Looking for Spring Break Ideas?

While the students are thrilled about their coming days of freedom, Many parents will no doubt be struggling with ideas on how to entertain the kids over Spring Break …as well as the friends and relatives that may choose to visit here in Hope.

The hot tub and pool are quietly awaiting the influx of kids when schools get out for Spring Break this Friday.

This Friday, March 11th, Hope area schools will ring their end of the day bells and students will celebrate the start of a sixteen day holiday – their annual ‘Spring Break’, which is a full week longer than in previous years! While the students are thrilled about their coming days of freedom, many parents will no doubt be struggling with ideas on how to entertain them …as well as the friends and relatives that may choose this opportunity to visit here in Hope.

The staff at the Hope Visitor Centre have compiled the following list of ideas for local (and near local) entertainment choices. Details about each can be obtained by contacting the Visitor Centre.

If you prefer self-directed activities there are a wide variety of choices to consider.

The Hope Recreation Complex is a great place to play indoors as the Dan Sharrers Aquatic Centre has two swimming pools, hot tub, steam room and sauna while the adjacent Hope Arena offers public skating plus casual hockey and parent and tot skates. The gym and cardio room offer treadmills, elliptical trainers, several bikes, free weights and more. Check their schedule for times and rates.

Other indoor activities include 5 pin bowling and racquetball at Sunshine Lanes in Hope as well as 5 pin bowling at Canyon Lanes in Boston Bar. First run movies can be viewed at the Hope Cinema on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday evenings at 7:30 p.m.

In the great outdoors there is still plenty of snow on our local mountains, so winter play at Manning Park Resort just east of Hope will also be a popular choice during Spring Break. You can choose from cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing activities. The toboggan hill and Polar Coaster are also popular choices for families. Their annual Springfest weekend takes place on March 19 and 20 – so be sure to  check out the fun at the 26th annual Streak the Streak giant slalom race; Head to Head GS Race; King of the Hill Poker Run; Dummy Downhill Race and Treasure Hunt. See www.manningpark.com for details.

This is also the best time of the year to try gold panning and rock hounding on the exposed Fraser River sand and gravel bars. Access is best from along Wardle Street in Hope or the waterfront in Yale.

For those eager to start the hiking season there are a limited number of low elevation walking trails ready to explore. The TransCanada Trail section along Thacker Marsh that starts from Union Bar Rd at Sucker Creek is lovely as is the Rotary Nature Trail along the Coquihalla River starting from Wardle Street. Please note that the popular Othello-Quintette Tunnels walk through the Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park is not scheduled to officially open until sometime in April but you can still walk the old railway grade from the end of Kettle Valley Road to the start of the tunnels.

For those wanting more of a challenge, a special opportunity for winter adventure is being offered on Saturday, March 12, as an advanced snowshoe trip at the Coquihalla Summit is scheduled with the Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning. This challenging climb toward ‘The Needle’ will offer excellent mountain views of the Coquihalla Summit area. See www.hopemountain.org for costs, pre-registration requirements and other details.

For those that wish to take part in structured activities over Spring Break, Hope & District Recreation and Cultural Services has lots of choices. They include a Saturday, March 12, ‘Spring Break Pool Party’ at the Dan Sharrer’s Aquatic Centre from 6 to 8 p.m. featuring games, prizes, movies and fun for everyone; a March 12 and 13 Red Cross Standard First Aid with CPR-C and AED Course from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. both days (Please note that you must pre-register for this course); a Friday, March 18, ‘Dive-In Movie Night’ at the Dan Sharrer’s Aquatic Centre from 6 to 8 p.m.; a Saturday, March 19th ‘Challenge Night’ at the Dan Sharrers Aquatic Centre from 6 to 8 p.m with friendly competitive races, basketball shots and diving skill tests; a Sunday, March 20, ‘First Day of Spring’ event to celebrate Spring trivia at the Hope Rec Centre where the 1st fifty people to correctly answer a skill testing question will win a daffodil; and a Friday, March 25 ‘H20 Blast’ at the Dan Sharrer’s Aquatic Centre from 6 to 8 p.m.. Please call 604-869-2304 for costs and details on all of these events.

The Hope Rec Centre will also offer their ever popular ‘Spring Break Youth Day Camp’ Monday to Friday from March 14 – 18 and March 21 – 25 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day for ages 6 to 12. Activities will include a variety of games, swimming, crafts, skating and special activities. Children are to bring a lunch, swim suit and towel plus helmet & skates if possible. Children must pre-register for this program so please call 604-869-2304 for details.

