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Local Travel Doesn't Get More Authentic Than This
There’s getting on the water, and then there’s getting on the water and travelling back in time. This summer, do both with a gentle, family- friendly Takaya Tours expedition up Indian Arm in Deep Cove, the ancestral lands of the People of the Wolf. After a traditional welcome by Tsleil-Waututh guides, including a song, quick language lesson and safety run-though, it’s off the land and onto the shimmering, calm waters of Indian Arm, where the lush contours of the North Shore seem to radiate without the man-made distractions and modern noise of the metropolis just to the south. The 25-foot traditional-style ocean-going canoes are surreal to navigate, given most of us have only seen one at the Museum of Anthropology or on the $20 bill, but glide effortlessly as guides recount legends that add context to the land and water that we take for granted.
takayatours.com | 604-985-2925
If you’ve ever walked, jogged or strollered through Stanley Park and swore you heard drums, chants and giggling, you weren’t imagining things. The ancient rhythms were emanating from the other side of the cedars, where Klahowya Village festivities were in full swing (the drums and chants) enchanting visitors of all ages (the giggling). The summer spectacle runs from Aboriginal Day (June 21) until September 1. Activities include guided walks through parts of Stanley Park, a ramble through the rainforest aboard the Spirit Catcher miniature train and weekend cultural performances.
klahowyavillage.com | 604-921-1070
There are few staycations that get you away from Vancouver while staying in Vancouver better than the Skwachays Lodge. Equal parts modern 18-unit boutique hotel, sweat lodge, artist incubator and art gallery, the three-storey converted heritage building is one of the most striking in Gastown. Sitting atop the converted warehouse is a traditional Northwest Coast Longhouse with a 40.5-foot story pole that towers over nearby buildings. On the ground floor, an aboriginal art installation extends from the storefront windows onto the sidewalk below and a bounty of aboriginal experiences awaits inside. The Healing Lodge, for example, lets guests benefit from the sacred healing experience of a traditional sweat lodge. A practicing Elder supports and guides visitors through the experience and is a wonderful resource for incorporating traditional medicine into your daily life. And a souvenir pretty much picks itself in the Urban Aboriginal Fair Trade Gallery on the main floor, featuring the work of Skwachays Artists in Residence.
skwachays.com | 604-687-3589
He’s inspired Canadian currency, his work welcomes visitors to Vancouver at YVR and his carvings have become shorthand for modern Haida art. Acclaimed Haida artist Bill Reid may have died in 1998, but he’s eternally ours and the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art that bears his name is a familiar, comforting place for all British Columbians, adorned with his mystical, radiating works and gold and silver jewellery. The gift shop alone has been known to eat up entire afternoons. Leave lots of time. And credit.
billreidgallery.ca | 604-682-3455