Live mu­sic, out­door movies and bath­tub races—here are 25 of the best things in life that truly are free, and a few that come pretty darn close

Where Vancouver - - Contents - By Chloë lai

25 of the best things in life that truly are free, and a few that come pretty darn close

1 Brav­ing the crisp wa­ters of English Bay to reach the float­ing dock wa­ter­slide, which rock­ets you right back into the waves from whence you came.

2 Clam­ber­ing all over pub­lic art pieces from the Van­cou­ver Bi­en­nale (page 50), like the curved “217.5 Arc x 13” at Sun­set Beach, cast-bronze “A-maze­ing Laugh­ter” fig­ures at English Bay and over­sized “Pub­lic Fur­ni­ture | Ur­ban Trees” at Span­ish Banks Beach.

3 Hik­ing the 2,830 steps of the Grouse Grind, lo­cally known as the best way to build buns of steel, and gain­ing a new ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the scenic (and sweat-free) gon­dola ride down Grouse Moun­tain (page 88) af­ter­wards.

4 Time-trav­el­ling—sort of—back to the 1920s at the Burn­aby Vil­lage Mu­seum (page 82), where you can ride a vin­tage carousel, churn but­ter, meet the town black­smith, cruise around in a vin­tage Ford Model T and more.

5 Win­dow-shop­ping in his­toric Gas­town (page N2), which is home to unique lo­cal shops such as John Fluevog Shoes (page 42), Coastal Peo­ples Fine Arts Gallery (page 50) and One of a Few (page 36).

6 Splash­ing around with zero risk of fishy en­coun­ters in a sea­side swim­ming pool such as Sec­ond Beach Pool (page 89) near Stan­ley Park, or Kit­si­lano Pool (page 89), the only salt­wa­ter pool in the city.

7 Get­ting lost in the El­iz­a­bethan hedge maze at VanDusen Botan­i­cal Gar­den (page 83), where thou­sands of pyra­mi­dal cedars form an elab­o­rate labyrinth fit for the Mino­taur.

8 Bust­ing a move with dance classes at Rob­son Square that range from salsa to West Coast swing to cha-cha, at the Sum­mer Dance Se­ries (Fri­days to Aug. 31; page 74) and Sun­day Af­ter­noon Salsa (Sun­days to Aug. 26; page 76).

9 En­joy­ing Fer­ris Bueller’s Day Off, Grease and Black Pan­ther at out­door movie screen­ings like Stan­ley Park’s Evo Sum­mer Cin­ema Se­ries (Tues­days to Aug. 21; page 75) and Wa­ter­front Cin­ema at Canada Place (Thurs­days to Aug. 23; page 74), weather per­mit­ting.

10 Down­ward-dog­ging in the sun at Mat Col­lec­tive’s free out­door yoga classes (to Aug. 31; page 74), which take place at beaches, parks and plazas across the city.

11 Let­ting the kid­dos feed bun­nies, chick­ens and ducks, or watch­ing a milking demon­stra­tion at Maple­wood Farm (page 81), home to nearly 200 do­mes­tic farm an­i­mals and birds.

12 Strolling through bright, bustling farm­ers’ mar­kets (page 41) filled with fresh pro­duce, arts and crafts, sou­venirs, craft beer and wine, live mu­sic and the oc­ca­sional adorable ca­nine vis­i­tor.

13 Ooh-ing and aah-ing as com­pet­ing py­rotech­nic teams from Swe­den and South Korea light up the sky above your beach blan­ket with fire­works dur­ing the Honda Cel­e­bra­tion of Light (Aug. 1 and 4; page 74).

14 Pack­ing a pic­nic fit for roy­alty and set­tling in at Queen El­iz­a­beth Park (page 83) to watch the sun set be­hind the moun­tains that tower over Van­cou­ver’s sky­line.

