BC Adventures – Our To Do Picks for March 19 – 25

This week in BC: Spot a whale, dine out for life, send your kids to space camp and more

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet performs Wonderland at The Centre in Vancouver

What to do in BC this week

Take a Swing at the Vancouver Golf and Travel Show – March 19-20

Gaga for golf? Unless your name is Jack Nicklaus, you could probably use a hand lowering your handicap. Cue the Vancouver Golf and Travel Show taking place on March 19 and 20 at the Vancouver Convention Centre (999 Canada Place). Considered the largest consumer show of its kind west of Winnipeg, it features more than 150 exhibitors, including representatives from top equipment manufacturers and international golf destinations, along with putting and drive contests and a PGA clearance centre. Tickets are $12 for adults (free for kids), and include a voucher for a free golf game. Get into the swing of things on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Don’t Miss the Pacific Rim Whale Festival – March 19-27
Think you have a long commute? Pity the poor grey whale, braving a 16,000-km roundtrip journey from the Baja Peninsula to the Bering Sea every spring. The 25th annual Pacific Rim Whale Festival, running from March 19 to 27, offers great ogling opportunities as 20,000 of the magnificent mammals skim Vancouver Island’s coast in this mammoth-sized migration. Be sure to check out some of the more than 75 activities and attractions, many of them free, taking place in and around Tofino, Ucluelet and the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Shop the 21st Century Flea Market – March 20
It’s one of those curious etymological enigmas: why call it 
a flea market when you don’t actually sell fleas? Legend has it that an old-time street bazaar in Paris was so notorious for its flea-infested goods, it gave rise to the mangy moniker that has held fast ever since. Whatever the case, you’re not likely to encounter 
any creepy crawlies at the 21st Century Flea Market on March 20 at the Croatian Cultural Centre (3250 Commercial Drive, Vancouver) — just the best assortment of stuff you can’t find anywhere else, including kitschy collectibles, unique antiques and mid-century memorabilia from more than 175 vendors.

Send Your Kids to Space Camp – March 21-25
Every parent knows that a bored kid is a bratty kid. So how to keep the little ones’ mitts out of mischief during the school holidays? One idea: the Spring Break Camp at H.R. MacMillan Space Centre (1100 Chestnut Street, Vancouver), hosting a three-day action-packed adventure for kids in grades one through four from March 21 to 23. If that sounds like a little too much of a good thing, you can always drop by during Spring Break Week to check out the array of all-ages activities from March 21 to 25. For more details, call 604-738-7827.

Catch Cavalia – March 22 – April 3
No lame dog-and-pony show, Cavalia is a stunning spectacle celebrating the relationship between human and horse that the National Post called “sensationally jaw-dropping,” O Magazine called “breathtaking!” and CNN’s Larry King called, “The greatest show I have ever seen!” Created by Cirque du Soleil co-founder Normand Latourelle, it reinvents the equestrian arts in a multimedia production featuring 55 magnificent horses and dozens of riders, aerialists, acrobats, dancers and musicians. Catch it on selected dates from March 22 to April 3 under the Big Top in Vancouver’s Olympic Village. Regular tickets, priced from $34.50 to $99.50, are available online at cavalia.net or by calling 1-866-999-8111.

Hit up the Sucker Punch Ball – March 24
Thought a sucker punch was a bad thing? So did we, until we heard it’s also the name of the Sucker Punch Ball taking place on March 24 at Rio Theatre (1660 E. Broadway, Vancouver). Come dressed in your favourite fantasy wear and enjoy a fashion show from local retailers like Lace Embrace, Misty Greer and Scout Boutique, followed by a midnight screening of Sucker Punch, the Zack Snyder film described as “Alice in Wonderland with machine guns.” Tickets for the ball, starting at 10 p.m., are $18 per person in advance or $20 at the door.

