Lower Mainland winter roundup

Don’t let the cold and wet keep you indoors – here are some fun ways to enjoy the Canadian winter, Vancouver-style.

Accessible outdoors

So you’re not an Olympic athlete? Even novices can stay healthy and fit in the host city of the 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games. Lace up your ice skates and enjoy one of the Lower Mainland’s two free outdoor rinks. Don’t have your own skates? No worries! Both offer rentals for a nominal charge. Downtown – and within an easy walk from Austeville’s Pacific Palisades – is Robson Square Ice Rink. It’s open until February 28 with hours from 9 am to 9 pm Sunday to Thursday, and until 11 pm on Saturdays. A short trip across the inlet on the SeaBus to North Vancouver lands you within steps of Shipyards Skate Plaza and spectacular views of both downtown Vancouver and the North Shore Mountains. The Shipyards rink is open from 1 pm to 8 pm daily. 

If you’re more confident on snow, all three local ski mountains offer snowshoeing trails, activities and rentals, giving you myriad opportunities to give one of the fastest-growing winter sports a try this year. Grouse Mountain offers more than 10 km of trails, including the ‘snowshoe grind’ – a winter version of the challenging Grouse Grind. Cypress offers a magical self-guided evening Lights to the Lodge option to Hollyburn Lodge, where you can grab a burger and a beer before heading back to your car. Finally, Mt. Seymour has a variety of daytime trails (they close at 4 pm) as well as guided tours for all ages. 

Fodder for foodies

Winter is a great time to explore Vancouver’s culinary scene. 2023 marks the 21st edition of Dine Out Vancouver. This annual event runs from January 20 to February 5 and offers promotional pricing at more than 350 local restaurants, wineries, craft breweries and more. Set menu prices range from $20-$34, $35-$50, or $54-$64. Reservations open on January 11 – be quick so as not to miss out!

Or, try your favourite chef’s recipes at home with fresh local ingredients from a farmer’s market. It’s true, these outdoor food hotspots are not just for summer in Vancouver. Riley Park Farmers Market at 30th Ave. and Ontario St. takes place each Saturday, 10 am to 2 pm until March 25 and offers 85+ vendors. A little smaller, but still packing a flavour punch, Hastings Park Farmers Market on the PNE Fairgrounds site at 2901 E. Hastings Street, is open on Sundays until April 30 from 10 am to 2 pm. 

Expand your horizons

Use the shorter days to explore some of Vancouver’s cultural happenings, like the PuSh Festival. Running from January 19 to February 5, the 2023 version of the performing arts festival offers innovative and sometimes edgy live performances by international, Canadian and local artists. 

While you’re at it, awaken your inner science geek by attending an adult evening at Science World. Science World After Dark runs every third Thursday of the month, with upcoming editions on January 19, February 16 and March 16. Enjoy food, grown-up drinks and all the exhibitions without the pitter-patter of little distractions.