Camp Squeah, located 16km north of Hope along Hwy #1, is also offering a Spring Break Day Camp from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday from March 14-18.  Activities will include games, crafts, stories, hikes and other outdoor activities for children aged 7 to 12. Register online at www.squeah.com or call 604-869-5353 for more info. Children should pack a lunch but snacks will be provided throughout the day. Lunch will be provided on Friday only.

If you are planning to find a summer job at a local restaurant this coming summer you could use some of your free days over Spring Break to obtain the certification needed to work in the food services field.  On March 17 – 18, the Food Safe Level 1 Course will be offered at the Hope Health Office at 444 Park Street. Call 604-860-7630 for costs, details and to pre-register.

The Hope Library is another great place to explore over Spring Break as they have thousands of book titles for all ages as well as music cd’s; audio books and movie dvd’s to check out. They are also hosting a number of special events over the holiday break period. On Wednesday, March 16 learn all about Grizzly Bears from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. as photographer John Gordon, winner of both provincial and national photography awards, has a wealth of wonderful memories and eye-catching photos from his trip to the Khutzeymateen Valley to share. On Thursday, March 17, the Positively Puppets Performance from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. will have the Puppet Workshop Player’s presenting their ingeniously hand-crafted puppets and original puppet play. On Saturday, March 19, the Birdhouse Building Workshop from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. will be held in the Hope Arena Mezzanine. Bird stories and birdhouse building will highlight this program co-sponsored by the Hope Library and the Hope and District Recreation Centre. Please register at the library for this program. On Wednesday, March 23, magician Matthew Johnson will perform from 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. in the Hope Arena Mezzanine as a Spring Special presented by the Hope Library. Matthew began doing magic at the age of seven and has performed all around the world. Registration is not required for this program. Finally, on Friday, March 25, a ‘Teen Gaming Afternoon’ from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. will feature fast-paced gaming with Wii, X-box etc. Space is limited so please register early for this one. For more details on any of these events please contact the Hope Library at 604-869-2313.

If you are feeling creative, The Art Machine at 777 Fifth Avenue in Hope has scheduled art classes for adults Mondays, Wednesday and Thursdays from 12:30 to 3 p.m. as well as Monday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. Children’s classes are 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays as well as Wednesdays from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Class topics include chalk pastel sketching, Chinese brush painting, papier mache, slab pottery work, pen and ink drawing, acrylic painting and more. Call 604-869-3400 for details. A special class on Saturday, March 26, will feature an altered art workshop – “A Chair of Your Own”- with Rhonda Simmonds from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each. The cost is $38 per person and you should bring a chair and a variety of “found” items to personalize it. No art experience is necessary. Call 604-869-3400 or 604-869-3407 for more info and to pre-register.

St. Patrick’s Day falls in the middle of Spring Break this year and there are a variety of Hope events planned so put on your best green wear and take part in some Irish fun at the Thursday, March 17, St. Patrick’s Day free Treasure Hunt at the Hope Rec Centre. Spot the lucky leprechaun or four leaf clover to win a prize. A St. Patrick’s Day Tea will also be held that day at Our Lady of Good Hope Catholic Church from 1 to 3 p.m. The Catholic Women’s Auxiliary invite you to enjoy a tea including prizes, raffles and a bake sale. Then on Saturday, March 19, celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with dinner and music at The Hope Station House where they will be featuring an Irish song sing-along followed by the all female local band, “Triple D”, performing classic rock at 7 p.m. Doors open at 5:45 p.m. . Call 604-869-5956 for tickets.

Another fun option this Spring Break is the chance to be a spectator at three different hockey tournaments at the Hope Ice Arena. You can cheer on the local players March 11 – 13 at the Minor Hockey Level 2/4 Tournament; March 18 – 20 at the Adult Hockey League Tournament; and March 25 – 27 at the Annual HDRCS Friendship Hockey Tournament.

Take a short drive west of Hope to Bridal Falls and Chilliwack there are also these events to consider. On Thursday, March 17 – 20, the 10th Annual Humdinger RV Extravaganza and March 25 – 27, the Outdoor Decor Show will both take place at Chilliwack Heritage Park. Then on Sunday, March 27, Minter Gardens re-opens for the 2011 season. It will be open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. but may close early in inclement weather.

Details on all of these and many other choices are available from the Hope Visitor Centre by calling 604-869-2021. You can also pick up information on all destinations within British Columbia as we have maps, accommodation listings, ferry schedules and more! We are located at 919 Water Avenue, next door to Gardner Motors, and are open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.