A is for Anvil Centre, which is yours to explore this summer. Spend an afternoon checking out the New Westminster Museum, the New Media Gallery, the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame and the community art space at your leisure. Anvil Centre also offers summer art programs and camps. For details, check out the arts and heritage brochure at www.anvilcentre.com.
B is for Boorman Archery, where you’ll find a museum containing archery artifacts dating back to the early 1900s. Boorman Archery also offers four-day-long archery summer camps for kids aged nine to 18 throughout the summer, as well as lessons for adults. For more info, visit www.boormanarchery.com.
C is for Crafty Thursdays, a drop-in program where families can try fun games and a craft and get a tour of Irving House with costumed guides. The program takes place for one last Thursday in July from 12:30 to 3 p.m. at 302 Royal Ave. In August, Crafty Thursdays moves down to Anvil Centre, where people can check out the city’s new civic facility at 777 Columbia St. Admission at both locations is by donation. For information or to register, call 604-527-4640.
D is for dancing – and you can do it all summer long at local parks. The TGIF&S outdoor public dancing series welcomes folks of all ages to get a lesson from local instructors and then dance under the evening sky. The free event continues with salsa at the Queensborough Community Centre patio (Saturday, Aug. 8); Zumba at Westminster Pier Park, (Friday, Aug. 14); Latin dance at Sapperton Plaza (Saturday, Aug. 22); and swing at Westminster Pier Park on Friday, Aug. 28. If the weather is iffy, call the parks info hotline at 604-527-4634 an hour before each event to make sure it’s on.
E is for eat, and that’s what you’ll want to do on Saturday, Aug. 22, when 70 food trucks will descend on New West for the annual Columbia StrEAT Food Truck Fest. The festival, a foodie’s dream come true, takes place on Columbia Street (between Fourth and Begbie streets) from 4 to 10 p.m. and includes entertainment. While the festival will serve up a one-day smorgasbord of good eats, there’s no shortage of good eats around town all summer long – so why not make summer the time to check out some old favourites or try out some place you’ve never dined at before?
F is for Fraser River Discovery Centre, an interactive centre on New Westminster’s waterfront that has a number of exhibits related to the Fraser River. Located at 788 Quayside Dr., Discovery Centre is open daily from June to August from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to galleries is by donation, with a suggested donation of $6 for adults, $5 for seniors/students, $4.50 for children aged six to 12, and $1 for children five and under.
G is for geocache – a great way to get out and explore nature and neighbourhoods. Using a GPS device, you use a set of coordinates to hunt of a geocache at a hidden location. For details about geocaching and places to participate, visit www.geocaching.com.
H is for hammock – and hurry, because that’s what you’ll need to do to get a chance to chill in one of the six hammocks at the urban beach at Westminster Pier Park. Folks have been known to bring books, snacks and beverages and can swing the day (or evening) away, so you’ll have to time it right because the hammocks are super popular and folks seem reluctant to get out of them once they get settled in.
I is for ice skating, a fab way to cool down on hot summer days. If the air conditioning isn’t cutting it, head to Moody Park Arena and go skating. From July 6 to Sept. 6, the arena holds summer loonie skates on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., as well as Mondays from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 3 p.m.
I is also for ice cream, a summertime staple. Why not drop by Anny’s, Dairy Queen, Tre Galli Gelato Caffe, Menchie’s – or your own favourite place for cool treats – and get an iced delight and go for a stroll in the sunshine.
J is for jaunt about town, which you should do to see some of the increasing collection of public art in New Westminster. Sapperton and 12th Street each have mosaic art tiles adorning their sidewalks, Ab oVo The Fertile Nest is located in Glenbrook Ravine Park and the Puddle Jumper is located in Toronto Place Park. Downtown, you’ll find Wait for Me Daddy at Hyack Square, the memory band and historical photographs at Westminster Pier Park, the world’s largest tin soldier outside River Market, Diver Inverse at Renaissance Square and the new Vancouver Biennale installation, Public Furniture/Urban Trees, on the western end of the waterfront esplanade, near Renaissance Square.
K is for kick back – and you can do it at any of New Westminster’s neighbourhood parks and greenspaces. A full list of all of the city’s parks and trails can be found at www.newwestpcr.ca.
L is for lacrosse, a New Westminster tradition. The senior Salmonbellies hit the wooden floor on Thursday nights at Queen’s Park Arena. If you’ve never been to a game, or it’s been awhile, check out the fastest game on two feet – they’ve got another home game coming up tomorrow, July 30. For schedule and ticket info visit www.salmonbellies.com.
M is for Moody Park outdoor pool – one of the best places in the city to experience summer. Kids of all ages will have a blast at the pool that has swim lanes, a slide, a diving board and spacious deck loaded with chairs for those just wanting to catch some rays. If you’ve got little ones, the wading pool at Grimston Park or the shallow pool at Hume Park is always a hit with the kids.
