BC Adventures – Our To Do Picks for July 9 – 15

This week in BC: Chow down on souvlaki, groove to folk music and wish Vancouver 'Happy Birthday'

Credit: TV Week

Don’t miss the 34th annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival July 15 – 17

What to do in BC this week

Attend Vancouver’s Birthday 
Blitz – July 8-10
Have you heard? Vancouver is celebrating its 125th birthday this year. And everyone’s invited to the party at Summer Live, a free outdoor festival from July 8 to 10 at Brockton Point in Stanley Park. You’ll find everything from food to sports to music, including performances by the likes of Neko Case, The New Pornographers, Spirit of the West and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra on three stages. If that doesn’t sound like music to your ears, there’s also a family stage, drop-in sports matches, beer and wine gardens, global cuisine and even a Bollywood-style birthday party.

Take a Swing at the Canadian Open Fastpitch Int’l Championship – July 9-17

Summer means baseball season! Check out the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship from July 9 to 17 at various Surrey venues, including Cloverdale Athletic Park, Softball City and Sunnyside Park. This nine-day pitch-fest features several elite-level youth teams, all vying for the championship title. With a roster of top national teams, along with a chance to catch wannabe big-leaguers in action, the event promises to hit a home run for baseball fans. For everyone else, you’ll still be assured a good time thanks to a lineup of live music, food vendors and kid-friendly fun.

Get Thee to the Greek Summer Fest – until July 10
Got a hubby who’s a sucker for souvlaki, a freak for falafel? Then there’s just one thing to do: Get him to the Greek Summer Fest. But you’d better hurry up because this free, 10-day ethnic eat-athon, held outdoors at Boundary Road and East 29th Avenue in Vancouver, wraps up for another year on July 10. What to expect? Live music, family-style fun and, of course, loads of delicious food — everything from spit-roasted lamb and gyros to souvlaki and Greek salad, along with a variety of traditional sweet treats like baklava. For more information call 604-438-6432.

Discover the Burnaby Discovery Day Festival – July 10

What’s the big deal about Burnaby? Lots. But don’t take our word for it. Just head to the 27th annual Burnaby Discovery Day Festival, taking place on July 10 at Shadbolt Centre for the Arts and Deer Lake Park. Sure, you may already be familiar with Burnaby’s biggest draws — Metrotown, Central Park and The Heights, among them — but you’ll also learn all about the various services, organizations and groups that help make this suburban city so stellar. What’s more, you’ll also enjoy a day of free, family-oriented fun that includes live music, theatre, street performances and interactive visual arts activities. Catch it from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with more information at 604-291-6864.

Send Your Kids to Summer Cosmo Camp – July 11, 18, 25 and August 8

What’s better than packing your kids off to a summer camp in the sticks? How about sending them blasting through the solar system at H.R. MacMillan Space Centre (1100 Chestnut Street, Vancouver) instead? Throughout July and August, you can rocket your favourite space cadet off on a virtual voyage across the galaxy at the Summer Cosmo Camps. These five-day pre-pubescent-geared programs, running from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., also include Planetarium shows and rides on the Simex Motion Simulator. For more information on upcoming camps, beginning July 11, 18, 25 and August 8, call 
604-738-7827, ext. 241.

Go to Surf Camp in Tofino – July 13-14

Surf’s up! If you want to catch a killer wave, there’s no need to do any California dreamin’. Not when Outside magazine voted Tofino as “the best surf town in North America.” Want to see for yourself? Just head to Long Beach Lodge Resort (1441 Pacific Rim Highway, Vancouver Island), offering Great Canadian Surf Camps on various dates from July to September. The package, priced at $249 per person, includes two days of equipment rental, continental breakfast, lessons, group photo and a 20 per cent room discount. To reserve your spot at the next camp, taking place July 13 and 14, call toll-free 1-877-844-7873.

Get Your Rock On – July 13-17
When it comes to gravity-defying climbing, bouldering and mountain culture, nowhere delivers it better than Squamish. See for yourself from July 13 to 17 when the scenic city, tucked in the heart of Sea-to-Sky country, hosts the fifth annual Squamish Mountain Festival, a five-day celebration tempting alpine enthusiasts with all things rock related, including instructional climbing clinics, films, trail days and plenty of parties. Buy tickets at the Squamish Adventure Centre (38551 Loggers Lane) or at Valhalla Pure (#805 – 1200 Hunter Place).

Check out the Nakusp Musc Festival – July 15-17

The hills are alive with the sound of music, but don’t worry; you won’t be subjected to any saccharine Julie Andrews songs at the Nakusp Music Festival, an outdoor extravaganza running from July 15 to 17. Ranked among the top 10 events of its kind in North America, this big-time bash features a lineup of bands, including Modern West (helmed by actor Kevin Costner), The Odds, Honeymoon Suite and The Doobie Brothers. And, despite a bustling on-site beer garden — de rigueur for a rock concert — it also offers age-appropriate entertainment for kids on Saturday and Sunday, along with a vendors’ village. Check it out on the field behind Nakusp Arena.

Go to the Folk Fest – July 15-17

Seeking a quiet day at the seaside? You’ll find everything except that at Jericho Beach Park from July 15 to 17. That’s when the 34th annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival will be rocking with dozens of local and international performers, entertaining crowds with everything from trance-blues to Afro beats on seven separate stages. Considered one of Vancouver’s favourite summer events, this big-time blitz includes an appearance by Tim Robbins (yes, the famous actor) of The Rogues Gallery Band, along with a Little Folks zone, multiple food vendors and an artisan marketplace. For details call 604-602-9798.

See Summer Fireworks – every Saturday night until September 3

If you’re like most people, your life probably consists of more fizzle than fireworks. But at least that’s not the case at Butchart Gardens (800 Benvenuto Ave., Brentwood Bay), one of Greater Victoria’s top tourist attractions, where visitors can watch as fireworks shower down upon 55 acres of fragrant flowers every Saturday night this summer until September 3. If you prefer to set your sights further afield, stargazers can also drink up views of the Milky Way through high-powered telescopes on Thursday nights throughout the summer. For additional details call 250-652-5256.

Take a Dive – now

Did you know that B.C. is one of the world’s top dive destinations? Famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau knew it, citing our coastal waters as offering “the best temperate water diving in the world.” You’ll spot loads of undersea life — everything from eels to seals — and, even better, you won’t have to worry about being eaten alive by anything other than mosquitoes, as man-eating marine life prefer more southern climes. Where to get your feet wet? Try taking the plunge at Dodd Narrows and Snake Island near Nanaimo or Whytecliff and Cates parks on Vancouver’s North Shore.

Visit Cowboy Country – this summer
Located far from the rainforests of the aptly named “Wet Coast,” the Thompson Okanagan region boasts more sunshine than almost any other part of B.C., creating prime conditions for outdoor recreation ranging from golfing and fishing to bear-watching and bush-wacking. Where to stay? Adventurers seeking an off-the-grid experience can’t go wrong checking out award-winning retreats like Siwash Lake Guest Ranch (Box 39, 70 Mile House), named “Canada’s Top Eco-Friendly Luxury Destination” by The Globe and Mail, or Three Bars Cattle & Guest Ranch (9500 Wycliffe Perry Cr. Road, Cranbrook), voted “Best Family Dude Ranch” by the Rustic Vacations guidebook. 

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