to highlight. Here’s our contributors’ picks for Best of Vancouver 2012.
Best place to turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream
Hillcrest Aquatic Centre
4575 Clancy Loranger Way
Sometimes when the phone is ringing off the hook, the baby is crying, and your dogs are barking, all you want is to get away from it all. And what’s better than a good soak, being carried away on a gentle current, without a care in the world? It can happen, without travelling to some exotic resort, in the “Lazy River” feature at the Hillcrest Aquatic Centre, the largest pool facility in town. Just make your way to the east end of the indoor pool and you’ll find a metre-deep circular stream to gently whisk you away from the workaday world. Floating, you will find, can be therapeutic—but just be sure to get your therapy early, as it can get crowded, especially when school’s out.
Best la-di-da park in East Van
Currently hemmed in by grain elevators, the Second Narrows Bridge, and a spaghetti tangle of roadways, New Brighton Park was once the choice destination of colonial New Westminster society. In the summer of 1865, genteel and well-to-do citizens drove their horse-drawn carriages along newly opened Douglas Road to the seaside on the south shore of Burrard Inlet for picnics on the white sands and to bathe in the pristine waters. In August of that year, the Brighton Hotel was built, with beautiful grounds and walks and a floating wharf for day excursions by steamboat from the Royal City.
Best new budget travel option
Long a fixture in the Eastern U.S., BoltBus arrived in the Pacific Northwest in May, suddenly making cross-border bus travel a whole lot easier for the car-free set. Two words we love: fast and cheap. The coach travels direct between Vancouver and Seattle, then, after a short break, on to Portland, and it costs as little as $2 if you play your cards right. But even the regular fares for this Greyhound-operated brand are reasonable, and perks such as free onboard Wi-Fi and free bike transport make the journey easier. Now if the service would just expand to Whistler…
Best place to act like a hyper five-year-old
Hive Climbing Centre
520 Industrial Avenue
There’s something about restraint-free climbing and minimal supervision that seems like it would activate every mother’s danger sensors. However, when the Hive Climbing Centre combines it with a soft landing surface and a slide that you have to climb a small wall just to access, it also amounts to a heck of a fun day. And for the bargain price of $16.50 (for an adult dropping in during the day), it also adds up to an affordable way to get some exercise. So go ahead and run around like you just downed an entire case of Pixy Stix. Your inner child will thank you, even if your hands and knees probably won’t.