Oh, Canada. Our country turns 150 this coming weekend and communities from coast to coast are planning to throw the ultimate bash.
But fireworks and festive frivolity aren’t the only ways to celebrate the Big-150. Considering this country provides everything from white sand beaches and pastel sunsets, to swaying wheat fields and staggering rugged mountain views, perhaps one of the most Canadian ways to celebrate is to head outdoors to marvel at it all. So should you decide to plant your umbrella, lace up your comfortable shoes or grab a paddle? Here are seven family-friendly activity ideas to add Canada Day spark to your summer.
Pack a Picnic
Spread your picnic blanket and break out the red and white cupcakes. On July 2, 2017 people will be hitting the Alexandra Bridge, which spans from Ottawa to Gatineau, Que., for a massive interprovincial picnic. A Canadian first, visitors and residents will plunk down on the bridge, covered in lush, green sod just for the occasion.
Can’t make it to Ottawa? (Or didn’t buy a ticket in time—they’re now sold out.) Stage a family and friends picnic of your own at your local park. It’s entirely possible to make your movable feast fair trade friendly too. Stash food and utensils in a handy Bolga Carrying Basket and serve up salads and spreads using a set of Silver Leaves Spoons. Then all you’ll have to do is linger….
Hit an Outdoor Music Fest
The first weekend of July brings hundreds of bands—and thousands of fans—together in cities across the country. Try introducing the kids (or yourself) to jazz at one of the many jazz festivals popping up in Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver and Edmonton this weekend.
Play it Up
If you’re heading to the nation’s capital for Canada 150 with kids, take a break from the Parliament Hill crowds and blow off a little steam at a local playground. Mooney’s Bay Park on the Rideau River is one option. Head to its brand new 4,600-square-metre playground opening just in time for Canada’s birthday bash. Not only is it shaped like Canada, it boasts the world’s longest set of continuous monkey bars!
Need to opt for an even more Zen-like experience? Stash your yoga mat in a holder, find a grassy spot with a view and try yoga in the park instead. Pull out the kid-friendly Yoga Pretzels Card Deck and practice bending, twisting, breathing and relaxing with your brood. There. Feel better?
Dip, Dip and Swim
There’s nothing more summery than jumping in a lake or ocean. Great Lakes like Ontario, Erie, Huron, Michigan and Superior offer some of the best beaches around (but prepare yourself – they can be cold in early July). Ontario’s Sandbanks provincial park (minutes from the Ten Thousand Villages in Picton) offers soft sand and a gentle drop-off, making it ideal for families and hesitant swimmers.
Meanwhile, Vancouver’s English Bay Beach is convenient, but a short walk down the seawall will take you to Third Beach in Stanley Park where families can choose between a shallow ocean beach or massive outdoor pool nearby.
Get your party on for the long weekend and invite all your favourite friends, family and neighbours (especially the neighbours if you plan to celebrate into the wee hours) for a backyard bash.
To make it stress-free, plan early and make sure to keep the décor easy breezy with colourful tablecloths, coasters and trivets to keep outdoor furniture safe. Then plant red geraniums and white petunias in Recycled Tire Garden Planters to stay on theme.
Have a big yard? Kick around a soccer ball or play a game of ultimate.
Sometimes the best way to celebrate a birthday is by doing nothing at all. Swing away the day in a Watermelon Hammock and get some zzz’s. After all, it’s not a bad idea to rest up. You’ve still got the whole summer ahead of you.