BC Adventures – Our To Do Picks for March 17-23

This week in BC: Celebrate St. Patrick's Day, head to Tofino for the Pacific Rim Whale Festival, sleep over at the Vancouver Aquarium, and more

Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest plays at the Stanley Theatre March 15-April 15

What to do in BC this week

Take Your Kids to Craigdarroch Castle – March 12-23
Spring break and bored kids go together like macaroni and cheese. But not at Craigdarroch Castle (1050 Joan Crescent, Victoria), site of a series of spring break programs for school kids. From March 12 to 23, kids will be kept busy checking out weekday classes on everything from vintage craft workshops to indoor and outdoor games to guided I-Spy tours of the 19th-century castle. Tickets range from $25 to $50.

See The Importance of Being Earnest – March 15 – April 15
“A trivial comedy for serious people.” That’s the tagline for The Importance of Being Earnest, arguably the wittiest play in the English language. What happens when two wealthy playboys — one in the city, one in the country — each pretends to be named Ernest so that he can behave recklessly without besmirching his reputation? The answer is pandemonium, especially when the duplicitous duo find themselves together, both masquerading as the same person, with each wooing a different woman. Catch this Oscar Wilde classic from March 15 to April 15 at Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage (2750 Granville St, Vancouver).

Do the Paddy’s Day 5K – March 17
Rather than just gulp back green beer, why not do something good for yourself — and others — to salute St. Patrick? On March 17, you can join the BMO St. Patrick’s Day 5K in support of the Canadian Diabetes Association. The disease, afflicting over 250,000 British Columbians, costs our provincial health care system an estimated $2 million per day. Help fight it with your feet by walking or jogging the Stanley Park seawall, beginning at 10 a.m., then follow it up with food, fun and festivities at an after-party at the Stanley Park Pavilion.

Dig into St. Paddy’s Day Dinner – March 17
Irish eyes — and everyone else’s — will be smiling at the St. Paddy’s Day Dinner at Merridale Ciderworks (1230 Merridale Rd, Cobble Hill) on March 17. For $30, gourmet-loving guests can indulge in a three-course Irish-inspired meal washed down with a glass of handcrafted winter-apple cider. Start off with the likes of whisky-cured salmon or country-style pork terrine followed by your choice of traditional Irish stew, poached halibut or Vancouver Island sausage with Guinness onion gravy, then finish off on a sweet note with either apple barley pudding or chocolate potato cake drizzled in cider brandy sauce. Reserve by calling 1-800-998-9908.

Don’t Miss the Pacific Rim Whale Festival – March 17-25
The month of March means a farewell to winter storms and a welcome back to the Pacific Rim Whale Festival, celebrating its 26th year from March 17 to 25 with oceans of family fun. The official kickoff to the beginning of the whale-watching season, this splashy fete invites spectators to Tofino and Ucluelet to witness the migration of over 20,000 gray whales as they return to their summer home in the Bering Sea. P.S., many of the festival’s 50-plus events are free.

Celebrate Vancouver Fashion Week – March 20-25
Vancouver was recently cited as one of the world’s most unstylish cities. But voters might have thought twice if they’d caught Vancouver Fashion Week, strutting the catwalk at various venues from March 20 to 25. This chic showcase celebrates the work of local, international and up-and-coming designers debuting their fall/winter 2012 collections.

Roast Terry David Mulligan – March 23
Love him or hate him, few people are indifferent to Terry David Mulligan, a media motormouth who’s been keeping Canadians in the loop about music and pop culture for over 40 years. Now the opinionated entertainer is set to be the guest of honour in a celebrity-studded roast hosted by TVW columnist and stand-up comic Patrick Maliha on March 23 at Federico’s Supper Club (1728 Commercial Dr, Vancouver). A $100 ticket buys you a three-course meal and a night of entertainment, with partial proceeds going to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society. For reservations, call 604-251-3473.

Take Your Kids on a Free Ride – March
Number crunchers estimate it costs parents over $226,000 to raise a child. So no wonder wallet-weary parents love penny-pinching promos like those offered by The Adventure Group Whistler. Throughout March, kids can finagle a free ride on several outdoor alpine adventures, including zoom ziplines, snowmobiling, snowshoe tours and sleigh rides. The catch: Kids must meet age and size requirements and be accompanied by a paying adult. Don’t forget to mention “March Family Month” when booking.

Check out Beat Nation – until June 3
Expect intersecting art forms to converge at Beat Nation, an exhibition of hip-hop and aboriginal culture at the Vancouver Art Gallery (750 Hornby St) until June 3. Using hip hop and other forms of popular music, a new generation of aboriginal up-and-comers have created surprising new artistic hybrids in painting, sculpture, installation, performance and video.

Enjoy BC’s Best Beer – Monday to Sunday
B.C. boasts buzzworthy brew. And if you’re in any doubt, check out the Gastown Craft Beer ’n Bites Tour, taking tipplers on a trek to four of Vancouver’s favourite watering holes to enjoy a fresh-poured brew paired with a selection of appetizing eats. This tasty tour also gives you the lowdown on the brewing process and the history of beer, all for $80 per person, with private group tours available.

Sleep Over at the Vancouver Aquarium – now
We all know the term “sleep with the fishes” is Cosa Nostra code for the kiss of death. But it takes on an entirely different meaning at the Vancouver Aquarium (845 Avison Way), where you can embark on an after-hours adventure full of kid-friendly fun, including a behind-the-scenes trip to the marine lab. At the end of the night, you’ll bed down in front of one of the spectacular marine galleries then wake up to a continental breakfast. To book, call 604-659-3504.

Check out BC Ferries’ Vacation Packages – anytime
Stumped about where to spend spring break? Not to worry, inspiration abounds at the Fairmont Pacific Rim (1010 Canada Place, Vancouver), the site of a 90-square-foot interactive media wall highlighting more than 20 BC Ferries vacation packages. What’s on offer? How about an overnighter in Victoria from $162 that includes transportation, accommodation and Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel? Or maybe a two-night fishing adventure in Campbell River from $304, including ferry and accommodation at Painter’s Lodge?

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.