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.
To the knowledgeable and licensed staff at No Limit Charters, “Cool Change” means more than just the result of storing toonies in the freezer. This is, in fact, also the name of their 28-foot vessel, which departs Victoria Harbour daily for four- and eight-hour fishing charters. During these trips, anglers seek salmon and take advantage of regional bottom fishing with the help of two GPS sonar chart plotters, Shimano rods and reels, and Scotty down riggers. If nothing’s biting, crews still enjoy their cruises with tunes that stream from XM satellite radio.
Operated by the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival Society, Dragon Zone makes it easy for people to experience the ancient art of dragon boating, as well as many other types of paddle sports. In addition to 10- and 20-foot dragon boats, the club equips guests with marathon canoes, six-person outriggers, one-person outriggers, and kayaks.
For those who are new to dragon boating, Dragon Zone offers four-week classes that introduce basic techniques and get students used to working as a team. More specialized workshops supplement foundational skills with more advanced instruction, which is especially useful for anyone who decides to join a racing team.
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.
U.B. Diving's founder Sean Smyrichinsky and his team of experienced scuba divers create scenes of underwater adventure every day from their fully stocked shop and on-site dive school. Their scuba charter boat, equipped with hot showers and a heated cabin, travels to areas such as Chrome Island or Flora Islet so divers can frolic with giant octopi and six-gill sharks beneath the water's surface. A PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, Sean also teaches classes that grant novices their first dive into open waters, taking the most committed students to Dive Master levels or preparing ocean walkers for careers as ambassadors to Atlantis. Additionally, Sean and his crew rent out gear by the day and contract themselves out for deep diving and wreck exploration through their commercial division.