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North Shore

Red Bull Divide and Conquer Race

Photo by Christian Pondella courtesy Red Bull Content Pool

Get ready to run, bike and paddle your way to glory in the Red Bull Divide and Conquer, a new multi-disciplinary endurance race taking place Jun. 16 on the North Shore. Teams of three cover 70+ km (43+ mi) by mountain running and mountain biking on Grouse Mountain and whitewater kayaking on the Capilano River. Don’t delay: registration is only open until May 15 (or whenever all 100 team spots are full), and this scenic race is sure to be popular with adrenaline junkies and weekend warriors alike.—Sheri Radford

One Day, Three Meals: Charlottetown, PEI

© Tourism PEI

By Cynthia Dennis

Breakfast

Casa Mia Café, 131 Queen Street [map]

If you’re not quite feeling the greasy diner, but you’re not exactly on the yogurt-and-granola train, Casa Mia Café in downtown Charlottetown is where you’ll find hearty, healthy flavours in dishes like potato pancakes with ham, cheddar and green onion or the full country breakfast with local sausage and house-recipe potato hash. Owned and operated by a husband-and-wife team, Casa Mia is one of the only joints in town serving a proper latte or cappuccino to accompany your traditional breakfast with an upscale twist. Big tables and Wi-Fi are added perks. Spread out, relax and, for the love of Pete, order a side of potatoes made with caramelized onions.

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The Great Outdoors

Grab a paddle, lace those hiking boots and ready that fishing pole: Where‘s headed to the North Shore

By Jennifer Patterson

Meghan and Mat glide through the water in brightly coloured rentals from Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak. Photo by KK Law

Get Wet

Water babies feel right at home in picturesque Deep Cove, a short drive from downtown Vancouver and a haven for water sports enthusiasts. Rent a kayak at Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak and glide through the water, up picturesque Indian Arm, to Granite Falls. This photogenic park offers camping spots for multi-day trips. A growing trend with both celebs and weekend warriors: paddle boarding. Stand upright on a long, flat, surf-style board and use a long paddle to manoeuvre through the calm waterways.

Grab a fishing pole and head into the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve for some peaceful trout fishing around Rice Lake. The main dock is usually busy but the three-km- (1.8-mi-) long path around the lake is filled with hidden benches and quiet corners.

Learn about the culture and history of the Coast Salish First Nations on a guided canoe trip through Indian Arm with Takaya Tours. The traditional wood canoes are 7.6 m (25 ft) in length and tours can be customized to include drumming, songs and stories. End your day on the water with a grilled salmon feast, available by request.

Stay Dry

Landlubbers seeking an outdoor escape head north of downtown to kick up dirt on the tree-covered mountains. The 48-km- (30-mi-) long Baden-Powell Trail, a winding stretch through the North Shore Mountains, starts in Horseshoe Bay and ends in Deep Cove. Don’t feel pressured to complete the entire route in one go—an ambitious venture, indeed—as the trail has multiple entry points and smaller trails branching off along the way. A couple of route highlights: the famous Grouse Grind, also known as Mother Nature’s StairMaster; the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge; and Quarry Rock lookout in Deep Cove.

Those with a need for speed grab a mountain bike and burn rubber on backwoods trails. Mt. Seymour, Mt. Fromme and

Meghan and Mat make their way back from Quarry Rock viewpoint on a well-established trail. Photo by KK Law

Cypress Mountain offer paved, gravel and plank-covered paths ranging from relaxed cross-country to extreme downhill. If you’re a first timer looking for a little guidance, companies such as Endless Biking (page 64) can set you up with an instructor and guide.

If a city bike is more your style, 10 km (6 mi) of paved trails await on the car-free Seymour Valley Trailway. Do you have some energy to spare? Peddle the paved roads all the way to the top of both Cypress and Seymour.

Head a little further north, to the Stawamus Chief Park, for hard-core rock-climbing on the second largest granite monolith in the world (think sheer rock face with nowhere to go but up). If you prefer pounding the dirt to dangling from ropes, make your way up and through the mountains via trails, ladders and stairs to either the first, second or third peak. The climb is a bit challenging but the 360-degree views from the top make it well worth the sweat. Before heading back into Vancouver, visit neighbouring Shannon Falls, the third-highest waterfall in British Columbia.

