Years ago, Olympic Game Farm was a home for actors. The bears, cougars, and big cats who lived on the premises were all movie stars?most often for Disney Studios, which worked with and filmed the farm's animals for 28 years. The farm's founder, Lloyd Beebe, served as the go-to trainer, and his bond with the wildlife was reputedly amazing. During those early years, he even managed to tame five wolverines, who would eat raw egg out of his hands.
Today, Lloyd's grandson Robert runs the farm. For the most part, the animals are no longer film celebrities?although footage of the famous waving bears has gone viral and even appeared in a Carrie Underwood video, and some animal actors from elsewhere still retire to the farm. The majority are descendants of the original film animals, or rescues. Visitors can drive through the park to see zebras, elk, wolves, and lions, then head to the petting farm for an up-close encounter. They can even feed many of the animals?whole-grain bread is an accepted treat.
Nestled in the rolling hills outside Saanich, Connect and Ride's horseback-riding facility sits in the center of a pastoral wonderland. A rustic red farmhouse serves as a gathering point for horses and their caretakers, while an enclosed outdoor riding area hosts Western and English-style riding lessons. To train more advanced riders and their horses, staff members bring out jump fences and other obstacles. Instructors also lead multiple-hour horseback-rides along cool, wooded trails that sometimes end with a swim at a nearby lake.
Like the colourful fan of its namesake's tail feathers, diamonds and triangles of billiard balls nestle into racks on Peacock Billiards' tables. A grid of 30 tables in an array of sizes and colours populates the room, surrounded by cushy leather couches and bright murals. Beneath the clatter of sunken shots can be heard the rhythmic tap of table-tennis matches and the furious spinning of foosball handles. The James Joyce Bistro resides in the corner, where patrons sitting in circular booths enjoy drinks and nachos served in cored-out copies of Dubliners.
The Braefoot Community Association was created to enrich its community with sports and recreational activities. Each of their programs is designed to help kids develop social and physical skills while encouraging healthy lifestyle habits and instilling in them an eagerness to remain active instead of imitating plastic-molded mannequins. Kids aged 16 months to 12 years can undergo non-competitive instruction in roller hockey, soccer, basketball, baseball, and tennis, and owners of fancy feet can take pre-professional and children's level dance instruction with the Westcoast Academy of Performing Arts. During the summer, a slew of camps keep children occupied and involved, teaching kids kayaking or biking basics, or helping them hone their soccer or hockey skills. The organization’s multi-use facility also has grounds for the Lakehill Soccer Association and the Saanich Lacrosse Association to play on and is working toward expanding their activities to include adult programs.
Docked inside British Columbia's former Supreme Court building in Bastion Square, the Maritime Museum of BC provides visitors with a bridge to the province's past through an affluent collection of nautical and legal treasures. More than 35,000 unique artifacts—plus 40,000 photographs—join forces to ferry eyes through history, including exhibits that showcase notable pirates, explorers, heritage vessels, and shipwrecks.
A fleet of three iconic sailboats has also dropped anchor beneath the museum's roof, and despite its age and creaky joints from years of playing pond hockey, the oldest operating birdcage elevator in North America still totes guests from floor to floor. Aside from its seafaring trove, the museum also runs public and school programs on topics such as immigration, pirates, women at sea, and the Canadian Coast Guard.