BC Adventures – Our To Do Picks for August 28 – September 3

This week in BC: sleep among the fishes, let the dogs out, spend an evening with Elvis, see a toe-tapping performance and more

The Vancouver Aquarium hosts a family-themed sleepover on August 28

What to do in BC this week

Sleep Over at the Vancouver Aquarium – August 28
Sleep among the fishes at the Vancouver Aquarium (845 Avison Way, Stanley Park), which is hosting a family-themed sleepover on August 28. After all the daytrippers have headed home, the Aquarium gears up for an exciting night full of special activities, guided tours and presentations, including a behind-the-scenes visit to the marine lab and Arctic Canada underwater gallery. After bedding down before a spectacular window to the whales, guests will awaken to the aromas of a yummy continental breakfast. Cost is $125 per person, excluding taxes, with pre-registration required by calling 604-659-3552 or emailing programs@vanaqua.org.

Join Fellow Dog Owners at the K9 Wine and Dine
 – August 28
Dogs are humankind’s best friend. Loyalty like that deserves recognition, so Whistler Animals Galore (WAG) and the Hilton Whistler Resort (4050 Whistler Way) will join forces on August 28 
to host the eighth annual K9 Wine and Dine, WAG’s signature fundraising gala. More than 100 dog owners and their four-legged friends are expected to dine together at the red-carpet affair. While owners enjoy a sumptuous repast courtesy of hotel executive chef Michael Deutsch, canine guests will delight in appetizers and a gourmet meal paired with a special vintage of Pinot Growlio. Proceeds from the doggy-do will go to Whistler’s only animal shelter between Squamish and Lillooet. To participate, call 604-935-8364 or visit thewagway.com.

Celebrate Seafood at the Wild BC Seafood Fest – August 28
Talk about a fishy affair! The third annual Wild B.C. Seafood Fest celebrates local salmon, sablefish and sardines with a free outdoor eat-athon in Steveston on August 28. Top local chefs like Hidekazu Tojo (Tojo’s Restaurant), Neil Taylor (Cibo Trattoria) and cookbook author Stephen Wong, along with experts from B.C.’s commercial fishing industry, headline this seafood shindig, demonstrating wild B.C. seafood recipes and offering tips on buying, storing, preparing the fresh-caught fare. Of course, you’ll get to sample their delish dishes, plus receive copies of the featured recipes to try at home. It all happens from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., along with live music and a food fair, at Steveston Harbour Authority Fisherman’s Park (12138 4th Avenue).

Attend the Kilby Kids’ Festival in Harrison Mills
 – August 29
It’s been nearly a century since Harrison Mills, a once-thriving community turned ghost town, has seen its streets filled with children. And it’s set to happen again on August 29, courtesy of the Kilby Kids’ Festival, featuring a day of music, dance, crafts and friendly farm animals on the grounds of the five-acre heritage site. While kids whack piñatas and climb aboard emergency vehicles, adults can stop for a bite at Harrison River Restaurant or tour the historic sites, including the General Store Museum, Post Office and Manchester House Hotel. Catch it from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Kilby Historic Site (215 Kilby Road, Harrison Mills), with more info at 604-796-9576. 

Spend an Evening with Elvis at the PNE
 – August 31
Long gone are the days when you could see a musical legend for $1.50. Yet 53 years ago, 26,000 screaming fans paid just that to see the King of Rock ’n’ Roll perform to a jam-packed Empire Stadium in Vancouver on August 31, 1957. Red Robinson, at the time a radio DJ for CKWX, emceed the Elvis Presley concert that lasted all of 22 minutes, cut short by a rowdy, tomato-tossing crowd. Every year at the PNE, the pioneering DJ recreates this iconic concert — minus the tomatoes — at Red Robinson’s Annual Evening with Elvis, a fair favourite that features appearances by award-winning tribute artist Stephen Kabakos and Elvis’s BFF Joe Esposito, who’ll regale the crowd with first-hand stories of his famous friend. Catch it on August 31, 8 p.m. at the Global Mainstage. Details at PNE.

Tap Along at the Vancouver International Tap Dance Festival – Sept 3-5

You can bet that toes will be tapping big-time at the 11th annual Vancouver International Tap Dance Festival from September 3 to 5 at Norman Rothstein Theatre (950 W. 41 Avenue, Vancouver). Along with tip-top performances and presentations, everyone from newcomers to professionals, youngsters and adults will have a chance to learn how to tap from a group of expert teachers, including Jason Samuels Smith from So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With the Stars. Plus, don’t miss the dancer/choreographer as he hosts the first annual Cutting Contest, a competition that pits talented young toe-tappers against each other in foot-to foot combat at the Grandview Ballroom (2205 Commercial Drive). For more info, call 604-253-0293.

See Zimsculpt at VanDusen Botanical Garden – until September 26
A huge hit in summer 2009, Zimsculpt — a famous exhibition of Zimbabwean stone sculpture — is back at the VanDusen Botanical Garden (5251 Oak Street, Vancouver) until September 26. The travelling show’s only North American stop, it features over 150 of Zimbabwe’s best sculptures by more than 80 artists. “We underestimated the wonderful reception we would receive last year,” says curator Vivienne Croissette. “This year, I selected pieces for the show specifically with Vancouver in mind.” All of the pieces, including many from Zimbabwe’s pre-eminent sculptor Dominic Benhura, are available for purchase — from small “personal sculptures” to major works — with partial proceeds going to support the Garden. For further details, call 604-878-9274.

Have an Outdoor Adventure at Bowron Lake Provincial Park – this summer

If you’ve had a sedentary summer, it’s not too late to redeem yourself by exercising your options (and everything else) on an outdoor adventure in B.C.’s backyard. Our recommendation? Strike off on a trip to Bowron Lake Provincial Park, a sprawling wilderness on the western slopes of the Cariboo Mountain Range. Along with a comfy campground and ample wildlife, the pristine park boasts “many moods, from bright sunshine and placid blue lakes to angry grey waters and torrential rains.” Explore it on foot via winding walkways, or, if you’re a Type-A traveller, you may opt to brave the famed Canoe Circuit, a multi-day journey on a 116-km chain of lakes, waterways and portages. For info call 778-373-6107.

Take an Underground Tour at the British Columbia Museum of Mining
 – anytime
Whether you want to beat the heat or just diverge from the beaten track, the British Columbia Museum of Mining 
(1 Forbes Way, Britannia Beach) offers an unbeatable way to do both. The National Historic Site, situated along the Sea to Sky Highway just south of Squamish, is about the only place around where you can hop aboard an underground railway or set off on a guided tour of a mining tunnel, while also having a chance to pan for real gold and check out educational exhibits, a gift shop and on-site eateries. The museum 
is open daily, with underground adventures taking place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call ahead for daily tour times at 1-800-896-4044. 

Check out Kirk McLean’s Gastown Restaurant – anytime
What’s a retired hockey player to do once he hangs up his skates? In the case of former Vancouver Canucks goalie Kirk McLean, the answer is to open up a restaurant. Thus, we have downtown Vancouver’s latest “haute” spot, McLean’s (#200-332 Water Street, Gastown), scoring great reviews among critics and clientele alike for its understated elegance and all-star eats. The most drool-worthy dishes? It’s all a matter of taste, of course, but you can’t go wrong with the spinach and ricotta ravioli, pan-seared Queen Charlotte halibut, flat-iron steak tataki or free-range chicken breast, followed by house-made desserts like chocolate mousse, sorbet or crème brûlée. The restaurant is open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and the bar from 5 p.m. to midnight. For info, call 604-669-1112.

Originally published in TV Week. For daily updates, subscribe to the free TV Week e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.