Have you heard of Friluftsliv? It’s the Scandinavian term for “open-air living,” a way to enjoy the outdoors whatever the weather. While it doesn’t come naturally for everyone, outdoor activity is exactly what’s needed to stay healthy, balanced, and connected – especially right now. Fortunately, with mountains and ocean nearby, North Vancouverites have abundant options for outdoor recreation. Here are a few ideas to get you out the door.
Growing, teaching and sharing in our community
As we slowly re-emerge from the pandemic crisis, it is fitting to acknowledge and appreciate our public parks. As difficult as the last year has been, it would have been so much worse without our parks, trails and greenways. Our local parks are where we can exercise, relax, gather safely with others, connect to nature and heal. Celebrate our outdoor spaces this June and check out some excellent NVRC outdoor programs this summer!
While many of us consider the outdoors an open and welcoming space to recreate, for some it is not that easy. Certain members of our community, such as new immigrants, refugees, racialized and marginalized groups, often face cultural, financial and skills barriers to being able to enjoy the outdoors. Colour The Trails aims to change all that by removing barriers for Black, Indigenous, racialized and LGBTQ2+ members of our community, so that the great outdoors can feel safe and truly inclusive for everyone.
From a small detail adorning a retaining wall on a private lot, to the full-on magnificence of a mural beautifying a building at Capilano University, I have new appreciation for public art in our community. According to my friend Tammy Mulder, there is beauty everywhere. All you have to do is look.
“I believe the outdoors is for everyone,” says Taryn Eyton, outdoors enthusiast, adventure writer, blogger and now author of Backpacking in Southwestern British Columbia, an essential guide to overnight hiking trips. Her new guidebook features 40 overnight backpacking trips to destinations easily accessible from Vancouver. “The key to enjoyment is getting out there knowledgeably and responsibly.”
Urban farming on the North Shore has taken off in recent years. Much of the credit for this growing movement goes to The Edible Garden Project (EGP) based within North Shore Neighbourhood House (NSNH). The Project’s vision to “grow, teach, and share” has transformed yards, parks, boulevards, rooftops and schoolyards into edible landscapes that grow fresh produce accessible to everyone in the community.
With the days lengthening and the birds chattering, spring has returned in earnest. It’s a great time to head out into the garden and also start some seeds indoors. No matter if you are a natural green thumb or would like to cultivate one, here are some ideas to get you growing!
Socrates once said “Contentment is the wealth of nature.” I couldn’t agree more and feel very fortunate to live close to so many mountains, trails and parks. The well-being that comes from recreating outdoors is undeniable, and being able to access so much locally is a joyful privilege.
Outdoor exercise and recreation yield a whole host of positive physical and psychological benefits, including natural light therapy and Vitamin D, mood elevation, lowered levels of stress, and greater feelings of revitalization.
Hit the Slopes
Head to one of the three North Shore mountains this winter break to ski or snowboard with your family. Mount Seymour, Grouse Mountain, and Cypress Mountain all have adapted the ski experience to make it COVID-safe with increased cleaning and physically distanced lift lines. Remember to bring your mask and reserve tickets online in advance.
For a season that revolves around delicious treats, gifts and good times, the winter holidays are too often synonymous with stress and busyness. This year has added on a whole new layer of challenges, but that’s OK! With physical activity in your back pocket, there are still plenty of ways to stay happy and healthy during the festive weeks.