Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

SUMMER IN VANCOUVER: Summertime and the slacking is easy

You know how it is: Just when youve convinced yourself that summer isnt showing up this year, again, the clouds part and that mysterious yellow orb sends anemic Wet Coasters diving for their sunglasses and stampeding outside.
VAN201106011984468.jpg

You know how it is: Just when youve convinced yourself that summer isnt showing up this year, again, the clouds part and that mysterious yellow orb sends anemic Wet Coasters diving for their sunglasses and stampeding outside. But what to do once youre out there?

Unless youve spent the winter months shrink-wrapped in Gortex and tackling mountain trails, acting on the impulse to become an overnight athlete is a bad idea. For the pasty and pallid among us and after this spring, thats most any rash forays into ultra-marathons or ultimate-whatevers will only leave you sunburned and strained. Thats no way to ring in the season whose very thought keeps us sane in the December doldrums.

Much better to approach summertime activity the way nature intended: with a lighthearted attitude and a cocktail in hand. Herewith, your official WE guide to slacker summer sports.

Chances are, if its entertaining your grandmas posse at the retirement home its just the right pace for post-winter you. Case in point: Bocce, lawn bowling and croquet are excellent activities in their anaerobic properties and ability to be played one-handed. This leaves you free for simultaneous practise of that other summer staple: beer-can biceps curls. Plus, theres enough ironic clout to amuse your hipster friends and any patch of grass will do as a playing field. Remember, if it was a popular pastime for ladies leagues circa 1920, its a perfect fit for easing into summer. Honorable mentions: horseshoes and shuffleboard.

With this whole nouveau-80s fashion thing that just wont seem to die, youve likely already got the terry-cloth headband, the polo shirt and the tube socks. So, its time to actually play tennis, not just dress like you do. You dont have to be Roger Federer, or even Richie Tenenbaum to take the court. Used tennis rackets abound at thrift stores. Even if all you do is whiff that ball, youll break a bit of a sweat and get an ab workout laughing at your own lack of co-ordination. Follow up with a country-club-style cocktail hour and a Twin Peaks marathon and youve got the ideal summer afternoon. Most neighbourhoods have an under used court languishing in the back of a park somewhere but you can find a complete list of more than 180 free courts at Vancouver.ca/Parks/Rec/Tennis. For the backyard version, try badminton, for no other reason than the chance to use the word shuttlecock.

Even if you dont so much as dip a toe in the water (and with this frigid spring who would?) a day at the beach is quite physically taxing. Really. By the time youre finished covering all your nooks and crannies with the stuff, sunscreen application will have had you twisting and turning in so many directions youre entirely entitled to skip yoga guilt free and that goes double if youve wound up at Wreck Beach. And, speaking of Canadas nudist paradise, after a day in the heat and sampling the uh, local treats, getting up those famous Wreck Beach stairs is every bit the balance-testing, muscle-strengthening, cardio-pumping endeavour as the Grouse Grind, or at least it feels like it. Make sure to get yourself an ice cream when you reach the top. Not up for the trek? Head to Third Beach on Tuesday evenings or Jericho on Sundays and bang a drum for a few hours. Not only is it a good upper body workout, if youre too broke for therapy you can really work through some issues pounding on a djembe. If beating animal skins isnt your thing, join in the eclectic drum circle groupies for some hippie dancing, do a few handstands for some layperson beach gymnastics, or get your gyrate on with a hula hoop. For the truly ambitious, try fire spinning or poi, but make sure to ask for some pointers first. And whatever happened to the oft-maligned hackey sack? I say its time for a comeback.

If you havent already, its time to get re-acquainted with that old two-wheeler out in the shed. Biking in the summer is not only fun, its free transportation and definitely counts as exercise. Whether youre patiently pedaling along the seawall or testing tempers on the separated bike lanes, youre bound to be in a better mood after a little fresh air and a traffic-snarl-free commute. Plus, with the new warning limits on blood alcohol, biking is a more patio-friendly option than driving just make sure to keep a lid on your consumption and your head (helmet hair is sexy). For those with a taste for the extreme, theres bike polo. Do we recommend you actually participate in this demented bike-courier offshoot that gets underway with the cry of 3-2-1-KILL!? Heavens no! (Unless, you know, you really want to...) Fortunately, for the civilized slacker, merely engaging in East Vans signature sport as a spectator is enough to elevate ones heart rate to within ThighMaster, if not exactly StairMaster, range. With Commercial Drives Grandview Park now home to the worlds first purpose-built bike polo court, the action is bound to be in full swing all summer. Check out Saturday afternoons and Tuesday and Thursday evenings for guaranteed action. Visit EVBP.ca for info.

Think gardening is for the faint of heart? Think again. A trip to the local Rona aint no walk in the park. Youve got soil to haul, seeds to pick out and then rows to hoe, pests to discourage and pruning and watering once you get your little plants going. Bonus: heres one activity where, if youre lucky, the fruits of your labour will be literal. Or skip the toil and head out to the burbs to pick your own fruits and veggies from June through August. You get to spend a day in the sun, enjoy a helluva discount on produce and its an excuse for a mini road trip. PickYourOwn.org is your guide to a farm near you.

Rollerblading or rollerskating take your pick. Theyre self-explanatory, universal and just try being in a bad mood after zooming around your block with wheels strapped to your feet. Just dont forget the padding if its been a while.

If you must engage in classic competitive sport, theres always the option of putting together a pick-up game of soccer, football, volleyball or what have you. If your friends have a tendency to flake, UrbanRec.ca offers organized leagues for everything from dodgeball to flag football for the casual to semi-serious athlete. You know, if youre into rules and teams and all that... As for me, Ill see you at the beach.