Ultimate Urban Kayak Escape – Spanish Banks to False Creek

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View of Science World Photo: Rob Weiss

Sitting in our kayaks, with bows pointed towards the North Shore Mountains, we were faced with a difficult decision.  To our left, open ocean, the call of Wreck Beach and the natural splendour of Pacific Spirit Regional Park and to the right the urban oasis known as Vancouver.  This is the thrill of launching from the expansive beaches of Spanish Banks.  After much discussion, we decided to head to town.  The glistening towers lining English Bay and Yaletown were like beacons guiding us towards the protected waters of False Creek.

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Ultimate Urban Kayak Escape – Spanish Banks to False Creek

Kayaking the West Vancouver Shoreline

Flickr Ikan1711

The Welcome Figure by Stan Joseph Photo: Flickr Ikan1711

With the magnificent North Shore Mountains towering overhead and spectacular shoreline, West Vancouver is well known for its luxurious oceanfront homes.  Viewing these architectural estates from the water is a unique and thrilling.  Paddling affords you an intimate, exploratory experience.  Think of it as type of “British Columbia Outdoor Home Tour of the Stars”.

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Kayaking the West Vancouver Shoreline

Dipping at Deas

Discover Outdoors Kayak Deas 5

Kayak Deas Island Photo: Rob Weiss

Ask Vancouverites where Deas Island is located and you may get a puzzled look.  Yet, thousands of commuters navigate the George Massey Tunnel on a daily basis, emerge on to Deas Island and cross the Deas Slough.  Wetlands, marshes, protected harbours and tidal flats are there for the taking. What better way to view this secluded natural hideaway than from the cockpit of a kayak?

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Dipping at Deas

In the Mood? Kayak to Port Moody’s Rocky Point Park

Inside Vancouver Barnet Marine Park Flickr DTB

Photo: Flickr DTB

Exploring new, easily accessible launch sites is often a spiritual experience for paddlers.  Of course, living in the Pacific Northwest we are extremely spoiled by the wide variety of paddling opportunities that surround us.  However, the search for short, local evening and afternoon paddle routes always looms large and without a doubt one of Vancouver’s best kept secrets is Barnet Marine Park.  Located in Burnaby, off the Barnet Highway, the area is a popular picnic and swimming area, yet often underutilized by paddlers.  Directly across from Admiralty Point, the kayak launch at Barnet Marine Park provides opportunities for adventurers to either paddle up Indian Arm, or to navigate along Burrard Inlet to Rocky Point Park in Port Moody.

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In the Mood? Kayak to Port Moody’s Rocky Point Park

Up a Creek with a Paddle – Canoeing Widgeon Creek, Pitt Meadows

Discover Outdoors Widgeon Creek3

Serenity while paddling Widgeon Creek Photo: Rob Weiss

Looking for an outdoor adventure close to home? Interested in a day trip that combines paddling and a scenic hike to a waterfall? Widgeon Creek is the destination you have been looking for! Dial in your compass heading for Pitt Lake and set course for Widgeon Creek and the incomparable Widgeon Falls.

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Up a Creek with a Paddle – Canoeing Widgeon Creek, Pitt Meadows

10th Annual MEC Paddlefest – Jericho Beach

Discover Outdoors Broken Island Group

Sunset, Broken Island Group Photo: Rob Weiss

Is there anything more quintessentially Canadian than a boy and a girl in a little canoe?  The Canadian Canoe museum suggests that “in the history of watercraft, the canoe of the Aboriginal Peoples is perhaps the ultimate expression of elegance and function.  All of its parts come from nature, and when it is retired, it returns to nature.”  Historically, the canoe played a huge role in almost all assets of life and certainly played a large role in British Columbia’s history.  Fast forward to downtown Vancouver today.  While we might not see many voyageurs or red cedar Haida canoes cruising our local waters, on June 18th, paddles of all types will be joyously dipping into the ocean off Jericho beach.

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10th Annual MEC Paddlefest – Jericho Beach

Paddling in Vancouver’s Backyard – Porteau Cove to Anvil Island

Flickr Damon West

Aurora Borealis viewing at Porteau Cove Photo: Flickr, Damon West

Wild and remote, yet only thirty minutes from Vancouver, Howe Sound is a paddler’s paradise.  Navigating the Sea to Sky corridor from the water is a unique and invigorating way to explore the area, world famous for breathtaking ocean views, spectacular waterfalls, snow capped mountains and Squamish Nation history and culture. My recent adventure to North America’s southern most fjord began at Porteau Cove Provincial Park.  There are two paved boat launches and also plenty of beach area to begin your paddle.  Prior to setting off be sure to check out the Dive Area. Porteau Cove is a very busy diving centre.  Two sunken ships and a series of man-made reefs attract scuba enthusiasts to these waters.  I always enjoy chatting with the divers and hearing tales of the marine live thriving below the surface.

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Paddling in Vancouver’s Backyard – Porteau Cove to Anvil Island