Moody Skies on the Shoreline Trail

Pier in Rocky Point Park, Port Moody Photo: Rob Weiss

No matter where I travel in the Greater Vancouver region, I continue to be amazed and delighted at our proximity to natural spaces. Recently, I jumped on the sky train and ventured out to the Shoreline Trail in Port Moody. To call this a hike would be misleading, but without question, it is a fabulous, gentle nature excursion. Extremely popular with the locals, the Shoreline Trail packs a lot of punch!

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Moody Skies on the Shoreline Trail

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

Free Summer Concerts in and around Vancouver

Photo Credit: Vancouver International Jazz Festival

Vancouver’s brief and beautiful summers are filled with long days, blue skies and lots of music.  Here’s a quick guide to three free concert series in and around the city.

Know about more free music?  Tell us about it in the comments section.

1. The 2011 Vancouver International Jazz Festival, June 24-July 3: BC’s biggest music festival features more than 1800 artists, 400 concerts and 40 different venues around the city.  From noon until well past midnight, you can hear jazz, blues, funk, Latin, fusion, electronica and world music at venues big and small, indoor and outdoor.

Now, to see the big name acts – which this year include Wynton Marsalis, Madeleine Peyroux, Paco de Lucia, Steve Earle and others – you’ll have to pay for tickets.  But the good new is that there are approximately 150 free concerts including Gastown Jazz on opening weekend (June 25-26), Canada Day on Granville Island and the Jazz at the Roundhouse & David Lam Park free concert extravaganza on closing weekend (July 2-3).  For a complete list of free concerts, check out this link.

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Free Summer Concerts in and around Vancouver

Vancouver Hidden Gem: Buntzen Lake

(c) Remy Scalza

Natural wonders are in abundant supply in and around Vancouver.  We’ve got rugged beaches, wild mountains, canyons and rivers.  But one thing that can be hard to find is a good lake.  As lake-lovers know, the atmosphere at a lake is different than at the ocean – a bit more tranquil, a bit more intimate.   When you’re in the mood for a day at the lake, nothing else will really do.

Fortunately, there are several gorgeous lakes within reasonable proximity to downtown Vancouver.  My favorite is Buntzen Lake in the suburb of Port Moody, about 40 minutes east of downtown by car.  Nestled within the Coast Mountains, the 4.8-kilometer lake is used to generate hydroelectric power for the city of Vancouver.  And the entire area has been turned into one of the nicest parks in the Lower Mainland by BC Hydro, the provincial power company.

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Vancouver Hidden Gem: Buntzen Lake