Summer’s here, and Canada Day weekend puts us all in the mood for some patriotic 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.
Ten iconic Canadian summer family activities
Celebrate Canada’s Birthday!
Dig out the red and white and get your Canuck on this Canada Day. July 1st is a day to unapologetically celebrate our unique place in the world as peace keepers, diversity fans and the politest people around.
Connect with Indigenous culture
Explore indigenous culture with your kids. Visit the Museum of Anthropology or the current exhibition at the Museum of Vancouver. Check out some shows on APTN, pick up some books from Raven Reads, and be on the lookout for Mr Bannock and his tasty Indigenous cuisine.
Take a hike
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.
Jump in a lake
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 fingers crossed that Trout Lake is open for the city dwellers. Planning a summer getaway? Lost Lake in Whistler is their warmest and most swimmable lake.
Paddle a 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.
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.
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 the CBC music app or Spotify. Obviously wear red and white!
Go to an outdoor music festival
Dancing barefoot in the sun to folksy tunes? Isn’t that the very essence of summer – when you’re not roasting marshmallows over the campfire that is. There are lots of fests to choose from and most are totally free or free for kids!
Watch the Snowbirds
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.
Harriet Fancott is the Editor and Social Media Manager for Vancouver Mom. She has over 20 years experience in the arts, tech and mom-based blogging arenas. She lives in East Vancouver with her husband and son where they enjoy exploring all that Vancouver has to offer from festivals and events to playgrounds and beaches to sushi and ice cream (although not together).