It’s finally spring. After a late, cold and unusually long winter, it’s nice to finally be able to get out in Vancouver without a parka and boots to enjoy the budding trees, blooming flowers and chirping birds. Vancouver is one of the most desirable places in Canada (maybe in the world) because the climate is generally mild, the landscape is lush and green, and there is so much to see, do and enjoy in any season, although spring is certainly a favourite.
As you get used to the warmer weather, here are seven things to do in and around Vancouver during spring:
1. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park and Garden
Beautiful architecture, intentional use of space and diverse plants make up this tranquil and peaceful space. This little haven in the city also houses the Chinese Cultural Centre.
It feels as though a lifetime of gardening has been packed into the garden (at under 1/3 of an acre) and the adjoining park. There is no fee to walk through the park, however, if you wish to go to the traditional Chinese garden, the entry fee for adults is $12 in the off-season (pre-May) and $14 between May to September. You can enter through the gateway off Carrall street. Straight ahead, across the courtyard is the circular opening in the courtyard wall, which serves as the entrance to the park. The garden entrance is towards the west side, along the courtyard wall.
Inside the garden, The Hall of One Hundred Rivers features exhibits that allow guests to get to know some of the traditions and practices inherent in Chinese culture. Another treat included in the admission ticket is a cup of free jasmine tea. Sip while wandering around the site and taking in the distinct nooks, crevices and inconspicuous features that reveal themselves as guests move around. You can also enjoy a complimentary guided tour from one of the garden’s dedicated volunteers.
2. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
Nothing gets your blood pumping like walking 230 feet above a raging river across a narrow bridge. The Capilano park in North Vancouver also features guided nature tours, a totem pole park, a thrilling cliff walk that juts out from the granite cliff face above the Capilano River (even higher than the suspension bridge), gardens, trails, restaurants, a gift shop and more.
BC residents receive an unlimited pass for a full year to the park for the same price as a single day’s admission. Spring is the perfect time to go as the water runoff coming down the river is strong, exciting and loud.
3. Food Trucks
Start of spring is also the start of the food truck season. The Fraser Valley Food Truck Association hosts seven delicious food truck festivals throughout Greater Vancouver where close to 30 unique food trucks share their special tastes with guests for fairly reasonable prices.
Here are the details: April 27 in Port Moody, May 4 in Chilliwack, May 11 in Abbotsford, May 25 at the Cloverdale Exhibition Grounds, June 2 in Coquitlam, June 15 in Langley and June 16 in Maple Ridge. Find full details on locations and times at https://www.fvfoodtruckfestival.com/events
4. Farmers’ Markets
It’s hard to beat the pleasure of wandering around a farmers’ market in your own community. It brings out love for local food and the bounty of farmers in the region. Trying locally grown produce can be an amazing experience and as the season progresses new items become available at each market.
The BC Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM) notes 12 markets in the city of Vancouver alone with some starting as early as the end of April. Check out all the BCAFM member markets at www.bcfarmersmarkettrail.com
5. Road trips
Hopping in the car with sunglasses, a bottle of water, favourite snacks and great company is the ideal way to start a road trip. All the better when you have an epic destination in mind. Harrison Hot Springs is a wonderful place to go hiking, walking around the lake. It has great eats and some eclectic shopping opportunities. At just 2 hours from Vancouver, it’s the perfect distance too.
6. Granville Island
Granville Island lights up like a jewel in the spring with a wide range of events on site in addition to the market, shops and other activities. Check out fun and unique events like the open house of Ocean Concrete where you can sit in a concrete truck, virtually drive one on a simulator, take a tour of the site, play in the industrial size sandbox and much more. This open house takes place on April 27.
Another fun activity to consider is the live performance of The Young King at the Carousel Theatre from April 10 to April 21. It’s the story of a young heir dazzled by his new life. He must learn the price of living in riches versus being a good leader. This show is suitable for families with children age 8 and up. Prices vary and are reduced on Family Fridays to make live performances more accessible. Find out all the details at www.Carouseltheatre.ca
Vancouver’s first, largest and most loved park is, obviously, Stanley Park. At more than 400 hectares, it offers a wide range of activities throughout the seasons, but seeing the park come alive in spring is perhaps one of the best experiences. Take in the free rose flower gardens with more than 3,500 rose bushes, flowering bulbs, annuals (with a life cycle that lasts only one year) and perennials in bloom from March to October.
Lost Lagoon is popular for bird watchers as it features several rushes and grasses and provides a sanctuary for numerous species. There’s also the 700-plus-year-old hollow tree. It’s a Western cedar stump which was damaged in a severe windstorm in 2006 but was stabilized in 2009 and preserved. Don’t forget Prospect Point which offers views of the North Shore, Lions Gate Bridge and more.
Now that it’s spring, it’s time to get out and enjoy all that Vancouver has to offer. Check out the blooms, the sun glinting off the water, great green spaces and more.
Share with us some of your favourite things to do in spring.