We can have the best holiday ever right here in our exquisite corner of heaven. I am so grateful for all the love, care and foresight that continue to go into local initiatives, such as preserving our local parks, extending the seawall and maintaining our lovely surroundings. Here are some favourite ways to spend a few hours on these glorious summer days and also some healthful tips for keeping fit and feasting.

The Vancouver seawall can now take you all the way from Kitsilano Beach to Stanley Park. Cycle along the new stretch that begins at the south end of the Cambie Bridge and extends to Science World. Continue along the north side of False Creek to Stanley Park; pass through the tunnel and circle Stanley Park along the seawall in a counter-clockwise direction.

When you reach the concession at Third Beach, you might stop for an excellent veggie burger on a whole-wheat bun. The seawall accommodates baby buggies, wheelchairs, skaters, pedestrians and more; just take care to stay on the appropriate path. For cycling maps and other routes, visit http://vancouver.ca/engsvcs/transport/cycling/routes.htm

Able cyclists head for Wendell’s in Fort Langley to enjoy berry crumble and other tasty items. Two blocks away, walk around the Fort; exhibits include First Nations information and artifacts. In addition to the Adobe Grill, there are plenty of fun eateries to the east and south.

While visiting Gastown or the Vancouver Public Library, you might also want to sample one of Vancouver’s best massages at Handy Health Centre at 422 Richards Street near Hastings. At the same address, stop for a juice or raw entree at Gorilla Food.

Treat youngsters or out of town visitors to a mini-voyage on one of the small ferries that run between the Maritime Museum, the Aquatic Centre, Science World and Granville Island. They’ll love the adventure. At Granville Island, watch musicians and entertainers and find foods for every taste. Walk under the Burrard Bridge to the Planetarium where you can enjoy kite flyers and beaches. At Kitsilano Pool, if you do 12 lengths, you’ve swum a mile.

Stroll along 4th Avenue west of Burrard Street; you’ll discover a multitude of fascinating stores and restaurants, including Annapurna, Sejuiced and the Naam.

In Vancouver, we can easily be international travellers. We can visit India at 49th and Main, immerse ourselves in Chinatown and then head up Lonsdale to North Vancouver’s Middle Eastern restaurants. For a mix of ethnic experiences, we can wander along Commercial Drive, stopping at Eternal Abundance for juice or a raw lasagne.

Pack a picnic and rent a kayak from Tayaka Tours in Cates Park or from Deep Cove. Paddle over to Belcarra Park’s beach.

Heading east along Highway 1, turn off at exit 104 (Yellow Market) to swim in Cultus Lake. Enroute, stop at Yarrow’s deli, a delightful little business run by the new Yarrow Ecovillage.

At Harrison Hot Springs, walk along the lake or beach. Soak in the internationally famous mineral waters; the public pool can have the feeling of a peaceful, meditative Asian bathhouse. Then perhaps dine and dance at the Hotel’s Copper Room. (The menu includes a delicious, vegan Portobello entree.)

Just past Hope, wander through abandoned train tunnels on the Kettle Valley Rail Trail. In Hope, stop at the Blue Moose coffee house for salads, wraps and beverages.

Victoria is a delightful place to cycle. Take a lunch or stop by the Green Cuisine vegetarian restaurant in the square at 560 Johnson Street and have them pack you one. Then head along the Galloping Goose trail.

If you take a trip to any of the Gulf Islands, the ferry transports you to island time. You’ll happily idle the day away at Saltspring’s Morningside Organic Bakery and Café or simply enjoy the beauty of Galiano Island’s Serenity by the Sea.

Vesanto Melina is a dietitian and author based in Langley, BC. Call            604-882-6782       for a personal consultation or visit www.nutrispeak.com
Also see www.healthyschoolfood.org to get a year’s worth of daily Wakeup Wellness Messages for schools for a $50 donation.

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