Triggering Joy in Vancouver Life Outdoors

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A conversation with a Vancouverite will lead you to one conclusion about Vancouver, British Columbia.   It is either the most brilliant place in the world to live or a drab haven of rain to be tolerated or simply abandoned.  Just before any of my travel adventures when I was young, my maternal grandmother who was born and raised in Brandon, Manitoba, would look at me with disgust and utter,

“Girl, why are you going any place else?  God’s already put you in the best place in the world to be!”

Traveling in Venice when our children were tiny, we were caught in a torrential and quite unexpected rainstorm.  The citizens and tourists of Venice ran for shelter.  Our little family did not.  We looked up and relished the break from the heat.  Our youngest looked up with a smile of delight, giggled and said,

“Oh, Mummy!  It smells like home!”

Obviously, we embrace the brilliance of Vancouver.  Growing up by Jericho Beach as a very little girl and spending Sunday’s at Tatlow Park where my grandparents were caretakers, meant I spent a lot of time outdoors.  I have happy spaces and places all over the city.  I love to curl up to read, but reading on reading triggers joy and contentment.  I met my husband out dancing wildly into the night with my friends as we celebrated graduating from university, but it was the fact that I was out jogging the next morning when he called, that triggered long term relationship interest.  We are a family of bikers, hikers, swimmers, skiers, snowboarders, joggers, golfers, and lovers of nature.  We not only love to be outdoors, but most of our favourite family memories that elicit uncontrollable laughter, took place outdoors.  We carry the outdoors in our heart.

Supporters of Wild About Vancouver and its signature Tidal WAV Outdoor Festival have this love of being outdoors in common.  We have first-hand knowledge of the benefits of being outdoors.  For some it is the physical activity and challenge of taking on challenges outdoors that leave you with a sense of accomplishment.  That accomplishment can be through competitive sport or something more deeply personal.  My son relished the euphoria of bouncing on top of cars and doing death defying jumps while trials riding as a kid.  My husband loved the rush of trail riding and continues to throw himself into the challenge of biking uphill.  We all celebrated like it was an Olympics win, the first time my daughter was not DQ’d (disqualified) for her butterfly stroke in a swim competition.  My greatest claim to fame was when some woman shouted “Good form!  You can do this!” when I thought I was going to die approaching the finish line of my very first Terry Fox 10 K Run.  The echo of that woman’s voice has gotten me over many finish lines.

For some supporters of Wild About Vancouver, the biggest merit of the outdoors is the fascination of watching new leaves unfold, the first pussy willows emerge in spring, or the recognition of personalities and characteristics of the birds in gardens, on city streets, or at the beach.  Many of our WAV supporters capture the wonder on cameras with fancy lenses or iPhones.   As an educator, taking students outside has been the way for me to spark interest and questions to ignite inquiry studies and student learning that goes deep. Nature stimulates learning that continues to bubble at home and directs the way to libraries, bookstores, online learning and stimulating conversations.

The mental health aspects of being outdoors has been magnified by COVID.  The people really struggling to cope with the pandemic are those people terrified to venture outside.  Yet, it is the outdoors that offers the glimmer of what is good in the world.  Fresh air for one and the wonder of the mountains and creation.  The fact that no matter what, the tide will go out and it will come back in.  We will exist beyond whatever is thrown at us.

Wild About Vancouveris a grassroots movement that was born in 2015 as a as the brainchild of Dr. Hart Banack, now Assistant Professor at The University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George.  He brought passionate people together to form a Steering Committee that bubbled over with stories of the merits of spending time outdoors.  The Tidal WAV Outdoor Festival came about so that people living in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver could be exposed to the many ways to engage in outdoor activities not just for physical health, mental health, experiential learning, and to trigger a love in nature and interest in preserving our environment – BUT FOR ALL OF IT.  We are delighted that we have a perfect partnership with The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreations and have secured Second Beach and adjacent areas in Stanley Park for the venue for the Tidal WAV Outdoor Festival in 2022.  We are also delighted that the shroud of COVID is beginning to life and that we are confident the event will go ahead on Friday, June 3, 2022.  We anticipate that educators will bring students and student volunteers will al contribute to making the day amazing.  That and the fact that it is International Donut Day and International Donut Day.  The possibilities are endless!

Join the WILD OF VANCOUVER Steering committee of volunteers to make the TIDAL WAV Outdoor Festivalin Stanley Park a success on June 3, 2022.  We need people to:

  • host events,
  • donate financial support (tax deductible receipts are issued) for honoraria/ expenses for sound and staging,
  • people to share their stories about engaging outdoors via social media (tag us @wildaboutvan #getoutdoors)
  • and to attend.

Go to the Wild About Vancouver website for information about what you can do to Get INvolved OUTdoors!

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