In past years we have made a summer long weekend trip out of our home area to another destination in the province. When we lived in the Okanagan we always traveled to the Island for the July long weekend. When we lived in Whistler we travelled to the Okanagan. This year since we live in Vancouver and absolutely love it here we decided that instead of planning a vacation that would take us out of the Lower Mainland area that we would instead try to stay closer to home and be ‘tourists in our own town’. So we have recently been reading the local papers and magazines and keeping an eye out for all activities related to sports, wine, dining or other interesting fun events upcoming in the next few months. And there is definitely no shortage of things to do.

To kick off our summer of activities we decided to participate in the Giant Critical Mass Bike ride. Critical Mass Vancouver is a grassroots reclamation of public space – a bike ride and skate – held the last Friday of every month. Critical Mass is a worldwide movement with monthly events around the world and over 230 in North America alone. With June being Bike Month in Vancouver this month’s ride was named the ‘Giant Critical Mass’ as huge numbers were expected. And huge numbers there were. We had not participated in the ride before but suspect that this one was larger than normal. We rode over the Granville Bridge and down 4th to Burrard and from the middle of the Burrard Bridge we could still see the tail end of the riders on the other bridge. The riders ranged from families with children to teens and all the way up and the crowd was as diverse as you would expect in Vancouver. It was a great experience at the beginning but we chose to leave the ride after about an hour as a few of the riders around us began to get aggressive with some of the drivers waiting at the intersections. We will however give it another try in July.

To keep our summer busy and full of Vancouver activities we have purchased tickets to a few upcoming local events including Les Miserables at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage in July; a BC Lions three-game pack to see Calgary, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg in July and August; a Vancouver Canadians ‘nooner’ in August; and Women’s Hockey Canada Cup USA vs. Canada and the Gold Medal Game in September. In the free category we plan to take in the three days of concerts at VAG as part of the World Music Festival August 4th to 6th; the HSBC Celebration of Light July 22nd, 25th, 29th and August 1st; a Community Garden Walking Tour; Rockin in the Park at CHCC July 11th, and continued weekly visits to the West End Farmers Market on Saturdays. Of course, many other things will come up and we will be sure to write about those as well. While not on the Lower Mainland, but still close, we have also planned trips to Bowen Island and to Whistler. With these trips and all of the other free and ticketed events coming up it is sure to be a great summer!