Rustic wood cabins interconnected by wooden walkways stand amid a network of fountains, mountain streams, and small waterfalls. Dense forest and blooms of emerald ferns spread out in all directions. The train whistle and drum beats echo through the trees. At Klahowya Village in Stanley Park, natural scenery opens up to authentic representations of British Columbia's First Nations and Métis cultures through its attractions, performances, and artisan marketplace. As guests arrive, knowledgeable First Nations guides in native dress usher guests into the park, where they can start by taking in the sights or boarding the miniature covered Spirit Catcher train for storytelling journeys past forest tableaus.
Young dancers and actors in traditional dress stage cultural performances every Friday through Sunday throughout the summer, and coffee by Spirit Bear Coffee Company keeps visitors warm year-round. In the indoor marketplace, First Nations and Métis artisans proffer pieces of handmade visual art, jewellery, apparel, and other crafts. The nonprofit Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia operates the park as part of its aim to create a sustainable and educational showcase of Aboriginal culture for visitors and local residents.
King George Aviation Flight School's squadron of instructors use their decades of combined experience to introduce novice pilots to the skies. Official licensing courses range from navigation and mountain flying to radio procedures or instructor ratings, and their Discovery flights give beginners a taste of the skies while proving to nonbelievers that clouds are, in fact, made of marshmallow. The school also rents its planes to pilots for day trips and sells certain models.
As the sun’s rays reach across British Columbia, breakfast is being served, coffee and all, in the middle of Shuswap Lake. Though it's been cooked aboard one of Waterway Houseboat Vacations’ watercrafts, the diners devouring their morning meal still have the overwhelming sense that this is what it feels like to spend quality time in the wild. That combination of coming together as a group while communing with nature is Waterway Houseboat Vacations’ raison d'être and has been since its founding in 1968.
Dedicated to outfitting aquatic sojourners with the most lavish, well-equipped vessels possible, the company's proprietors had their own fleet of houseboats built up in their Sicamous-based boat yard. Each masterpiece of engineering is embellished with luxurious amenities such as hot tubs, fireplaces, and gold-plated shoulder parrots, each of which fight for boater attention with lake-adjacent activities such as swimming, hiking, water-skiing, and fishing. While eager to introduce visitors to the scenic beauty of the Shuswaps, the company simultaneously aims to uphold a dedication to environmental stewardship, preserving their beloved home with initiatives that include stocking boats with biodegradable soap and spearheading a comprehensive recycling program.
A tiny ripple glides along the smooth-as-glass water, alerting captain Pete to the fact that he and his passengers are about to have company. Sure enough, within seconds a group of glossy black fins breaks through the sea in a silent, synchronized ballet. A native Washingtonian who has spent his entire life on the water, captain Pete orchestrates San Juan Excursions to grant guests the chance to go head-to-head with nature in moments such as these. As marine naturalists certified by the Whale Museum?s Naturalist Training Program, captain Pete?s crew of passionate guides take to the peaceful waters of the Puget Sound to entertain boatloads of guests with informative facts about area wildlife witnessed during excursions.
The team?s passion for nature informs its low-impact approach to whale and wildlife watching, which is exemplified in the Odyssey, the company's tour boat. Originally a U.S. Navy search-and-rescue vessel forged in 1941, the craft is fueled by biodiesel when possible and maintains a low propeller RPM to minimize the Bono moans it releases into the water column. Though San Juan Excursions specializes in whale watching, it also sends adventurers forth to explore the waters on their own steam during sea-kayak tours.
Harbour Air boosts wingless beings with first-class flights on carbon-neutral aircrafts, boutique stratosphere accessories, and picturesque seaplane tours. Eco-friendly seaplanes furnished with first-class amenities such as leather interiors and hands-free cloud parallel parking launch daily and link Lower Mainland and the Islands through panoramic flights that last 20 to 50 minutes ($156.53–$563.38 round trip). The airline's auspicious boutique furnishes cloud gazers with flight-centric merchandise for gifts and seagull bribes. A small Beaver model plane ($41.99) carves its niche among collectibles with locally handcrafted western maple wood, and a Dax Wilkinson T-shirt ($34.99) celebrates Canadian aviation.
The Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery Visitors Centre aims to educate and entertain visitors with programs and events centred on the world of water-breathing animals. The centre's indoor and outdoor facilities allow guests to observe live fish in aquariums as well as in their natural habitat. Educational programs, which are designed to reach specific age groups, include It's a Trout's Life for grades K–2, What's That Habitat? for grades 2–5, and Trout Fast Food, in which visitors in grades 2–5 analyze the insects that trout seek out when their waterproof refrigerators go empty. In the all-ages Learn to Fish program, aspiring anglers learn how to identify fish and use different lures to attract specific species. The program also focuses on responsible fishing ethics and proper fish-handling techniques to increase survival during catch-and-release.