15 Tak­ing a 25- or 40-minute mini cruise with False Creek Fer­ries (page 84), stop­ping at Granville Is­land (page N2) to ex­plore the ar­ti­sans’ studios, wa­ter park and Kids Mar­ket (page 47), and catch­ing open-air per­for­mances of A Mid­sum­mer Night’s Dream (page 80).

16 Tick­ling your funny bone at Van­cou­ver TheatreS­ports’ (page 90) im­prov show Av­o­cado Toast – Van­cou­ver Grown, Or­ganic Free-Range Com­edy, which lam­poons lo­cal stereo­types.

17 Cul­ti­vat­ing an artis­tic eye with free ad­mis­sion to the Bill Reid Gallery on Aug. 3 from 2 to 5 p.m. (page 49) and the Con­tem­po­rary Art Gallery (page 52). Or vis­it­ing the Mu­seum of Van­cou­ver on Aug. 30 be­tween 5 to 8 p.m. (page 82) and the Van­cou­ver Art Gallery on Tues­days (page 49), when ad­mis­sion is by do­na­tion.

18 Stargaz­ing at Gor­don Southam Ob­ser­va­tory (page 81) or jour­ney­ing past me­teor show­ers and black holes to the outer edges of the uni­verse at H.R. MacMil­lan Space Cen­tre’s (page 81) plan­e­tar­ium.

19 Cut­ting loose at the CBC Mu­si­cal Noon­ers (to Aug. 17; page 74), hour-long week­day con­certs fea­tur­ing lo­cal bands that rock the stage with ev­ery­thing from blue­grass to Latin funk to R&B.

20 Tack­ling the in­flat­able ob­sta­cle course at the Rich­mond Night Mar­ket (page 41)—the largest night mar­ket in North Amer­ica—then chow­ing down on a smor­gas­bord of Asian-in­spired snacks, from spicy kim­chi fries to straw­ber­ries wrapped in red bean paste and mochi.

21 Nav­i­gat­ing more than 80 of the Van­cou­ver Mu­ral Fes­ti­val’s (Aug. 6 to 11; page 49) eye-pop­ping art­works, most of which are con­cen­trated in the al­leys along Main Street be­tween Ter­mi­nal Av­enue and West 16th.

22 Hop­ping aboard the SeaBus to North Van­cou­ver (page N3) on Satur­days to dance the night away—or watch oth­ers dance while you savour ice-cold brews in the beer gar­den—at the Sum­mer Ses­sions Con­certs (Aug. 4, 18 and 25; page 75) in Ship­builders’ Square.

23 Rent­ing a sleek cruiser or tan­dem bike to cy­cle the sea­wall around Stan­ley Park (page 83) in style, and pulling over to pho­to­graph the totem poles, Li­ons Gate Bridge and Si­wash Rock along the way.

24 Cheer­ing for un­con­ven­tional sea cap­tains at Kit­sFest’s (Aug. 10 to 12; page 76) bath­tub races, which mark the re­turn of this quirky con­test af­ter a hia­tus of more than 20 years.

25 Ex­plor­ing one of the largest Chi­na­towns in the world, es­pe­cially on Aug. 11 and 12, when the TD Van­cou­ver Chi­na­town Fes­ti­val (page 76) brings more than 57,000 spec­ta­tors to­gether for live mu­sic, games, food-tast­ing and her­itage tours, and more.


Sun­set Beach is home to ocean views and pub­lic art, in­clud­ing “217.5 Arc x 13,” a steel sculp­ture by French artist Bernar Venet

Out­door movies at Stan­ley Park kick off at dusk each Tues­day, and fea­ture fan favourites such as Ti­tanic

False Creek Fer­ries’ mini cruises of­fer a fresh per­spec­tive on lo­cal land­marks like Sci­ence World

The cy­clist- and pedes­trian-friendly sea­wall stretches from the Van­cou­ver Con­ven­tion Cen­tre all the way to Kit­si­lano Beach

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