Egyptian Art, Fishing, and Massages for Men: Summer Guide to British Columbia - Ski Mag

Egyptian Art, Fishing, and Massages for Men: Summer Guide to British Columbia

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Vancouver, BC May 13, 2004 (PR by Judi Lees) - Fragrant, spring days, followed by dazzling, warm, summer ones, herald a season of celebration in British Columbia. The western province, particularly in Vancouver and Vancouver Island, offers a banquet of new attractions and special events. From innovative museums to resplendent garden festivities, from intriguing wilderness excursions to new, luxury resorts, it promises to be a sizzling warm-weather season in BC.

Sit under the mammoth blue-and-yellow Grand Chapiteau at Concord Pacific Place in Vancouver to experience one of Canada's most renowned and best-loved presentations.

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL

has returned to Vancouver for the second time in a year because of the overwhelming audience response. Until June 13, audiences will thrill to QUIDAM. Pronounced 'key-dam', it is a Latin word for an anonymous passer-by, someone living lost amid the crowd. As always, CIRQUE DU SOLEIL will fascinate with a glamorous presentation of breathtaking aerial contortions, colorful clowns, amazing, ongoing antics all set to stimulating music. It is not to be missed.

Elsewhere in Vancouver, the buzz on the streets is about two new attractions -- what's going on under the busy routes of Gastown as well as what is happening in North Vancouver treetops.

Located underground and opening June 1 is

Storyeum: A Magical Mystery Tour

. On an enchanting, 'virtual' journey that entails live performances and storytelling visitors relive British Columbia's past. Once transported by elevator, guests move back through time, strolling a salmon stream, into an ancient forest, stop at a Long House, board a tall ship and there are visits to a gold rush village and a rail road town. It's a little like moving from one dramatic movie set to another.

Meanwhile at

Capilano Suspension Bridge

there is action in the evergreens. The new Treetops Adventure sees non-vertigo sufferers venture along 200 meters of walkway strung throughout the trees for an eagle's eye view of this verdant green space. Visitors have always flocked here to cross the wood-and-cable bridge that hangs 70 meters above a rushing river and steep canyon. Now, the multi-functional park that also boasts totem poles, interpretative walks, gift store and restaurant, adds this swaying walk amid lofty evergreens as well as the new 'Cliffhanger Walk' that borders the canyon's edge.)

Vancouver visitors now have the option of an easy day or weekend excursion to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.

Harbor Lynx

is a high-speed, comfy, passenger ferry, that takes 80 minutes for the harbor-to-harbor trip. You arrive at the prettied up waterfront in Nanaimo and everything from fine restaurants, galleries, antique shops, historic points, and museums are close-by. There are six departures daily.

On southern Vancouver Island, Victoria is always a must-visit with its heritage sites, gorgeous Inner Harbor setting - an easy stroll to many attractions -- and magnificent gardens. The Royal British Columbia Museum is always a much-talked-about attraction and this summer will be no different.

Eternal Egypt : Masterworks of Ancient Art

from the British Museum runs from July 10-October 31. This much-lauded museum that relates the history of BC in a dramatic and lively way, is the only venue in the Pacific Northwest to host this priceless exhibit consisting of 144 Egyptian masterworks that span 3,000 years.

This year holds special meaning for one of Vancouver Island's premier attractions:

Butchart Gardens

, the 22-hectare bloom-adorned, beauty spot just north of the city, is 100 years old. Celebrations include whimsical topiary creatures that will adorn the garden from May 21 on, two nine-meter-high Totem Poles are being carved on site by aboriginal artists and will be raised in September. Fireworks are held each Saturday evening and guests w come to stroll the luxuriant gardens that include a fragrant rose garden, Japanese and Italian gardens and the favorite of many, the Sunken Garden, can have tea and enjoy a special exhibit of archival photos and stories. It is fitting that a new variety of tulip was christened 'Jennie Butchart' in honor of the imaginative gardener who started it all. Butchart Gardens are open daily; there are two restaurants, coffee shop and a seed and gift shop.

Bloom-lovers visiting the Island should keep in mind that it boasts a bounty of efflorescence. Nineteen gardens have joined forces-'The Gardens of Vancouver Island' -- to showcase some of the best. Don't miss

Milner Gardens and Woodland in Qualicum Beach

. It is 28 hectares of Douglas fir woodland and luscious gardens (over 500 Rhododendrons) sweeping around a seaside estate that has a nice touch of history.

A visit to Vancouver Island is not complete without experiencing some of its myriad outdoor adventures. Go whale watching, walk or cycle well-maintained trails - like the

Galloping Goose

or the

Juan de Fuca Marine Trail

- see big trees in

Carmanah Pacific Park

, go fishing at

Campbell River

, kayak

Clayoquot Sound

on the west coast, or explore the wonderfully wild

Cape Scott Park

on the northern tip. For many paddlers, the waters of British Columbia are known as 'kayak heaven'. Recently, The Wilderness Kayak Institute has been formed to assist novice paddlers as well as the more experienced. Run by experienced kayak teachers and guides, the Institute operates out of Port Hardy in the waters of Queen Charlotte Strait and the Central Coast. Since the multi-leveled courses are set in true wilderness, it means paddlers gain practical experience while learning all the skills of kayak touring.

