Ready for a B.C. road trip?
Hunt for treasure in Victoria
You’ll find 300 antiquities from London’s British Museum on display at the Royal B.C. Museum until September 30. The Treasures exhibition encompasses cultural achievements across time and civilizations. Highlights include a 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy, ancient gold jewellery, and art by Picasso, Renoir, and Matisse. Admission is $27.50 for adults; $18.50 for youth, seniors, and students; and free for kids five and under.
Make tracks at Whistler
Experienced mountain bikers won’t blink at the steep drops and jumps at the Whistler Mountain Bike Park. But newbies needn’t count themselves out of the action—they can ease into things with Bike Park 101, a guided introduction to the park on gentle terrain. The $99.95 cost gets you a three-hour lesson, a park ticket, and a dual-suspension bike rental.
Explore arts and crafts along the sunshine coast
Artists in laid-back Gibsons, Sechelt, and environs put out banners to welcome visitors to their studios. Pick up a brochure detailing the self-guided Purple Banner tour of the workshops of participating painters, potters, woodworkers, and more at Tourism B.C. info centres, or find it at www.suncoastarts.com/. Or, head for Gibsons between August 19 and 22 for the Gibsons Landing Fibre Arts Festival, which offers workshops that range from knitting to making driftwood furniture, as well as displays and sales of textiles and related crafts.
Cruise the Thompson Okanagan
It may not be a VW van, but a Wicked Camper can bring that hippie freedom to a road trip. These gussied-up Chevy Astros sleep two and are kitted out with kitchens. There’s a four-day minimum rental period over the summer high season, when the campers go for about $89 per day. Consider renting one in Vancouver and tooling around the Thompson Okanagan on an Ogopogo quest to Kelowna’s Okanagan Lake. See hellobc.com/tota.
Browse the market on Salt Spring
Every Saturday until the end of October, Centennial Park in Ganges is fun central with the Salt Spring Island Saturday market. Buy local greens to cook up for dinner, pick out bread and cheese for a picnic, or just indulge in some fresh fudge or organic berries. The market’s “homespun guarantee” means vendors must “make it, bake it, or grow it”. Handmade soaps, arts and crafts, and live music add to the enjoyment.
Soak up the Kootenays
At the south end of Kootenay National Park in front of a mountainous backdrop is Radium Hot Springs, a village with an obvious claim to fame. The scenic, large outdoor-pool complex welcomes families (entry for the clan is $19.10) for hot and cold dips. The pools are mineral-rich and have temperatures ranging from 37 ° C to 40 ° C.
Feast in Kelowna
Following the success of FarmFolk/CityFolk’s Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island Feast of Fields, the Okanagan debuts its own event this summer. Okanagan Feast of Fields takes place on August 23 at Summerland’s Valentine Farm. Wander the farm with a glass and meet chefs, farmers, vintners, and brewers—and taste their wares, of course. Buy $75 early-bird tickets before July 1 at www.feastoffields.com/.
Paddle the Cariboo
Outside magazine rates the 116-kilometre Bowron Lakes circuit as one of the top-10 canoe circuits in the world. (Bowron Lake Provincial Park is 90 minutes east of Quesnel.) It’s a trip for the skilled, prepped, and buff, but if you’re not there yet, the region offers plenty of other canoeing and kayaking opportunities.
Chill at Harrison Hot Springs
The lakeside village of Harrison Hot Springs celebrates its 60th birthday this year with a spiffed-up waterfront plaza. Although the annual sand-sculpture competition is no more, it’s still a great place to spend a vacation. However, unless you’re staying at the luxe Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa, don’t make the trip for the hot springs themselves. While the resort has beautiful indoor and outdoor mineral pools for guests, the town’s public indoor hot-springs pool (owned by the resort) is showing its age. Still, dip or no dip, Harrison makes for a nice, quick getaway just an hour and a half away from Vancouver. En route, stop in at the 60-metre-tall Bridal Veil Falls (on Highway 1, take Exit 135 east of Chilliwack) for visual refreshment.