If you don’t already know, Friday marks Canada’s 149th birthday. Throughout the country, cities will host vibrant celebrations that include parades, concerts, face painting, fireworks and even bacon, maple syrup and cake, though hopefully not altogether.
These events are fantastic opportunities to get out in your community and toast our great country. As awesome as these celebrations are, they can also be hot, crowded and overwhelming. There are plenty of other ways to celebrate our great nation that don’t involve food trucks, lawn chairs and waiting in ridiculously long lines with screaming children. Here are seven epic outdoorsy ways to say “Happy Birthday” to our country in BC. Don't forget your flannel!
1. Go on a River Float
The Penticton Channel may be the most well-known spot in BC for a river float, but this also makes it the busiest on hot summer days. We recommend floating the Shuswap River, near Enderby, instead. The slowest and safest route is to float from Belvidere Park to Tuey Park, which takes about one and a half hours. Afterwards, swing by the Starlight Drive-In to catch one of their nightly double-features. This Canada Day they’re showing “The Angry Birds Movie” and “Central Intelligence.” Gates open at 8 p.m. and the movie starts at 9:30 p.m.
2. Go on a sunrise hike
Chasing Sunrise & Adam Nagy
Last Canada Day, the inspiring community “Chasing Sunrise” took a group of keen individuals on a sunrise hike up Mount Seymour. At the summit, the group of 350+ sang “Oh Canada." This year, grab your hiking buddies and find a mountain to conquer. Sunrise is at 5:11 a.m; last year they begun the climb at 3:30 a.m. This year they're starting at 2:30 a.m.
3. Go for a trail ride
Kevin Teague flickr.com/photos/kteague CC by 2.0
The Trans Canada Trail is aiming to stretch across the entire country by Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017. Show your support for this great initiative by hitting the trail on horseback, on a bicycle or on foot. For more about the TCT, including nearby jumping-on points, click here.
4. Plan a neighbourhood street hockey game
FHFF flickr.com/photos/fiveholeforfood CC by 2.0
There are few things more Canadian than hockey. Whether you choose to have a competitive, adults-only match (loser buys the beer), or watch the kids play, street hockey is a great way to get outside and show our national pride.
5. Have a backyard family BBQ
Mack Male flickr.com/photos/mastermaq CC by SA 2.0
You don’t have to leave your house to celebrate with those closest to you. Throw some all-Canadian meat on the grill and share stories about why you love our country. Bonus points if you marinate in maple syrup!
6. Go paddling
Alison Karlene Hodgins
Just like our forefathers who travelled around in birch-bark canoes, you can express your Canadian-ness by paddling a vessel into the sea. If you’re around Vancouver, Deep Cove Kayak is open for rentals from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Making your reservation in advance is highly recommended.
7. Go camping
Michael Lawton flickr.com/photos/mikethemountain CC by SA 2.0
One of Canada’s biggest draws is its nature. Experience the outdoors on a canoe-camping trip, or hike to a secluded spot in the backcountry to get the most of Canada’s great outdoors. Ensure your group is prepared (check out suggestions on Explore magazine) before heading out.
How are you celebrating Canada Day?
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