Opened May 15 is Great Bear Lodge. Trips depart from Port Hardy on northern Vancouver Islands, to reach the floating lodge located in the Great Bear Rainforest on the central coast of BC. Surrounded by an enchanting, silent wilderness, the lodge focuses on grizzly bear viewing. It is a magical, unforgettable vacation.

A visit to British Columbia combines the great outdoors with any number of attractions and not to be forgotten is spa time. The spa scene in this province, simply keeps getting better. New on Vancouver Island - opening May 27 - is Brentwood Bay Lodge & Spa. The intimate, 33-room, luxury resort, just north of Victoria's city centre, has an oceanfront setting with restaurant, pub, outdoor pool and meeting space with a Spa and Wellness Centre. Check out the 'First Night is on Us' package and prepare to enter a tranquil space.

Soothing spa treatments are nothing new in this part of the world. Vancouver Island boasts a Spa Trail that begins in the deluxe Willow Stream Spa at Victoria's Fairmont Empress Hotel and follows up Island visiting four spas. The tour ends at the Ancient Cedars Spa at the Wickaninnish Inn on the west coast. On the east coast, last year the much-loved Tigh-Na-Mara Resort in Parksville added The Grotto, a European-style spa specializing in water-based treatments.

In Vancouver, the latest addition on the spa scene is geared to guys. The Absolute Spa in the Fairmont Vancouver Hotel, Canada's first men's spa, opened April, 2004. Macho males who lust after deep tissue body massages and pedicures no longer have to wear women-size robes in a pampering pink atmosphere. The Absolute Spa boasts pedicure chairs with video games and computers where stock prices can be checked plus a décor rich in earth tones.

As appealing and action-packed as the southern section of this western province is, it is also a doorstep to a Mecca of many more pleasures. The sunny Thompson Okanagan lures with lakeside resorts and wine tours. Worthwhile to note is the new Alive Resort for Wellness and Longevity located just outside of Vernon. It is the first Canadian centre to combine European spa services with health education. It opened in February, 2004 with a roster of health and spa experts. The resort offers diverse workshops that focus upon bodywork, physical activity, training/programs, stress-management training and interactive educational programs along with feel-good spa treatments.

Golf is great in BC. Some highlights? The mountain-rich Whistler Resort thrills with four courses. Within 30 minutes of Victoria are eight championship courses. The recently added Bear Mountain Golf & Country Club, opened August, 2003, has already garnered a huge following. Golf gurus know to head to the Rockies where a challenging game at places like Radium Hot Springs, can be followed by an oh-so-soothing soak in a natural hot springs. Guaranteed to improve the swing!

History buffs revel in gold rush trails - there's a tour that leads them along the fabled route - ending at Barkerville. You can experience the heady times of gold fever at this historic site. In the surrounding Cariboo Country, city slickers can experience cowboy cattle round-ups, fly fish at some 16,000 lakes and be surprised by the amenities at some ranches and resorts. For an upscale family vacation, head to Siwash Lake Ranch near 70 Mile House. For a romantic holiday, check out Eagle's Nest Resort at Anahim Lake and if you are looking for top-notch instruction when it comes to fly fishing, plan a stay at Tyee Lake Resort.

For untouched beauty and seldom-seen wildlife, Northern BC is the last stand. Drive the Alaska Highway, take a boat to visit the hauntingly, beautiful Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haiada Heritage Site on the Queen Charlotte Islands, marvel at moose, bear, mountain goat, stone sheep and more. This region north of Prince George is a haven of wilderness.
Click the links below for contact information and an island tour.It is the first Canadian centre to combine European spa services with health education. It opened in February, 2004 with a roster of health and spa experts. The resort offers diverse workshops that focus upon bodywork, physical activity, training/programs, stress-management training and interactive educational programs along with feel-good spa treatments.

Golf is great in BC. Some highlights? The mountain-rich Whistler Resort thrills with four courses. Within 30 minutes of Victoria are eight championship courses. The recently added Bear Mountain Golf & Country Club, opened August, 2003, has already garnered a huge following. Golf gurus know to head to the Rockies where a challenging game at places like Radium Hot Springs, can be followed by an oh-so-soothing soak in a natural hot springs. Guaranteed to improve the swing!

History buffs revel in gold rush trails - there's a tour that leads them along the fabled route - ending at Barkerville. You can experience the heady times of gold fever at this historic site. In the surrounding Cariboo Country, city slickers can experience cowboy cattle round-ups, fly fish at some 16,000 lakes and be surprised by the amenities at some ranches and resorts. For an upscale family vacation, head to Siwash Lake Ranch near 70 Mile House. For a romantic holiday, check out Eagle's Nest Resort at Anahim Lake and if you are looking for top-notch instruction when it comes to fly fishing, plan a stay at Tyee Lake Resort.

For untouched beauty and seldom-seen wildlife, Northern BC is the last stand. Drive the Alaska Highway, take a boat to visit the hauntingly, beautiful Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haiada Heritage Site on the Queen Charlotte Islands, marvel at moose, bear, mountain goat, stone sheep and more. This region north of Prince George is a haven of wilderness.
Click the links below for contact information and an island tour.

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