Up in the Air

Challenge your fear of heights on the 137-m- (450-ft-) long Capilano Suspension Bridge, hanging 70 m (230 ft) above the rushing river. This popular attraction with both visitors and locals added a jaw-dropping new feature this year: the Cliffwalk, a cantilevered and suspended walkway that juts out of a granite cliff face. The faint of heart may balk at the glass-bottomed sections, which offer crystal-clear views of the canyon far below.

Feel the wind beneath your wings as you set flight from the top of Grouse Mountain on a tandem paragliding ride with an elevation drop of 1,000 m (3,300 ft). No experience is required but a sense of adventure is a must.

Gear for Here
Stock up on clothing and equipment, for outdoor adventures both big and small, at Mountain Equipment Co-op and the Arc’teryx Factory Store.

Hot Dining: West (End) Meets East

Dragon roll at Taiko on Denman. Photo by KK Law

Asian flavours abound in the West End. Taiko on Denman is a polished, capacious, slate-and-glass-trimmed upstairs escape close to Coal Harbour. Inventive sushi, robata and donburi are served in a dramatic setting with glimpses of Stanley Park and the North Shore mountains. Prime lures: all-you-can-eat lunch and dinner menus. Close by, sushi-free Gyoza King Japanese Izakaya is a late-night haunt favoured by locals and homesick language students alike, while Kintaro Ramen, a Lilliputian hole-in-the-wall diner, is famed for its pork-packed noodle bowls, minimal seating—and often long line-ups.—Tim Pawsey

Hot Entertainment: High Point

Grab the guide Off the Beaten Path by Norman Watt and hit Vancouver's hiking trails

Even after years of hiking, it’s difficult for anyone to claim they’ve conquered every local trail. You can get one step closer with North Shore News columnist Norman Watt’s Off the Beaten Path (Harbour Publishing, $21.95), available at local bookstores. A hiking enthusiast’s guide to exploring the back hills, the book reveals 31 of the North Shore’s best-hidden trails and lookout points. Watt provides estimated hike times, terrain, maps and brief histories. Get your backpack and water bottle ready!—Kendra Wong

15 Things We Love About Vancouver, August 2009

Courtesy Rocky Mountaineer

1. Travelling by train with Rocky Mountaineer to Whistler or Calgary.

2. Gorgeous jewellery at The Crystalworks Gallery, which also stocks carvings and oversized minerals.

3. Getting our sugar fix with a caramel cupcake at the new downtown location of Cupcakes, at Robson and Thurlow streets.

4. Araxi in nearby Whistler. The restaurant is currently featured on Hell’s Kitchen, the TV show starring chef/tyrant Gordon Ramsay.

5. Watching the competitions at the 2009 World Police and Fire Games.

Courtesy World Police and Fire Games

Courtesy World Police and Fire Games

6. Alsatian flatbread topped with cheese, bacon and onion at DB Bistro Moderne.  Yum.

7. Screaming our heads off on rides at the annual PNE.

8. Grabbing tasty sandwiches-to-go at Cardero Bottega before a leisurely stroll to Stanley Park.

9. The view of downtown as you ride the SeaBus to the North Shore.

10. Reaping the seafood rewards of the West Coast at Coast Restaurant, Goldfish Pacific Kitchen, A Kettle of Fish and Tojo’s.

11. Japadogs.  These Japanese-style hot dogs are served with miso, mayo and flakes of seaweed, at the corner of Burrard and Smithe or Burrard and Pender.

12. Sitting on the sand at English Bay and counting the freighters waiting to sail out.

13. The two baby belugas at the Vancouver Aquarium.

14. Buying souvenirs for the 2010 Winter Games, coming here in just six months.

Courtesy Tourism Vancouver

15. Kits Beach, which Forbes Traveler magazine recently named one of the 10 sexiest beaches in North America.