by Deborah Rogers –
What to do on the Saanich Peninsula – approved activities for 3 to 15 years
It can feel challenging to find ideas for activities for older teens, so I was very happy to chat with Ava who reassured me there’s still lots you can do, even during Covid-times.
Ava (14) – One of the best things about living in North Saanich are the beaches. At Pat Bay or Norris Beach you can safely meet with friends, paddle, kayak if you have access to one, and feel really free. A favourite place to meet up with a friend is Wain Park – there’s lots of space and grass to play ball on, or the tennis courts. When you’re ready for a break, walk up to Deep Cove Market and get an ice cream (this works whatever time of year it is!). Sidney has a beach volleyball court at Tulista Park which is a great new option for outdoors activity; you don’t have to play a proper game, just try and get your teams roughly even! The Airport Path is a good destination to ride bikes with friends, and with grassy spots on the way round there’s space to hang out without getting in anyone’s way. The library is also a regular destination and their summer reading club often has great prizes!
Siblings who love the outdoors, Aanya Amber and Yash live in Brentwood Bay.
Aanya Amber (13) – Clearly, Aanya Amber likes to be moving as her favourite activities are horse riding (she goes to Oaklands Equestrian) or motocross! She also loves mountain biking with friends. You can go to Hartland or Mount Work for trails, but it’s also lots of fun finding all the hidden spots around Brentwood Bay to ride and practise skills. Grabbing a milkshake at the Brentwood Bay Village Empourium is highly recommended too.
Yash (9) – Playing with friends at Centennial Park is the best. Large groups can play games like manhunt or camouflage or tag. Or make up your own games! You can play disc golf at Bayside Middle School now (don’t forget to take a frisbee with you). For a more structured activity, book a session at Boulders Climbing Gym.
Further afield, the siblings loved visits to Durrance Lake and Sooke Potholes last summer. The water is cool and refreshing and really clean. Top tip: get ice cream from Sooke River Store afterwards.
A family with four siblings was bound to have lots of ideas. From their Central Saanich home they have all sorts of adventures. Highlights include:
Calder (9.5) – Thrifting and antiquing. A history buff, Calder loves to visit The Old Attic in Saanichton and Everything Old in Brentwood Bay to find intriguing items to add to his collections. He says a visit to the thrift stores in Sidney can bring some unexpected bargains too, including a tabletop pinball machine on one memorable occasion. Pair that with a treat from Sidney Bakery and you have a winning day out!
Selah (8) – Take a walk at Centennial Park, or, at Oak Haven Park (in Brentwood Bay) you can hike up a mountain and see the whole world from the top (mom assures me it’s a manageable 40-minute round trip!). Another fun outing is to visit the Brentwood Bay Village Empourium for a tea latté and one of their Empourium eggs.
Thea (6) – The Country Bee Honey Farm is a favourite destination to visit all the animals in the petting zoo. You can buy food there to feed them; Thea’s favourite is Penny the bunny. If you’re allowed you can also get a treat for yourself at the farm: the Compost Cookie has potato chips AND chocolate chips!
Evrah (4) – Any beach visit is fun for Evrah. She likes building forts with her brother and sisters at Island View, and looking for sea glass at Glass Beach in Sidney. She’s happy to paddle sometimes too.
Although there’s lots of playgrounds on the Peninsula, and Tulista gets a great recommendation, Calder points out the lesser-visited Fire Station playground on Keating Cross Road.
The wisest words I heard in all my delightful chats came from Yash: “just find some friends, social distance, and have fun!”
Photos provided by respective families;
Photo of Amber and Yash by Janis Jean Photography