Led by this season's high-scoring trio of Corey Small, Rhys Duch, and Jamie Shewchuk, the Victoria Shamrocks expect to sling themselves into the Western Lacrosse Association playoffs. With the defensive keenness of newly acquired goaltender Chris Levis, the Shamrocks may just pass, block, and salsa dance their way toward another Mann Cup appearance. With a general admission ticket, spectators at any of the two remaining home games⎯Friday, July 22 against Burnaby and Friday, July 29 against Nanaimo⎯have some latitude in where they can sit or choose to stand around the concourse to narrow their proximity to the Shamrocks' mascot, Rocky. Free parking allows visitors to save money for snack-bar treats and bring their caravan of covered wagons at no extra cost.
In the verdant Cowichan Valley, Pacific Northwest Raptors cares for a diverse flock of birds of prey—owls twist their heart-shaped heads curiously, and hawks look on with eyes like copper coins. The staff provides them a safe habitat while educating the public about their habits, hunting methods, and favourite brands of feather cosmetics. Eagles and falcons ride warm zephyrs overhead daily, searching for prey high over the canopy when they aren’t perched back at the centre.
Avian experts demo the birds’ skills during walks, which include the opportunity for patrons to have a hawk or owl land on a gloved hand or already impressive jaw line. Intensive workshops and week-long falconry courses let guests settle in with the animals beneath the towering trees, which hush each other liltingly in the wind. Regular family events at the centre facilitate bonding with the regal raptors, many of which are trained in film work and pest control.
The fishermen lay their catches out on the dock: a haul of meaty king salmon, halibut, and toothy ling cod. The guides of Reel Obsession Sport Fishing take out anglers all year to reap catches such as these, leading charters along Victoria and Vancouver Island into prime fishing waters such as Zeballos, Esperanza Inlet, and Nootka Sound. These spots teem with different species of salmon, depending on the season. During the spring and summer, trophy chinook and coho salmon flood the waters on their way to spawn in the river systems. Some years also bring pink salmon, distinguished by their humped backs and fondness for wearing pink sweatbands. Halibut also lurk beneath the salmon runs, with occasional lunkers known as barn doors reaching more than 200 pounds. In addition to outfitting guests for salmon and halibut fishing, they also have a scenic west coast lodge and guides can also take them out for crabbing, prawning, and on wildlife tours to see bald eagles, seals, and migrating whales.
Located mere steps from its eponymous body of water, English Bay Bike Rentals pairs patrons with myriad modes of transportation, from hybrid and junior mountain bikes to inline skates. All rentals include locks, helmets, and maps for navigating to nearby sights such as Yaletown. If English Bay’s hour- to month-long rentals don’t offer enough riding time, consider purchasing a used bike from its selection. The shop’s expert technicians can also repair and tune-up any malfunctioning bike, as well as deck it out in accessories such as lights and baskets.
Eschewing the impersonal aura often present in chain movie theatres, Sidney's Star Cinema remains a steadfastly independent, community-driven outpost for viewing films. A new lineup of moving pictures is presented weekly and includes offerings to sate all manner of cinematic tastes, from blockbuster action flicks to independent documentaries to filmed performances of Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet. The theatre has shown its commitment to the community by starting a film society, which brings movie buffs together for discussion-filled meetings. While the theatre's projectionists currently operate one digital projector, they have recently embarked on an initiative to raise funds for a second projector to keep the first one from getting too lonely.
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.
The Salish Sea hosts one of the largest killer-whale gatherings on the planet. From its three large pods of fish-eating resident orcas to the pods of transient orcas that hunt for larger mammalian game, the Salish's waters often churn with a flurry of activity. Five Star's captains give passengers a glimpse of this underwater entertainment by charting courses through the sea's whale-filled waters atop stable catamarans outfitted with four separate viewing platforms. From these lookouts, guests may spot the black and white behemoths, as well as mink, gray, and humpback whales and other marine life. Between sightings, crews keep parties comfortable within the heated cabin by supplying them with complimentary coffee, hot chocolate, and liquefied Herman Melville novels.