Tourists usually lump together Vancouver as one big city, but in reality, it’s so much more. Metro Vancouver, the district surrounding the heart of Vancouver, is composed of 21 municipalities, each containing their own hidden gems.
Below are a list of what to do if you ever get bored in Metro Vancouver!
via Vancouver Trails
Looking for a tour of the Fraser Valley? Look no further. Paddlewheeler Riverboat Tours offers tours through Fort Langley, Steveston, and Pitt Lake. It also has the option of lunch/dinner cruises as well as a ‘pub night out’. Based in New Westminster, the company has both 40 passenger and 100 passenger paddlewheelers, they combine great company, food, and scenery all into one.
Bike riding at Barnston Island
A 10 kilometre loop around the island, Barnston Island is the perfect way to unwind and enjoy the sun on your bike. A 10 minute ferry ride is required to get to the island, which departs at Surrey Bend Park.
The largest and last remaining peat bog in North America, Burns Bog serves as ‘the lungs of the Lower Mainland.’ Located in Delta, BC, over 103 migratory birds have been spotted in the reserve. The Burns Bog Conservation Society hosts Nature Walks (the next one is on August 13th), or you can go solo and wander through the bog.
A 4.5 kilometre loop, it’s an intermediate hike for those are looking for a less strenuous version of the Grouse Grind. With exceptional views and a workout, this hike is a must do.
Rent a Bike
Based in the heart of Steveston, Richmond, Village Bikes is a quaint little bike shop offers bike sales, repairs and rentals. Bike rentals are $35/day, and come with a helmet and a lock. Take a jaunt on wheels around the historic waterfront in style!
Located in South Surrey, Redwood Park has a variation of tree species, from the Monkey Puzzle to the classic Redwood tree, which happens to be the largest tree species in the world. Dedicated to the Brown brothers, this park features a treehouse, a playground, a 5.2k leisurely hiking trail, and never-ending spots to picnic.
A trail that laid its tracks through both the urban city and nature, the Traboulay trail is based in Port Coquitlam and consists of a 25 kilometre loop that loops around the community. Named after the Mayor Len Traboulay, it was originally developed as an idea to celebrate Canada’s 100th birthday. It now runs through downtown Port Coquitlam, Colony Farm, the Pitt River, Coquitlam River, and Hyde Creek.
Delta’s largest park, Watershed Park features 11 kilometres of trails for hikers and horseback riders. It also has a spectacular viewpoint, looking out straight into Mud Bay. Once a year in April, Watershed Park has its annual Fish Release event, including describing to visitors the importance of salmon habitats.
Become One With Nature
Go Whale Watching
There’s nothing better than catching the beauty of majestic whales. Vancouver Whale Watching thought so too, when they started their company in 1998. With a 90% success rate, Vancouver Whale Watching prides themselves on being environmentally friendly while simultaneously providing distinctive customer service. Their guarantee is “if you don’t see a whale you can come again for free until you do” – so book now and have a whale of a time!
Have a few hoots at O.W.L Orphaned Wildlife Society
A non-profit organization based in Delta that was founded in 1985, its focus is on the “rehabilitation and release of injured and orphaned birds”. O.W.L specializes in caring for birds of prey, intaking over 400 a year. Public tours are available from 10am to 3pm daily, with a ‘by donation’ admission fee.
Find out the buzz behind bees
Honeybee Centre, a commercial honey farm company prides itself on being the largest pollinator of blueberries in Western Canada. Since 2000 when they opened in Cloverdale, they have grown tremendously, now having a store, a learning centre, contribution to charity events and ‘bee wrangling’ on film sets. Drop by over the weekend for a public, interactive tour that includes a beekeeping demonstration!
Another trail in Port Coquitlam, Colony Farm Regional Park is known for its diverse species of birds, providing a habitat for over 200 birds. A great place to spend the day and go birdwatching, it also has an excess of picnic tables for stops if need be.
