Sum­mer in the City

Ev­ery­thing from jet skiing and food carts to ice cream and out­door yoga

Where Vancouver - - FRONT PAGE - BY LU­CAS AYKROYD

Long known as the Gate­way to the Pa­cific, Vancouver is the place to play this sum­mer for those ea­ger to hit the wa­ter. And the ocean is just the be­gin­ning. Bur­geon­ing with salmon and stur­geon, the Fraser River, Bri­tish Columbia's long­est river (at 1,375 km/855 mi), flows into the Strait of Ge­or­gia south of Vancouver. Other nearby rivers, creeks and lakes of­fer recre­ational op­por­tu­ni­ties for the whole fam­ily, from whoop­ing it up at the fa­mous Cul­tus Lake Wa­ter­park water­slides to gaz­ing awestruck at turquoise, glacier-fed Garibaldi Lake dur­ing a hike. Ready to make a splash? Mul­ti­ple op­tions are read­ily avail­able here.

Jet Skiing

For pure adren­a­line, it's tough to top jet skiing with Vancouver Wa­ter Ad­ven­tures (page 80). The guided 2.5-hour Ocean Is Yours tour kicks off at Granville Is­land, head­ing out un­der the Bur­rard Street Bridge. In English Bay, pi­lot your Sea-Doo GTI 130 past tankers and freighters, and ad­mire the down­town sky­line. Out on the pris­tine ex­panse of Howe Sound, you can hit speeds of up to 90 km (55 mi) an hour.

The tour loops past the Point Atkin­son Light­house, Bowen Is­land and a colony of har­bour seals, among other high­lights. A wet­suit, life­jacket, li­cence, fuel and full safety brief­ing are pro­vided.

Vancouver Wa­ter Ad­ven­tures also of­fers boat tours where guests can sit back and check out the glo­ri­ous scenery aboard rigid-hull, 12-pas­sen­ger ves­sels. Choices in­clude the City and Seal tour, Gran­ite Falls tour or Bowen Is­land Din­ner and Sights tour.

Kayak­ing

Kayak­ing with Eco­ma­rine Pad­dle­sport Cen­tres (page 79) is an­other in­spir­ing ad­ven­ture, de­part­ing from Granville Is­land. Dur­ing a serene pad­dle in False Creek, the com­pany's guides give you the goods on birds, float­ing homes and city land­marks such as Science World and BC Place Sta­dium. It's a great car­dio work­out that also en­gages your back, shoul­ders and arms. Kids be­tween eight and 16 can join a tour with an adult in a dou­ble kayak. Other tours leave from Jeri­cho Beach and English Bay. Re­mem­ber to pack sun­screen, shades, a snack and a hat.

Al­ter­na­tively, head to the Deep Cove Kayak Cen­tre (page 79) in North Vancouver. On a three-hour Deep Cove Ex­plorer tour, you'll thrill to the raw beauty of In­dian Arm, nes­tled among the Coast Moun­tains, bur­geon­ing with lush fir, spruce and pine trees. Spot colour­ful sea stars and bald ea­gles on your jour­ney.

Fish­ing

Want to catch the big one? Launch­ing from Granville Is­land, Bon Chovy Char­ters (page 79) pro­vides salt­wa­ter fish­ing trips with cer­ti­fied tidal an­gling guides. You can head out for five hours, 10 hours or overnight as you aim to reel in a mag­nif­i­cent chi­nook or coho salmon.

The com­pany of­fers five Grady White fish­ing boats (7 to 9 m/22 to 30 ft) with Yamaha four-stroke out­board mo­tors. Pack­ages in­clude first-class ac­com­mo­da­tions at the Granville Is­land Ho­tel. You can also book a Fraser River stur­geon fish­ing trip, which de­parts from the boat launch be­low the Port Mann Bridge, 30 min­utes from down­town. The size of your catch may vary, but fun on the wa­ter in Vancouver is guar­an­teed.

Whale Watch­ing

Imag­ine a 9-m- (30-ft-) long orca breach­ing or spout­ing within eye­shot of your boat on the Strait of Ge­or­gia. That can be­come an awe-in­spir­ing real­ity on a whale watch­ing tour. There are more than 80 res­i­dent or­cas in the area, and your odds of spot­ting whales are up­wards of 90 per­cent. Grey whales, minke whales and hump­backs also pop­u­late th­ese wa­ters, along with dol­phins, por­poises and seabirds. Plan to spend three to seven hours on the ocean.

Var­i­ous com­pa­nies of­fer top-notch whale watch­ing tours in the Vancouver area. Prince of Whales (page 82) has mul­ti­ple daily de­par­tures from Coal Har­bour. Wild Whales Vancouver (page 83) launches from Granville Is­land. Vancouver Whale Watch (page 82) is based in the his­toric fish­ing vil­lage of Steveston in Rich­mond.

Zo­diac Tour­ing

When you're wear­ing a red cruiser suit and rac­ing across Bur­rard In­let aboard one of Sea Vancouver's (page 79) open-air zo­diac boats, it feels like a scene from a James Bond movie.

Ex­pe­ri­enced skip­pers keep you safe and re­veal quirky de­tails en route about the Vancouver Con­ven­tion Cen­tre, the Li­ons Gate Bridge and other key sights. Photo ops abound, from the mag­nif­i­cent North Shore Moun­tains to the glass-laden ar­chi­tec­ture of False Creek. Mul­ti­ple Sea Vancouver tours depart daily from the Westin Bayshore Ho­tel in the West End.

Stand-Up Pad­dle­board­ing

Stand-up pad­dle­board­ing (SUP) has be­come a new-mil­len­nium fit­ness craze, and Eco­ma­rine (page 79) can help you be­come a stand-up guy or gal.

Sign up for a two-hour SUP Essentials course on Wed­nes­day evening or Satur­day morn­ing, and dis­cover the se­crets of launch­ing and land­ing, keep­ing your bal­ance and proper strokes. Tues­day evenings bring SUP yoga classes, great for ton­ing the core and build­ing flex­i­bil­ity. Womenonly cour­ses are avail­able once a month. And English Bay is a beau­ti­ful place to learn SUP, with a back­drop of city bridges and white tents host­ing the an­nual Bard on the Beach Shake­speare Fes­ti­val.

Clock­wise from left: Kayak­ing around False Creek with Eco­ma­rine. A great catch with Bon Chovy Char­ters. Or­cas in the wild

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