All too soon Canada’s spectacular summer comes to an end. Make the most of these final sun-kissed days by corralling the kids and heading outdoors. From coast to coast, here’s a look at 10 awesome adventures to make the most of your long weekend.
The West Coast’s premier summer celebration, The Fair at the PNE, gives adrenaline junkies a lot to look forward to with 55 rip-roaring rides, live performances and those beloved Superdogs. More calming activities can be found at Capilano River Regional Park during Music in the Park on September 1, with free children’s activities, food trucks and artist demonstrations. And don’t miss the Lonsdale Quay Market when it wraps up the annual summer festival on August 31. You’ll find everything from live buskers to kids crafts and free dance lessons.
Get more information: Vancouver Tourism>Photo: Playland
Soak up summer’s final rays at Assiniboine Park, where a Nature Playground encourages creative play. After that, head over to the park’s new Journey to Churchill exhibit to view reindeer, muskox and polar bears frolicking in their massive, picturesque home. Got a sports fan in your brood? You’ll have a ball taking the team to watch the Winnipeg Goldeyes play their last home game of the regular season.
Get more information: Tourism Winnipeg>Photo: Winnipeg Goldeyes
From street entertainment to farmer’s markets (conveniently located next to the Family Adventure Zone with mini golf, pony rides, and bouncy castles), Whistler in late summer is ideal for outdoorsy families. Trot over to Olympic Plaza for free outdoor concerts or chill out at one of the many sandy beaches and grassy parks that cover this alpine paradise.
Get more information: Whistler Tourism>
The Big Smoke has loads to offer families for Labour Day weekend. Tucker the troops out on canoe rides at Harbourfront Centre, before refueling with awesome street food. The kids will go nuts at Treetop Eco-Adventure Park’s children’s agility course (located in the GTA). And if you haven’t gotten your fill of cotton candy and midway action, head to the CNE before it wraps up on September 1.
Get more information: See Toronto Now>Photo: Scooter Korek via the CNE
Nature buffs answer the call of the wild at BC Wildlife Park, where over 65 indigenous species are spread out over 100 acres. Daily animal encounters including cougar feedings and birds of prey demonstrations engage all ages, while a splash park ensures hot kids stay cool. Not to miss is opening weekend at Tranquille Farm Fresh. Here, families navigate through a six-acre corn stalk jungle, before picking up fresh produce at the market.
Get more information: Kamloops, Playtime Redefined>Photo: Allen Douglas
Summer may be floating away, but you can too at the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival. Take flight over the Gatineau Hills or soar to new heights at the on-site amusement park. For an illuminating experience, check out Mosaika, a free sound and light show on Parliament Hill running until September 6. Sunday, August 31 is your last chance to hit the street on bikes and skates during Alcatel-Lucent Sunday Bikedays, when over 50 km of parkways in the region are closed to vehicles.
Get more information: Ottawa Tourism>Photo: Istockphoto
Detectives-in-training put their skills to the test at The Halifax Citadel. The brand-new Citadel Adventures program lets kids discover the fort and its history by going on a super spy mission. There's also Hatfield Farm for alfresco adventures that include wagon rides, mini golf and a rubber rodeo. Thrill your little thespians with Shakespeare by the Sea and cap off the season with a family-friendly production of 'Cinderelly.'
Get more information: Destination Halifax>
A mere 15 minutes from downtown, you’ll find bushels of orchards ripe for the picking and picnicking. There’s also geocaching adventures to be had in Vieux-Québec and for whirly bird fun, hit up Discovery Space at Complexe Capitale Hélicoptère. This free attraction allows kids of all ages to explore the helicopter universe through flight simulators and interactive displays. Take it up a notch with a charter tour to explore the capital.
Get more information: Quebec City>Photo: Quebec City
Nobody’s blue in these mountains, especially not over Labour Day weekend when Summer Sundown gives this glorious season its proper send off with live entertainment, guided family hikes and fantastic fireworks. Elevate your experience with an open-air gondola ride, or navigate your way through the low and high ropes course. And just because this is likely your last opportunity, go ahead and take the plunge into the turquoise waters of Georgian Bay.
Get more information: Blue Mountains>Photo: Leah Rumack
With piping and drumming, sheep dog demonstrations and men in skirts tossing large wooden poles, families will be thoroughly entertained during Labour Day Sunday’s Highland Games. Then get your Rocky Mountain high on with gentle day hikes in the Kananaskis, or rent bikes and explore over 100 km of trails at the Nordic Centre, which suit all ability levels.
Get more information: Canmore Tourism>Photo: Tourism Canmore
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