China is famous for its breathtaking and meticulously landscaped gardens, the most famous of which were designed hundreds of years ago, during the Ming Dynasty. The ancient tradition is alive and well at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, where guests will find the same signature symmetrical arrangements and winding paths popular on the other side of the world.
Yet the garden isn't simply a recreation of the real thing?it was built by actual Chinese artisans from Suzhou, who constructed each walkway and hall in the traditional manner, using intricate joinery that does not require nails, screws, or glue. And, just like the gardens of a thousand years ago, the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen garden boasts a design that aims to strike a balance between four elements: rock, water, plants, and architecture.
The rock: The garden's rock formations range from a man-made mountain at the center of the garden to a scattering of water-worn limestone boulders. The common denominator? They're all imported from the Suzhou's Lake Tai, down to the pebble.
Windsure Adventure Watersports' campers will never look at water the same way again. After five days of immersive instruction, certified instructors have transformed them into watersport experts. The instructors teach kids and adults how to control their vessels, and the bay surrounds surfers with views of sandy beaches, the distant Vancouver skyline, and lush evergreen trees that creep up mountainsides.
Common sights are elongated paddles that cut through its calm water as Windsure's standup-paddleboarding instructors teach classes how to propel themselves forward. Back on the beach, others learn to slide across the sand during skim boarding camps or lessons.
At Richmond Go Karts, one- and two-seater go-karts burn rubber as they race around a curvy, tire-lined course. The half-mile track, which can accommodate up to 25 karts at a time, features straightaways and a heart-stopping hairpin turn. Between races, riders can visit The Pit Stop, an arcade filled with coin-operated games, or refuel at the snack bar's covered picnic area. During the warmer months, engines start revving at noon and don't stop until the sun goes down.
Meet Eddy the Engine. Eddy was an English mining train before settling down at Bear Creek Park Train in the spring of 1996. He's adapted to his new environs well, cheerfully hauling passengers through a seasonally decorated tunnel and into the cottonwood forests of Bear Creek Park. Eddy chugs past Bear Creek Floral Garden and across King Creek Bridge before pulling back into the station, where passengers can toot his whistle before heading off for an ice cream or a game of mini golf.
Speaking of mini golf, the park's 18-hole course offers an entirely different way to commune with Mother Nature. Each hole incorporates the surrounding landscape in a subtle yet unmistakable way. The putting greens blend into towering cedar, hemlock, spruce, fir trees, and gurgling water.
Parking and admission is free at Castle Fun Park, allowing guests to customize their experience by only paying for the attractions and games they choose. Every day from 10 a.m. until midnight, kids and adults of all ages explore activities including mini golf with a view of the mountains. The go kart track, bumper-car arena, and remote-controlled boat pond sate needs for speed, and the shooting gallery and softball and baseball cages let athletes flex their skills. More than 200 games buzz in the arcade, including air hockey and pinball, which strengthens hand-eye coordination and improves players' ability to follow the bouncing ball during sing-along TV jingles.
Like the colourful fan of its namesake's tail feathers, diamonds and triangles of billiard balls nestle into racks on Peacock Billiards' tables. A grid of 30 tables in an array of sizes and colours populates the room, surrounded by cushy leather couches and bright murals. Beneath the clatter of sunken shots can be heard the rhythmic tap of table-tennis matches and the furious spinning of foosball handles. The James Joyce Bistro resides in the corner, where patrons sitting in circular booths enjoy drinks and nachos served in cored-out copies of Dubliners.