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.
From the views of snow-capped mountains and the cascading Granite Falls of Indian Arm to the bustling public market of Granville Island, the Vancouver area overflows with seafaring escapes. Realizing the abundance of sandy beaches meeting lush green forests, diverse wildlife, totem poles, and charming seaside villages, the owners of Lonsdale Boat Rentals decided they needed to give locals and visitors easy access to the region's splendour. To accomplish this, they offer rentals of Hourston Glascrafts, Bayliners, and fishing boats to licensed boaters. They also create customizable sightseeing tours piloted by experienced captains who ferry passengers to Bowen Island for a coffee or to Deep Cove for dinner at a seaside restaurant. To accommodate groups, the team can charter 40- to 80-foot boats, allowing corporate outings, private parties, or the Brady Bunch's family reunion to take place in a scenic setting.
MAB Ventures Inc., an arts and entertainment agency, does whatever it can to expose the local community to art. In its staff's hands, that could mean connecting clients with a collective of artists seeking custom commissions, hosting art workshops, or organizing art exhibitions that allow the general public to interact with local artists.
One such exhibition is the annual Art World Expo, which showcases everything from painting and photography to fashion and jewelry. The exhibitions often follow a theme—such as 2014's circus theme—and feature live musical performances, fashion shows, and body-painting competitions. After browsing the wares of various artists, expo attendees can purchase their favourite pieces or award the creators with homemade Best in Show ribbons. Proceeds from the event support the Make and Break Arts Foundation.
Tasked with the preservation of British Columbia’s rich railroading history, the West Coast Railway Association’s train enthusiasts curate and maintain a collection of vintage rolling stock and artifacts. The heart of the 90-piece collection lies in the scenic confines of the West Coast Railway Heritage Park. Visitors are free to wonder the space’s wide-open tracks, visiting locomotives including the Royal Hudson, along with rarities such as an 1890 business car and a gently snoring 1905 sleeping car. A miniature railway affords pleasant rides around the 12 acres of grounds. With many pieces of operational equipment still on hand, the association also offers frequent train tours to destinations across British Columbia.
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.
What's proper etiquette for the queen's sommelier? West Coast Wine Education's John Gerum confronted this question head on when he served Queen Elizabeth II. Apparently he made the right choice, as he went on to pour wine for prime ministers, presidents, provincial premiers, and cultural icons during his 20-year career. Gerum's achievement distills three generations of fine-dining experience that was passed down from his father, a chef, and his grandfather, a maitre d'. Wine education was always his passion, so when starting out, he sought personal instruction from the master sommelier Andrew Laliberté and demonstrated a palate refined enough to earn him membership and certification from the International Sommelier Guild. Gerum often merges his know-how with other wine educators to cultivate a roster of classes and hone their delivery. These experts join in delineating scotch terroir and describing the bouquet of a student's favourite pinot-stained shirt with an easy professionalism that has enthralled groups of up to 300 people. They share their expertise with casual drinkers and professionals during two-hour workshops, in consultation for store openings and events, and through appearances on Global TV.