As Canada gears up for the big 1-5-0, so should you. Not that you needed an excuse to explore our vast, beautiful country but if you require a few pointers on how to explore everything our nation has to offer, look no further.
The ParticipACTION 150 Playlist might be the most perfect guide for your family to actively commemorate Canada’s sesquicentennial anniversary. Sign up today and see how many activities you can check off the very-Canadian list all around our magnificent country. We have no doubt you and your loved ones can make it a celebration like no other.
Skate the Rideau
If the weather’s cooperating, why not celebrate early by skating along the world’s largest rink (7.8 km, from downtown Ottawa to Dows Lake, to be exact)? And we wouldn’t blame you if you all capped it off with a BeaverTail. Each.
Hike, Hike, Baby
Whether it’s around the Niagara Escarpment or the vicious Grouse Grind of Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain, get the family in on the action. You can also order your free Parks Canada Discovery Pass and visit parks you’ve never been to before.
If you want to keep the celebration closer to home, get your gloves on and your gardening tools out as you take landscaping to a patriotic level — by adorning your garden, urns and flowerpots with red and white annuals. Or if you want to keep the party going longer, opt for perennials instead.
Family Tree Planting
If flowers aren’t enough, go bigger with trees. Planting them requires a little more oomph and precision, from digging holes exactly the right size required (too deep and the roots don’t have access to enough oxygen; too narrow and the roots can’t properly anchor the tree) to planting the seedlings. But for all the nature lovers in your family, it’s a great opportunity to appreciate our environment even more — all while upping the arboreal quotient.
Every province and territory boasts spectacular parks to set up a tent, make s’mores by the fire, stare up at the stars and enjoy the great outdoors.
It’s not just for grown-ups! Sure, some axe-throwing establishments are reserved for those 18 and over but other places allow kids to take part as long as they throw the hatchet in a safe manner and get a parent or guardian’s approval. You’ll have a blast and will be talking about it for weeks to come.
Before we started throwing axes for fun, there was the simple act of wood chopping. Sure, you can get chopped wood but where’s the fun in that? If you need it for a campfire, that’s one thing but you and your family can also make a game of it (as long as you all understand how to safely handle an axe). All you need is an axe, safety goggles and wood — and a big space between the two choppers — and whomever gets through their pile of wood first wins. Chop chop.
Curling is so Canadian, yet many Canucks have never tried it. With everyone on equal footing (or not, depends on how you handle the ice), you and your loved ones should give it a go in what could be the start of a family tradition.
Swimming in a pool is great but wouldn’t bigger be better? Scratch that. How about GREATER — as in, a Great Lake? Lakes Ontario, Huron, Erie, Michigan and Superior are, well, superior, not to mention the largest on the planet so why not tackle all five, just to say you did?
Just Add Water
Kayaking, canoeing, rowing, sailing or dragon boating — recreational water sports that every family member can take part in. Just be sure everyone’s got their lifejackets on.
Take a page out of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s book and ride the waves in majestic Tofino, B.C., on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
Hit the Slopes
Whistler Blackcomb offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the world, whether you’re on the bunny hill or black diamond. Make it a family affair!
Love and Basketball
Get the fam together for some four-on-four, or even a friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Because there’s nothing better than playing a game a Canadian dude invented.
Hockey Night and Day in Canada
Basketball is a favourite of many Canadians (go Raptors!), but it’s hockey that’s considered the national sport. Set up the nets on your hopefully quiet street, grab sticks for the whole family, and be prepared to shout “Car!”. A lot.
Lacrosse My Heart
Hockey may be considered our country’s national sport but officially, it’s lacrosse. Considered the fastest game on two feet, it combines the best qualities of other sports like hockey, football, soccer and basketball and why aren’t we ALL playing it?
Doesn’t matter what age you are, everybody loves a good scavenger hunt. Parks Canada has great tips for hiders and seekers, so divide your family into teams and once it’s all sorted, turn on your GPS devices (or grab a pencil and paper) and get geocaching.
Actual Sun Salutations
Yoga studios are the obvious venue of choice but in the summer months many parks across the country offer sessions so you can take your savasanas outdoors. Lululemon even hosts free lunchtime sessions on the lawn in front of Parliament in Ottawa, how cool is that? Though they might be the only classes where you need a mat, water AND bug spray.
Must Love Dogs
You’ll have to go a little — or a lot — north but there’s no other experience like dog sledding. The cold air and dusting of snow hitting you in the face, the stomping of the dogs’ paws in the snow combined with the jingle from their collars as you take control of the tug lines harkens back to the days where dog-powered transportation was the only method. Mush on!
From rugged trails, marked routes and indoor tracks to simply pedalling around your neighbourhood, there’s something awesome about a family bike ride. So what are you waiting for? Get your helmets on and get cycling.
You probably have tons of playgrounds in your neighbourhood but if your family happens to be in Ottawa on or after Canada Day, head to Mooney’s Bay Park. It’s the future home of the biggest playground in the country, a 4,600 square-metre beast in the shape of Canada with different play spaces for each province and territory. The best part? It’ll boast the world’s longest set of continuous monkey bars. Swing time officially begins on July 1, it’s official opening date. Happy Canada Day!