Now the only remaining farm on Vancouver’s North Shore, Maplewood Farm—nestled along the banks of the Seymour River—was founded in the early 1900s by Mr. Akiyo Kogo and operated as a successful dairy farm before its designation as a rural heritage site in 1975. Dedicated to introducing visitors of all ages to the inner workings of a busy farm, such as the best time of day to hug a lamb, a team of farmhands circulates about the pastoral 5-acre plot entertaining visitors with educational presentations that include cow-milking demonstrations and the feeding of pigs and horses. Nascent ranchers can commune with nature as they arrange birdseed feasts on the ground for the farm’s chickens and ducks or power a pedal tractor around the grounds. An adorable assortment of livestock hangs around throughout the day, patiently fielding questions on why Old McDonald is allowed to break the ‘I before E’ rule with his cries of "E-I-E-I-O."
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.
When doctors told Joey and Darryl Simon that their son Jet’s premature birth could result in learning disabilities, the couple immersed him in the world of art as a means of helping him overcome any educational obstacles. Their tutelage and care paid off, resulting in an impressive array of paintings from their child at a very young age. Jet’s talent and creativity inspired his parents to establish 4Cats Arts Studio in hopes of unleashing the inner artists of other children as well as adults. The Simons accomplish this mission through hands-on sessions in mixed media, painting, and Artist Focus classes, which concentrate on the histories and styles of certain artists, such as Picasso’s cubism and Andy Warhol’s self-portraits of soup cans.
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Fraser River Bike Tours & Rental's Tom Littlewood has been an avid cyclist for nearly 30 years. When the former psychologist first hit the roads of New Westminster, especially the Queensborough Bridge, the most common sight was of big rigs as they rumbled past. Now, with bike-friendly routes such as the Queensborough Loop being built along the Fraser River, Littlewood and other cyclists hear not the roar of traffic but the bark of sea lions as they park themselves on the shores for a front seat at the salmon runs. Eagles, heron, and other wildlife also congregate during runs, forming a rich, natural tapestry that cyclists pedal by on one of Tom's bike rentals, often during guided tours. At first, biking for Tom was not a passion, but a prescription. At 33, his doctor gave him a choice—undergo open-heart surgery or saddle up on a bicycle. Tom soon incorporated his prescription pedalling into both his personal and professional life. He began advising his own patients, who were afflicted with anxiety or sleep disorders, to cycle for the exercise, the fresh air, and the sassy feeling of wearing spandex in public. Later, he worked with disadvantaged children to teach them bicycle mechanics in a program he also helped establish in other places, including Cuba. Today, Tom estimates that he bikes 300–400 kilometres a week. He laps the Queensborough Loop five or six times a week with groups. As an advocate of biking who strongly associates the sport with weight loss, good health, and peace of mind, Tom enjoys sharing his passion with others at Fraser River Bike Tours & Rental. Perhaps even more than relaxed group rides, he likes his power rides. So even on days after he's led tours, he climbs aboard his two-wheeled steed and begins pedalling without a moment's hesitation.
Drawing inspiration from a centuries-old German tradition, wherein people would warm away their winter blues and welcome the holiday season with uproarious festivities, the Vancouver Christmas Market fills the night air with mirth. Rows of lighted evergreens and more than 45 wooden huts lined with pine branches and twinkling lights spread out under the sky, allowing guests to duck in and examine European-themed, often handcrafted, wares. In addition to traditional German foods—bratwurst, fruitcake-like stollen, and mugs of hot mulled glühwein—the huts also house vendors slinging all manner of gifts and decorations. Woodcarvings, knitted scarves, and ornate beer steins perfectly slip into stockings, populate the space beneath a Christmas tree, or serve as spot-savers in the local hot tub, and delicate glass ornaments or nutcrackers help bring Christmas cheer into homes.
While guests peruse the collection of edible and giftable goods, they can also enjoy the sights and sounds of performances by traditional European choirs and dance troupes. At the on-site Kids' Market, a variety of age-appropriate activities entertain younger children, including a festive carousel, chocolate-lollipop-decorating stations, and gingerbread mascots.