Dine Out for Life – March 24
Hungering to help out humanity? You’re in luck: Dining Out for Life is serving up an easy recipe to aid people with AIDS. Over 230 restaurants from Whistler to White Rock and the Fraser Valley will donate 25 per cent of their food revenue from all meals served on March 24. And it’s not just Mainlanders who’ll be munching either; Vancouver Islanders are also getting set to chow down for charity on the same date in Tofino, Sooke and all points in between. Proceeds go to A Loving Spoonful, Friends for Life and AIDS Vancouver Island, organizations supporting local folk living with HIV/AIDS.

Take a Trip Down the Rabbit Hole with Wonderland – March 24-27

Swan Lake, Giselle and The Nutcracker are among the world’s most popular ballets. They’d better shove over to make room for Wonderland, a stunning reinterpretation of Lewis Carroll’s beloved children’s tale. Don’t miss out when the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, led by acclaimed choreographer Shawn Hounsell, takes audiences on a spectacular trip down the rabbit hole from March 24 to 27 at The Centre in Vancouver for the Performing Arts (777 Homer Street, Vancouver). Along with breathtaking dance, the production also features an original soundscape, plus a full complement of crazy characters, from the Queen of Hearts to the Mad Hatter. Tickets start from $32.50 at ticketmaster.ca or by calling 604-280-3311.

Check out Sonic Boom 2011 – March 24-27
If Top 40 tunes make your toes curl (and not in a good way!), then Sonic Boom 2011 will be music to your ears. Hosted by Vancouver Pro Musica, a collective of Canadian composers, this annual new music festival hits a high note from March 24 to 27 at the Western Front (303 E. 8th Avenue, Vancouver). Along with dozens of new works by some of B.C.’s best emerging and established composers, you’ll hear performances by Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa, the Lafayette String Quartet, Nu:BC Collective and the Standing Wave Ensemble. Catch it nightly at 7:30 p.m., with tickets available at the door for $25 per person or $15 for students, seniors and artists.

Sow Your Seeds at the Yard, Garden and Renovation Show – March 25-27

So what if you don’t have the best wheels on the block? You can still make your neighbours green with envy by growing a Grade A garden. And to help you sow the seeds of inspiration is the ninth annual Yard, Garden and Renovation Show, held indoors at Chilliwack Heritage Park (44140 Luckakuck Way) from March 25 to 27. Whether you’re in the market for a hot tub, fish pond, outdoor furniture or a new fence, you’ll find everything you need to spruce up your space, along with plenty of expert advice, product demos and even a family fun zone. Admission is $6 for adults, with discounts for kids, students and seniors. Check it out Friday from 
3 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with further info at  or at 

Visit Fort Steele Heritage Town – anytime
Barkerville may get all the buzz, but Fort Steele Heritage Town (9851 Highway 93/95, near Kimberley) should definitely share top billing. From its gold rush beginnings back in 1864, Fort Steele has gone from boomtown to ghost town in just over a century. The scenic site, ranked as one of B.C.’s most important heritage attractions, features over 60 buildings, along with seasonal activities that range from ice-cream making, horse-drawn wagon tours and steam train rides to gold panning lessons, live theatre and museum displays. For everything you need to know about “exploring yesterday, today,” call 250-417-6000.
Penny-Pinch with a Tourism Nanaimo Passport – now
We all know that tough times demand creative cost cutting. That’s the thinking behind the 2011 Tourism Nanaimo Passport to Your City, which offers discounts at more than 40 area attractions, local businesses and special activities. And unlike those high-priced Entertainment Books, this one costs only $5 and is valid from now until May 20, and again from October 11 to 16. What’s more, if you get your passport initialed by at least one business in each category, you’ll be entered to win bi-weekly prizes and a $1,000 Nanaimo Staycation package. Purchase your passport at any Serious Coffee location, Oliver Woods Recreation Centre or Tourism Nanaimo Visitor Centre, with more details available online at tourismnanaimo.com or by phone at 250-756-0106.

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