by Island Parent Magazine
Source: Island Parent Magazine
Originally Published: July 2019
Camping is a wonderful way to relax and connect with nature, but it can be daunting to take on without some experience in your back pocket. Whether it’s been a few years since you’ve pitched a tent or you’re brand new to it, the Learn-to-Camp event at McDonald Campground in Sidney will help you build the confidence to enjoy all the Park Reserve has to offer. Join Mountain Equipment Co-op and Parks Canada staff to learn the fundamental skills and to sample some tasty camping food on July 27. Registration is required for this overnight experience. Camping gear is provided for use during the event.
Seize the Saturday at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea! Were Bill Nye and James Bond your childhood heroes? Parks Canada staff are onsite to give you and your kids a chance to tap into both as Science Secret Agents. Something has gone missing and time is running out! Delight in the action at 2pm (entrance fee applies.)
For folks craving some campfire time with their little ones, McDonald Campground Saturday Nights has special occasions in store for Saturday nights at 7pm. Coast Salish knowledge holder MENETIYE Elliot and a Parks Canada Interpreter will be sharing stories, songs, and s’mores. Expect smiles as well! If you aren’t camping, park at the adjacent Blue Heron Park and bring a flashlight to find us at the group campfire ring. On July 27, a special edition of Coast Salish Campfires features stories about Indigenous cultures, local histories, and clam gardens to capture the imagination. What is a clam garden you ask? For millennia, Coast Salish peoples have built rock walls at special beaches that stretch the low-tide line to harvest clams and much more. Come and learn all about it!
Get away from it all and plan an excursion to Sidney Spit! Find our roving park interpreter on Sundays between 10:30am and 1pm for the inside scoop on the plants and animals that call Sidney Island home.
If you want to make a weekend of it, book your campsite at Sidney Spit and enjoy a beautiful sandy beaches, geocaching adventures, winding hiking trails, and spectacular bird watching.
Saturna is a fabulous place to plan a family weekend getaway. Book a backcountry campsite at Narvaez Bay and pitch your tent next to a peaceful bay and a heritage orchard.
Head to East Point on Friday for a truly special sunset experience. From 8pm onwards, you’ll spend the evening under the spell of island musicians and storytellers, discovering the wildlife of the Salish Sea with a Parks Canada interpreter. The night sky’s vista at East Point will make for a spectacular moment and a lasting memory. Be sure to dress warmly and bring along blankets, chairs, and flashlights for ultimate coziness.
On Saturdays meet at East Point at 3pm to take part in a Whale Trail Walk. Learn skills to make you a better whale watcher. Get inside stories about local whales from the park interpreter. Exercise on a short walk and unwind at stops with gorgeous views. Wear shoes suitable for trail walking.
On Sundays, grab your curiosity cap and a picnic lunch and drop in to Saturna’s Winter Cove between 10am to 1pm. The whole family will find clues along the trail to help solve the mystery and discover animals of the national park reserve.
Finally, glimpse the wonders of the Salish Sea at the Intertidal Safari on Parks Day, July 20, anytime between 1 and 4pm. Join Parks Canada Interpreters and the Saturna Island Marine Research and Education Society to learn all about the wonders of the marine life of the Salish Sea. Divers will bring creatures up from the deep, the Parks and Recreation office will be serving free ice cream, and the Heritage Committee will be giving tours of the landmark fog alarm building.
Families of night owls shouldn’t miss “Nuit Blanche” (8pm to Midnight, August 9) at Roesland, Pender Island, where bats, bioluminescence, and stargazing will light up the senses. Meet guest experts who will help track glowing creatures, spot distant galaxies, and identify different bat species based on live recordings of their sounds. Book your campsite now at one of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve’s three campgrounds on Pender Island. If stepping back in time is more your speed, visit the 110 year-old Roesland resort and take a trip back in time at the Pender Islands Museum. Visit with volunteer museum hosts or enjoy a picnic, the scenery, and some R&R on the porch. Whichever adventure suits your family best, take a cue from your young ones and embrace a little childlike wonder.
Unless indicated otherwise, events don’t require pre-registration, are free, and welcome visitors of all ages. Travel to Saturna, Mayne and Pender Islands is by BC Ferries and to Sidney Island by Alpine Ferry. The recurring weekly programs run in July and August.
Discover Gulf Islands National Park Reserve this summer. For more information visit the 2019 Events Calendar at pc.gc.ca.
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