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Vancouver Mom > For Kids > Play > Nine quintessential Canadian activities to do this summer

Nine quintessential Canadian activities to do this summer

Summer’s here, and Canada Day weekend puts us all in the mood for some quintessentially Canuck action. We’ve gathered up some iconic Canadian activities you can do close to home from Canada Day events to jumping in a lake or paddling a canoe.

Celebrate Canada’s Birthday!


Dig out the red and white and get your Canuck on this Canada Day. Yes, we’re a year older, and it’s not as exciting as last year when we all learned the word sesquicentennial, but it’s a day to unapologetically celebrate our unique place in the world as peace keepers, diversity fans and the politest people around.

>> 12 Classic Canada Day events

Connect with Indigenous culture

Head to the opening CBC Musical Nooner on July 10th to celebrate Indigenous culture! Lift your spirits with the passionate and soulful music of Mob Bounce, a northwest coast Native hip-hop duo comprised of The Northwest Kid and EarthChild. Then tuck into some Indigenous food from Mr. Bannock’s food truck.

>> CBC Musical Nooners

Get into the forest

Image credit: Sea to Sky Gondola

If there’s one thing we have in spades, it’s forests. Head into the lush cool for a little forest bathing with the kids. There are kid friendly walks and hikes all over the Lower Mainland from Golden Ears Park to Sea to Sky Gondola and all points in between.

>> Five forest walks

Jump in a lake

Photo credit:

There’s nothing more Canadian than a plunge in a fresh, cool lake, and there are plenty in and around Vancouver. Buntzen Lake and Sasamat Lake (the warmest) near Port Moody, and it looks like Trout Lake in East Van is open for swimming this year. Planning a summer getaway? Lost Lake in Whistler is their warmest and most swimmable lake.

>> 6 local lakes! 

Take a ride in a canoe

Canada canoe

For a quintessential taste of Canadiana, rent a canoe and go for a family paddle around Deer Lake in Burnaby. Feeling more adventurous? Head to Pitt Lake Lake rent a canoe at Ayla Canoe rental shop and paddle along Widgeon Slough keeping an eye out for ducks, herons, deer. If you’re in Whistler, then don’t miss your change to canoe down the River of Golden Dreams.

Star gaze

Star gaze

Experience the nighttime magic in the Canadian skies over Vancouver. H.R. MacMillan Space Centre has an Observatory! Open on Saturday nights from 8 pm – midnight (by donation). The Space Centre is also a great place to go with kids.

Go camping!

Canada - camping

Pack up the car and head to out on a camping adventure. If you’re new, pick one that’s close to home like Golden Ears in Maple Ridge or get on the ferry to Sechelt and head to Porpoise Bay. These kids-friendly sites have tall trees, beach front, swimming, flush toilets and are close enough to town if you need an urban escape. Be sure to pack some kid-friendly meals. If that’s all too much, try glamping instead!

Host an all-Canadian potluck

Eat locally, bbq and socialize! It’s easy in the summer. Have everyone bring something Canadian: Think craft beer, Okanagan wine, salmon or spot prawns, Alberta beef, locally baked buns (or perhaps bannock?), potato salad, fresh leafy greens with local ice cream and berries for dessert (or butter tarts or Nanaimo bars). Put together a Canadian playlist or use CBC or Spotify. Obviously wear red and white!

Watch the Snowbirds

Abbotsford Airshow

Is there anything more Canadian than watching the Snowbirds do their alley oops? The Abbotsford Air Show takes place August 10-12 and includes day-long sky high acrobatics, a Kids Zone, display ground exhibits, craft beer and food trucks.


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