What Colour is Your Umbrella? – Vancouver’s Rainy Days

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Photo: Rob Weiss

Last weekend, attempting an early start on my Christmas shopping, I visited Vancouver’s downtown core for a day of commerce and exploration.  Braving the elements, I ventured along the busy city streets in search of whimsical trinkets and treasures. Worn-out after hours of pounding the pavement, I decided to enjoy a well-timed, and well-earned coffee break in one of Vancouver’s welcoming corner cafes.  Savouring my drink, enjoying the warmth and ambiance and biding my time, I began to people watch.

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What Colour is Your Umbrella? – Vancouver’s Rainy Days

Vancouver’s Next Super Highway? Salish Sea Marine Trail

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Photo: Rob Weiss

Tired of ferry line-ups and traffic jams?  The B.C. Marine Trails Network Association (BCMTNA) has the solution!  Imagine a magnificent, 257-kilometre saltwater route connecting Vancouver’s lower mainland to Victoria.  Granted, you will need to rethink the amount of luggage you are toting as you will require a canoe, kayak or small “beachable” boat to travel along the Salish Sea Marine Trail.  This spectacular route, designed specifically for paddlers, will add an impressive water leg to the Great Trail, previously known as the Trans Canada Trail.  If all goes according to plan the trail will be complete in time for Canada’s 150 birthday celebration in July 2017.  Now that’s a birthday gift!

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Vancouver’s Next Super Highway? Salish Sea Marine Trail

Grouse Mountain Light Walk Returns to the Peak of Vancouver

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Image courtesy of Grouse Mountain

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas atop Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain. The wet weather the past few days has helped transform the mountain into a winter wonderland. It’s a great time to dust off the old ski jacket, mittens and snow boots because like it or not – winter is here!

This weekend marks the start of Grouse Mountain’s Peak of Christmas, which brings Santa Claus, reindeer, and outdoor skating pond and more. One highlight of the event is the dreamy Light Walk feature that is coming back for a second year to guide you on a magical adventure through the snow-covered trees.

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Grouse Mountain Light Walk Returns to the Peak of Vancouver

Marvelous Murals – Vancouver’s Answer to Dreary Days

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Photo: Rob Weiss

Looking for the perfect cure for the rainy day blues?  Look no further than historic Mount Pleasant.  Known for heritage buildings, funky shops, cafes and eateries, Mount Pleasant is also home to a thriving art scene.  Recently, while strolling the bustling streets of the Mount Pleasant area, I was struck by the size and scope of the outdoor murals.  Imagine, talented artists turning blank building walls into spectacular art installations.  Accessible, public art, many pieces thought provoking and some works simply pure, clean fun.

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Marvelous Murals – Vancouver’s Answer to Dreary Days

Waiting for Winter at Whytecliff Park, West Vancouver

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View from Whytecliff Park Photo: Rob Weiss

When the snow starts to fly in the upper alpine, and a gorgeous dusting of white becomes clearly visible on our beloved Lions, like many other Vancouverites, I naturally turn to the mountains for my outdoor fix.  Anxiously, I monitor snowfall, weather forecasts and await the upcoming ski season with impatience. Over the years I have learned to turn the waiting game into an exploration game. Why not take advantage of shoulder season to revisit many of our local parks?  These little gems are there under our noses and offer a wide variety of walks and easy hikes. One of my favourite weekend destinations is Whytecliff Park, located in West Vancouver. Here land meets sea in an explosion of natural beauty.

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Waiting for Winter at Whytecliff Park, West Vancouver

Birds of a Feather – Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival, Nov 19 – 20

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Photo: Rob Weiss

From my first sighting, I have been fascinated with Bald Eagles.  I am inexplicably drawn to the sight and sound of these majestic Raptors.  Their calls stir something in my heart and the sight of them catching an updraft and soaring simply mesmerizes me.  To my great delight, my love for Eagles is a shared passion and this November 19 – 20, eagle enthusiasts and aficionados from around the world will be congregating in the Fraser Valley to share their passion.  It’s time for the 21st Annual Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival, celebrating the Season of the Eagles and Salmon.  This is the lower mainland’s fastest growing festival and home to the largest recorded number of eagles in an area that is only 2 square kilometres in size.

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Birds of a Feather – Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival, Nov 19 – 20

Whey-Ah-Whichen – Fall Kayaking at Cates Park

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Indian Arm Photo: Rob Weiss

Although the dog days of summer are long behind us, I simply can’t bring myself to put away my paddling gear. Fortunately, Vancouver is not only a world class water sport destination, but our mild climate means any day is a great day to paddle. Granted cooler fall and winter temperatures mean it is extremely important to be safe and sensible, but with proper preparation and good judgement year round paddling is a treat that can be enjoyed by all boating enthusiasts. Recently, my paddling partner and I saw a break in the weather and planned an afternoon trip out of Cates Park in North Vancouver. Known as Whey-Ah-Whichen, the Tsleil-Waututh ancestral name for the land means “faces the wind.” This area is the largest waterfront park in North Vancouver and one of my favourite launch spots. During the summer, the sandy beaches are full of beachcombers in search of treasure and the playground and picnic areas are teaming with families. Cates Park is also home to Takaya Tours and the Cates Park Paddling Centre. Open May to October, Takaya Tours is a First Nation owned eco-tourism company and one of Vancouver’s premiere cultural tourism businesses offering an exciting and authentic interpretation of Coast Salish culture.

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Whey-Ah-Whichen – Fall Kayaking at Cates Park