In the heart of the Fraser River Estuary, the George C. Riefel Migratory Bird Sanctuary is a mixture of wetlands and marshes, consisting of 850 acres which acts as a refuge for wildlife. This year will be the sanctuary’s 53rd anniversary, and is known as as one of the top ten birdwatching sites in BC.
On August 21st, the Delta Community Animal Shelter will be holding their annual Animal Expo! It’ll be held at Ladner Memorial Park and will have fun for the whole family. There’s a ‘Build A Dog House’ competition, games, animals for adoption, and even food trucks. Don’t miss out on a great time!
Vintage Truck Museum
In 2012, the Vintage Truck Museum in Cloverdale opened, otherwise known as the Transportation Heritage site. It consists of 18 vehicles, 14 of them being completely restored, some of them dating back to 1914. Open 10am – 2pm Saturdays, admission is by donation.
SPARC Radio Museum
The Society for Preservation of Antique Radio in Canada (SPARC) is a non-profit society based in Coquitlam, with a focus on preserving communication artifacts. The SPARC society also provides restoration and repair services to old radios. With 10 collections of different era of electronics, the SPARC Radio Museum is sure to take you through a wrinkle in time.
An authentic Chinese Buddhist temple, it was built with the intention of bringing attention to Buddhist philosophy and practices. Dharma talks are held on various Buddhist topics every Saturday morning in English, while Dharma talks that happen in Chinese are held several times throughout the year.
Van Dop Gallery
Based in New Westminster, the Van Dop Gallery was founded in 1996 by Trudy Van Dop. It holds over 100 pieces of contemporary artwork from a variety of mediums, and the gallery’s goal is to “transform art into an intimate experience.” The Van Dop Gallery also provides art consultation services for both home and office.
Named in dedication to Thomas Haney and his family, Haney House was built in 1883, and since then, has remained relatively the same. Each room of the house depicts life back then, with several artifacts and stories to add to the historic theme.
Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site
Once a village where the fishing industry thrived, Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site takes visitors back in time and show them what the village used to be like. Complete with boardwalks, canneries, and boatyards. Open seven days a week, the historic site has free admission.
via Mind and Matter Art
Mind and Matter
Open daily from 12-6pm, the Mind and Matter Gallery was created in honour of Arnold Mikelson, a visionary artist who created wood sculptures. Presently, there are 30 artists featured on monthly rotating exhibits, and two yearly shows.
Although labelled as a farm, Birchwood Dairy consists of a dairy farm, processing plant, country store, and ice cream parlour. Whether visiting for leisure or education, there’s always something new to see and learn on the guided tour of the farm. Open seven days a week, Birchwood Dairy prides itself on promoting agriculture.
With exhibits created by students, the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology is located in the Simon Fraser University. All the artifacts and images are collected and placed in the museum from around the world, mainly focusing on British Columbia. The SFU MAE website was built in 1992 and to this day stands to be one of the first museum websites in the world.
Bored of regular museums? Try something new, like a floating museum. The Samson V Maritime museum was originally a steam powered paddlewheeler that powered through 40 years as a snag puller. Located in Westminster Quay, the museum is open year round.
Want to travel back in time? Head over to Mackin House in Coquitlam. One of the remaining Fraser Hill homes, it has been around since 1909. Named after its first occupant, Henry James Mackin, it holds a great deal of history. Currently restored, it contains artifacts and detail from when it was built. Drop in tours are by donation, and groups of larger than six people are $2 and up.
Burnaby Village Museum
1920’s themed, the Burnaby Village Museum immerses itself fully into the history and culture, with townsfolk dressed the part giving demonstrations in their shops, businesses, and homes. Its vision when it was being built was “a small town that reflects the history of British Columbia.” Admission is free, and carousel rides are $2.60.
