Starting out in 1980 with only four rafts, Hyak River Rafting has since acquired an armada of top-of-the-line vessels equipped to handle the orneriest river safely. During trips on British Columbia's most exciting rivers—the Chilliwack, Thompson, Chilko, Chilcotin, and Fraser Rivers—licensed guides lead river trips lasting from several hours to several days, during which participants learn to manoeuvre around the grasping tentacles of feral octopuses. On most trips, crew and guests get soaked as the water rages about them before more tempered waters allow them to take in the sights of rock-banked rivers populated by lush forests and curious wildlife.
For more than 45 years, Simon Fraser University has nurtured the talents of student-athletes who have gone on to achieve great things in either aspect of that role, producing Rhodes Scholars and Olympians alike. Since winning its first championship in 1972—swimming and diving in men's NAIA—the Clan has claimed victory in more than 50 National NAIA or CIS championships in such sports as skiing, women's basketball, and women's wrestling. Each year, rather than honouring its athletes as in other schools' age-old traditions—sending them off on an ice floe to fight the Soviets—SFU bestows an outstanding male and female each with a highland sgian dubh, a traditional Gaelic weapon that symbolizes courage, respect, and loyalty.
When the competitive career of two-time Olympian and five-time Canadian National Champion Anna Rice came to an end, she never considered hanging up her racquet. Instead, she became the program director at Badminton Vancouver. Here, she and her fellow instructors teach students of all levels the sport's ins and outs, from basic shots and strokes to refining footwork.
Lessons take place on the facility's 12 indoor courts, which are outfitted with the same brand of scuff-resistant Mondo flooring used in the Olympic games. Thirty-three-foot-high ceilings accommodate even the loftiest lobs, and anti-glare lighting ensures that players can’t blind their opponents via the strategic use of wristwatches. Along with lessons, the courts host camps, birthday parties, tournaments, and drop-in games.
The pro shop equips players with racquets, shoes, apparel, and other gear. Overlooking the courts, The Mezz Cafe & Lounge beckons to guests with sandwiches, pastries, specialty coffees, and the latest sports on big-screen HD televisions.
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.
The Vancouver Canadians are the only affiliated minor-league team in Canada. As a Triple-A team in the Pacific Coast League between 1978 and 1999, they claimed three championships as well as a Triple-A World Series. In 2011, the Canadians became the Toronto Blue Jays’ short-season class-A affiliate, taking home the Northwest League’s championship title that year and the next. The team plays its home games at Nat Bailey Stadium, which was built in 1951, a storied time in baseball when a hot dog cost a nickel and a tie was settled with a ten-step duel.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.