N is for New Westminster Public Library. Need a book to read on vacation? Need a place to chill on a hot summer day? Need to keep the kids busy? The main branch offers special summer babytime, summer story time and crafts, French storytime, summer fun days (on Tuesdays for kids aged five to 10 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.) and Build It! (on Thursdays for kids aged six to 12 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.) For details on all the library’s offerings visit www.nwpl.ca, call 604-527-4677 or drop into 716 Sixth Ave. or the branch in the Queensborough Community Centre branch.
O is for outdoor movies that take place every Friday until Aug. 28 at Queen’s Park stadium. Pack some snacks and bring some blankets or chairs to the stadium and enjoy an outdoor movie on the big screen, starting at dusk (somewhere between 8:30 and 9 p.m.) This year’s lineup includes Toy Story 2 (July 31); Guardians of the Galaxy (Aug. 7); Rio 2 (Aug. 14); Aladdin (Aug. 21); and Big Hero 6 (Aug. 28). Door open at 7 p.m. If the weather is iffy, call 604-527-4634 to make sure the movie’s on.
P is for Pride Week, which is growing bigger and better every year. This year’s festival, taking place Aug. 8 to 15, includes a kickoff party, an art exhibition, a community brunch, board games, a drag show, a spoken word performance, a rainbow flag raising at city hall, karaoke and much more. The New West Pride Street Party – featuring four beer gardens, food trucks, a children’s area and musical performances by performers, including Bif Naked, takes place on Saturday, Aug. 15 from 3 to 8 p.m. on Columbia Street. For all the details, visit www.newwestpride.com.
Q is for Queen’s Park, where you’ll find more than enough offerings to keep you entertained all summer. Whether you want to enjoy a big family picnic, let the kids cool down in the spray park, enjoy one of Metro Vancouver’s premier playgrounds, check out the animals in the petting farm or enjoy a stroll along the Millennium Trail or through the rose garden, you can do it all here.
R is for Royal City Farmers Market, where you can enjoy live entertainment and a kid’s area, as well as shop for fresh farm produce, crafts from local artists and artisans and yummy prepared foods. The summer market takes place every Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. until Oct. 8 at Tipperary Park, Fourth Street and Royal Avenue.
R is also for River Market, where you can enjoy the riverfront ambience and some of the popular award-winning restaurants based in New West. On Fridays, you can sit on the patio and enjoy the surroundings as a DJ spins tunes. The market offers a variety of special programs and activities throughout the week. See www.rivermarket.ca. The market is a great place to meet and explore the downtown.
S is for scenery, which is what you’ll experience aboard the MV Native, an authentic paddlewheeler that features tours of the Mighty Fraser. Paddlewheeler Riverboat Tours offer lunch cruises, sunset dinner cruises and pub-style nights on Fridays. See www.vancouverpaddlewheeler.com.
T is for theatre, and you can enjoy both indoor and outdoor productions this summer. Shadows and Dreams performs Much Ado About Nothing in the Queen’s Park bandshell (shows Aug. 1 and 2 at 2 p.m.), while Alchemy Theatre and Vagabond Players team up to present A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Bernie Legge Theatre (till Aug. 16, see www.alchemytheatre.ca). Brush up your Shakespeare!
U is for ukulele, and you can learn to play one at the Heritage Uke Club, held weekly at the Heritage Grill on Columbia Street on Mondays and Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday’s gatherings feature a beginner-friendly warm-up class from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday sessions are on the patio, weather permitting. On Aug. 25, there’s an open mike event for uke performers from 8 p.m. to midnight.
V is for Vancouver Circus School, where kids can enjoy some half-day camps and folks of all ages can take lessons in aerial hoop, static and swinging trapeze, tumbling and trampoline. Families can take part in the family circus drop-in on Saturdays. For details, visit www.vancouvercircusschool.ca.
W is for Westminster Pier Park, the bustling park on New Westminster’s waterfront that features waterfront pathways, lounging and picnic areas, a basketball court, an urban beach with sand, hammocks and beach umbrellas. If you need to cool down on a hot day, some misters are the newest addition to the park.
X is for strike in bowling, and that’s what you’ll want to do at Lucky Strike Bowling Lanes, which is closing on Aug. 23 after several decades in the Royal City. Generations of New Westminsterites who’ve bowled at Lucky Strike Lanes through the years may want to head to 1205 Sixth Ave. (corner of Sixth Avenue and 12th Street) to bowl a final game before the business sets the pins for a final time on Aug. 22.
Y is yard sales, and you’ll find plenty of them around town this summer. The Quayside Boardwalk Festival and Sale, taking place along the waterfront esplanade on Saturday, Aug. 22, features oodles of tables with new and used items for sale (and entertainment, too.)
Z is for Zoo. Check out all the cute critters the Queen’s Park Petting Farm, where goats, pigs, rabbits, a calf and others make their summer home. The petting farm is located next to Rainbow Playland in Queen’s Park.