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Summer Bucket List

What are you doing this summer?

We asked your fellow residents what was on their bucket list this summer, and they provided us with lots of ideas! The new academic year is in full swing, but make sure you take some time for yourself to relax and unwind. So when you start thinking about what to do on your next day off, or post-call day, give one of these suggestions a try. Also, make sure you check your local city’s tourism website for a list of all the events happening near you.

Markets & Food Festivals

Check out a local farmer’s market, and make something delicious with your haul (like these highly rated Blueberry Muffins).

  • Vancouver has many farmer’s markets; explore the one in your neighbourhood, or be adventurous and visit all of them!
  • Salt Spring Island has a fun and varied farmer’s market every Saturday, it’s kid friendly with everything from artists to musicians to craftsmen to farmers.
  • Penticton hosts a huge farmer’s market every Saturday, with one of the highest percentages of fresh food courtesy of the Okanagan region in which it is located. Penticton Farmer’s Market and the Downtown Community Market combined account for upwards of 260 vendors.
  • Kamloops Farmer’s Market is well-known by local chefs as being an excellent source of protein that is free-range without hormones or antibiotics.
  • Victoria’s Moss Street Market has over 90 vendors, a tent especially for kids, and is held year-round every Saturday.
  • The Kelowna farmer’s market’s 165+ vendors showcase the best of the Okanagan region.

If you’re in the Lower Mainland, check out a local night market. There are tons to choose from, from the International Summer Night Market (also known as Panda Market) in Richmond, Richmond Night Market, and North Vancouver’s Shipyards Night Market, or the Italian Night Market (Aug 19). You’re guaranteed to find delicious food, creative desserts, and lots of fun.

The largest food truck festival in Canada is happening this weekend, August 20th, in New Westminster. The 3rd annual Columbia StrEAT Food Truck Fest will have 70 food trucks plus 30 food outlets, multiple beer gardens and live entertainment!

Like cheese? Whistler is home to the Great Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival this Saturday, August 20th. It’s fully of cheesy activities and tastes!

Like beer and wine? To Vancouverites we say three words: microbrewery bike tour. Here’s a map! If you’re on the island, you can hit up the annual Great Canadian Beer Festival (Sept 9-10), and Victoria Wine Festival (Sept 23-24). Whistler also hosts their Whistler Village Beer Festival September 16-18th.

Taste the season’s harvest at the Feast of Fields on Vancouver Island (Aug 28) and in Metro Vancouver (Sept 11), and in Prince George at their annual Potato Festival (Sept 4-5).

Fairs & Arts Festivals

Attend a festival – from Langley’s Arts Alive (August 20), the BC Renaissance Festival in Maple Ridge (August 27-28), to the Steveston Dragon Boat Festival (August 20), the TD Vancouver Chinatown Festival (August 13-14), and Pacific National Exhibition, Vancouver’s annual fair – since 1910! – there’s an embarrassment of festive riches on offer in the Lower Mainland. In September there is TaiwanFest (Sep 3-5) and Vancouver International Flamenco Festival (Sept 10-20).

For fringe festivals, there is one happening right now in Nanaimo, until August 21st, and another in Vancouver (Sept 8-18).

Outside of the Lower Mainland, there is the Cultural Heritage Festival in Tofino (Aug 28 – Sep 4), the End of Summer Vintage, Retro & Collectibles Show in Sidney (Sep 4) — think “Canadian Pickers” — the Interior Provincial Exhibition in Armstrong (Aug 31- Sep 4), the Rogue Arts Festival in Gibson (Aug 26-28), Atmosphere Gathering music festival in Cumberland (Aug 19-21), Summertime Music Series in Nanaimo (Aug 4-25), and Rifflandia music festival in Victoria (Sep 15-18).

Do you like ShakespeareBard on the Beach is Vancouver’s big annual Shakespeare event throughout the summer; this year’s slate includes productions of Pericles, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Romeo and Juliet, and Othello. Or for a saucy twist on the old classics, check out the Fakespeare Festival at the York Theatre in Vancouver until August 28th. For those on the island, check out Bard at the Barn in September.

summer festival music crowd

Places & Activities

  • Grab your floatie (some nice ones are here, here, and here), and make waves at a local lake. BC is filled with beautiful and very swimmable lakes, and in summer they are calling your name.
  • Go on a hike off of the beaten track… leave The Grind, The Chief, or Garibaldi Lake behind, and get out there! Try the Othello Tunnels for something a little different.
  • Take in a Canadians baseball game at Queen Elizabeth Park.
  • Watch ice cream be made for you with liquid nitrogen at Mister in Yaletown, or try the Salted Caramel Gelato at Philly CheeseSteak on Davie St.
  • Catch an outdoor movie at Second Beach in Stanley Park! (Evo Summer Cinema Series)
  • Road trip to interior BC for camping. Or if you’re on Vancouver Island, escape from city life to one of the smaller islands such as Salt Spring or Quadra.
  • Try your hand at stand-up paddle boarding, or rent a kayak.
  • Until August 20, spot the International Space Station when it orbits within view of Vancouver.
  • Have a truly unique experience at Fly-Over Canada.
  • Find a meditation oasis in the middle of Vancouver at Sun Yat Sen Garden.
  • Learn a new skill: take a painting class at 4 Cats or swashbuckle at Academie Duello.
  • Escape from a locked room using your brain or bounce around the Extreme Air Park!
  • Visit Science World and play ALL the games even thought they’re meant for kids.
  • Go whale-watching.
  • Ride ‘The Beast’ at the Playland repeatedly… and try not to be sick.
  • Go to any beach and build your own Inukshuk. Then have a BBQ with your friends while you watch the sunset.
  • Bike the boardwalk or go for the more adrenaline-pumping mountain biking.
  • Watch the Rio Olympics at a local sports bar with your friends and lots of “potential” friends.
  • Take a dance class. Robson Square does outdoor salsa lessons on Sunday afternoon!
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author: Melissa Nilan