Four Seasons of Outdoor Fun in Vancouver

There’s truth to the saying that in Vancouver you can hit the slopes in the morning and be tanning on the beach by afternoon. With a delightfully temperate climate and easy access to the Pacific Ocean, mountain ranges and even rainforests, there’s a myriad of alfresco amusements all year round.

Summer at the Seawall

The Stanley Park Seawall has 28 kilometres of pathways along the ocean that are perfect for strolling, rollerblading or biking with city and mountain views to enjoy. There are eight beaches to choose from within Vancouver’s city limits; Kitsilano Beach is known as the most glamorous to locals, with the largest saltwater pool in town.

Summertime is the moment to trek across the Capilano Suspension Bridge, set 230 feet above the river, equally thrilling rain or shine. The Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival takes place every June at False Creek, where you can watch the oldest dragon boat races held outside Asia.

Fall outdoors in Vancouver

The Vancouver International Film Festival attracts stars from across the globe in late September, while locals invade pumpkin patches across the city. Tour the VanDusen Botanical Garden for autumnal blooms, or get out on the water; kayaking season in Vancouver goes well into October.

For family-friendly Halloween fun, Stanley Park’s Ghost Train runs from mid- to late October — last year’s theme was “Day of the Dead.” Adults can celebrate the season at Harvest Haus’s Oktoberfest, when Queen Elizabeth Plaza turns into a miniature version of Munich, lederhosen and all.

Winter wonderland activities

The 2010 Winter Olympics were held in Vancouver for a reason. The obvious (and exhilarating) thing to do in and around Vancouver in wintertime is ski. With world-class skiing in Whistler a short drive away, there’s a lot to do in and around (and down) the slopes. There’s also tubing at Mount Seymour, winter zip-lining at Grouse Mountain and skating at Robson Square.

The less athletically inclined won’t be left out in the cold in Vancouver — wander the Vancouver Christmas Market or take a snow limo tour of Grouse Mountain.

Spring bursts into cherry bloom

Vancouver blooms in the spring with an array of horticultural events. The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival is world famous and includes all kinds of activities out and about in the perfumed air. The roses in Stanley Park, the largest park in the city, are in full bloom by the end of March — right around the time whale-watching tours start for the year.

For epic views of the city’s spring awakening, conquer the Grouse Grind’s 2,830 steps ascending Grouse Mountain, or take a more relaxing stroll through the bustling Richmond Night Market, which gets underway in May. There are hundreds of vendors offering up food, games and performances from all over the world.

Gabby Peyton is a photographer, dabbling archaeologist and Champagne aficionado. Her travel is dictated by food; her favourite places are Istanbul, Bologna and St. John’s, Newfoundland.

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