Named after the ‘Stewarts’, a pioneer family that came to Surrey and lived on the farmland from 1880-1994, the Historic Stewart Farm showcases early pioneer life at its finest. There are both public tours and solo tours available, and admission is by donation.
via Trading Post Brewery
High Tea at Tracy Cakes
Whether it’s for a special occasion or simply a day out catching up with some friends, high tea is perfect for every occasion. Tracy Cakes Bakery Cafe (both in Murrayville and Abbotsford) offers four different types of high tea menus, including accommodating to kids and gluten free eaters. Their ‘signature high tea’ menu features freshly baked scones, devonshire cream, finger sandwiches, quiches, and tea/coffee. It’s mouth watering just to think about!
Known as Richmond’s “aquatainment” centre, Watermania features a pool with multiple diving boards, whirlpools, waterslides, and wave pool. It also has a 3,000 square foot fitness centre, steam room, and sauna. Over the years, Watermania has been voted “Richmond’s Best Family Amusement Centre”.
Brew over some beers
Breweries are a great place to hang out and try some new flavours. Trading Post Brewery Co. recently opened in Langley, and to sum them up in one sentence: “beer brings people together. Exceptional, high-quality beer craft beer inspires community – and that’s what we’re about.” Drop by today to try it out, right now they’re featuring a Three Bears Breakfast Stout!
via Burnaby Heights
Labelled “one of the best kept secrets in the Lower Mainland”, The Heights in Burnaby is a commercial shopping area that has been around for over 100 years. With 350 unique vendors, trails, and strong sense of community, be sure to check out The Heights for one-of-a-kind finds.
13 locations and counting in Metro Vancouver alone, Escape Rooms have become one of the most popular phenomenons around the world. Not all of them are from the same company, although each room has a different theme and a difficulty level. Do you have what it takes to break out of a room in only 45 minutes?
The Drop Zone
Need an adrenaline rush? Head on over to The Drop Zone in Abbotsford. A privately owned airpark dedicated to skydiving, it has been around since the 1950’s, making it one of the first skydiving centres in North America. Its location offers breathtaking views of Mount Baker, and the instructors combined have 170 years of skydiving experience – it’s a win-win.
White Rock Players Club
A community theatre, White Rock Players Club produces five shows a year, fulfilling every genre from comedy to horror to the classic Christmas play. It was one of the first community theatres to win the Dominion Drama Award, dubbing it “Canada’s Best Theatre Club.”
Held by a non-profit association dedicated to making the farmers market develop and succeed, the Royal City Farmers Market is held in New Westminster. It offers fresh, locally grown produce, crafts made by locals, gourmet food, and entertainment. Every Thursday of the summer, be sure to stop by!
Not too far off from White Rock, Crescent Beach is a quaint beach area. All the houses and shops surrounding the beach look like they’re straight out of a fairytale, and the views are just as dreamlike. The north end of Crescent Beach is Blackie Spit Park, which offers beach access, a dog off-leash area, and several trails.
Bard In The Valley
Think Bard On The Beach, except it’s located in the Fraser Valley. Bard In The Valley, a company which puts on an annual Shakespearian play, will be putting on Taming Of The Shrew this year. Held at Douglas Park in Langley until the end of July, admission is free.
via Mount Lehman Winery
Mount Lehman Winery
A ‘family’ winery, Mount Lehman Winery has won dozens of awards and pride themselves on their products, which are naturally produced wines. They have 15 acres dedicated to their grapes, which they then turn into classic wines such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Merlot. Their tasting room is open Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 5pm.
Castle Fun Park
Fun for all ages, Castle Fun Park has a number of attractions including mini golf, arcade games, go karts, and bowling. Open 364 days a year from 10am to midnight, it’s the perfect place to go whether you’re on a date, with friends, or on a family outing.
A studio where you can drop in and pick and paint your own pottery piece, Club Colour has been around for six years and is located in Langley. Prices range depending on the size of the piece, and includes everything from painting to glazing. Happy painting!