Catching a Wave with Captain Hans

Hi guys – it’s Morgane again!

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I wanted to blog about my most recent FAM tour, aboard the Shadowfax. What an amazing time I had with Captain Hans on the open sea! Vancouver Island Catamaran Sailing is owned and operated by Hans Bongarts who has been sailing for 37 years and loves to take his guests on adventures.

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The Shadowfax is the vessel that Hans uses and it is a real beauty. She was made for gently sailing along the Pacific coast and is she also eco-friendly. This catamaran can hold up to 12 people comfortably as there is ample room on the large deck and netting area.

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Hans is very accommodating with his tours and lets people choose where they want to sail, how long the tour will be and if there is a special event, he is more than happy to let you bring your own food, drinks or party supplies aboard. He will often combine sailing with Island and beach activities, BBQ’s, hiking and swimming.

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Our little group started from the Waterfront  Suites and Marina (where the Shadowfax makes her home) loaded with fruit, chocolate and of course a little vino! The sun was shining and although it was a little windy, the water was quite calm. I managed to score a spot on the netting in the front and take in some rays while Hans gave us a little history on Newcastle Island, which we were just passing.

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Our trip took us around Newcastle and Protection Island as well as the downtown harbour. On the way we saw a few seals, lots of boats from all over B.C and the States as well as gorgeous views from all directions. At one point we encountered an area of water with bright orange piping around it and the mast of a ship sticking up from the water. Apparently, a boat had sunk in this area and now like the chalk outline of a dead body, the area was surrounded in order to keep people away from the tragedy. Okay, so I read a lot of crime books!
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If you’re looking for a great way to see the Island, I highly recommend letting Captain Hans take you on a tour. Not only is he knowledgeable but he is very personable and seems to really love his job! Of course, what’s not to love about spending a sunny day on the sea with great company?! For more info, check out his website HERE.

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Have fun out there!
~Morgane
info@tourismnanaimo.com
250-751-1556

morgane

Exploring Newcastle Island in Nanaimo

Hey guys, Heather here!

Since I began working with Tourism Nanaimo at the beginning of the summer, I’ve been inspired to rediscover the Harbour City. After checking a few boxes off my list I decided I to go on a ‘re-adventure’, and do something I had not done since I was in grade 7…  hike around Newcastle Island! I called my brother, my very first adventure buddy, to tell him the plan and he was eager to join me in reliving our youth.

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Me and my brother!

The morning was a little gloomy but we made a pact that rain or shine this hike was happening, we did grow up on the ‘wet-coast’ right after all! We arrived early for the ferry (which runs every hour on the hour from Maffeo Sutton Park) so we walked the waterfront and grabbed a Nanaimo Bar latte from my favourite coffee shop, Javawocky. We made our way to the Newcastle Island ferry where we hopped on the Island Mist foot passenger ferry ($9 round trip adult fare, $6 for child and senior) and set sail on our 10 minute ocean cruise.

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Getting ready to hop on the passenger ferry

We arrived on Newcastle Island and all my childhood memories came flooding back to me. The clubhouse still hosts interesting art pieces, the totem poles are still standing proud, the open campground and playground reminded me of why I loved this little island so much. My brother and I set out on our journey, first checking the map at the beginning of the trail to decide what our path would be.

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We decided to stick to the perimeter path of the island, which is approximately 7.5 kilometers but there are several joining trails that allow other island adventurers to shorten or lengthen their hikes if they choose (the trails are suitable for all experience levels, including children, dogs and those on bikes).

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The perimeter path follows the coast line of the island, providing stunning views of the Pacific Ocean while also catering to those seeking a more forested surrounding. I should also note that in addition to the breathtaking views, Newcastle Island is enriched in fascinating history and cool points of interest along the trails, such as the Giovando Lookout and the Sandstone Quarry.

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I highly recommend leaving a few hours open to hike Newcastle Island. My brother and I kept finding ourselves running out to all the various lookout points, astonished every time at the beauty around us (we may have stopped to catch some Pokémon along the way). We even took a moment on one of the beaches to get our ‘Om’ on and reflect on how lucky we truly are to live in the Pacific North West.

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We live here?! 

We met a few people during our hike who frequently like to spend the day island hopping. They begin with hike around Newcastle Island and finish it off with lunch at the Dinghy Dock Pub on Protection Island. It’s a little know fact, but if your check with your ship’s captain, they may be able to drop you off at the pub for a small additional fee. Sounds like a pretty great way to spend a day if you ask me!

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Mmm. Dinghy Dock food.

I hope you are as inspired as I am to get out and explore all the wonders Nanaimo has to offer.

Until next time!

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Cheers,

Heather🙂
info@tourismnanaimo.com
250-751-1556

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What’s Up in Nanaimo: Aug. 25 – Aug. 31

What’s Up in Nanaimo This Week

August 25th, 2016 – August 31st, 2016

For more local events, visit www.tourismnanaimo.com/events



Featured Events:

Nanaimo Blues Society’s Summertime Blues Festival.  Fri – Sun @ Maffeo Sutton Park, Single Day $52.50, Weekend $146. This long standing premier blues festival will bring some of Canada’s best blues artists for three days to Nanaimo. Enjoy every kind of blues you can imagine. This really is the Summertime Shades of Blues Festival. For complete line-up follow this link.

Summertime Blues Fest


The End of Summer Bash. Sat @ 4:30 PM, Nanaimo Entertainment Centre, $50-60

NightLife Entertainment & Where It’s At Entertainment presents The End of Summer Bash, the biggest hiphop show to ever hit Vancouver Island! Featuring KXNG Crooked, ONYX, Snak The Ripper, Merkules, Prada West, Konfidential and the Tangible Two. This event is for all ages and tickets are going fast!

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CONCERTS and LIVE MUSIC

Concerts in the Park, Mon @ 12:30PM & Wed @ 6PM, Maffeo Sutton Park. Free This summer, bring a lawn chair and a picnic while enjoying some great musical entertainment in two of Nanaimo’s most beautiful parks.  This Monday enjoy some Folk/ Pop by Little Crow and on Wednesday enjoy soft rock stylings by Glen Foster Group

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Summertime Music Series 2016. Thurs @ 12 PM. Diana Krall Plaza. FREE EVENT

This week will be featuring Scott McGill and Hope King. Bring your lunch and listen to some great local music!

Live at Longwood. Thurs @ 8 PM. Longwood Brew Pub.

Live music every Thursday night, this week featuring David Bitonti & Clear The Coast

RED FOO & The Party Rock Crew, Fri @ 6pm, Beban Park, $40

This will be the ULTIMATE END OF SUMMER CONCERT that you don’t want to miss!! This is an ALL AGES Concert, BUT there will be a BEER GARDEN for those that are 19+

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Sean Drabitt Quartet, Sun @7:30pm, Simon Holt, $15

Join Sean Drabitt, one of Canada’s best jazz bass player, and his quartet for an exciting evening of jazz music inspired by the compositions of Jaco Pastorius. This performance will be recorded live.

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TOURS

Historic Pub Tour, meet at the Bastion, Thur @6:45pm, $25

You get two funky old pubs, loads of historic and quirky facts about our ever-evolving liquor laws in BC, beer, a slice of Mambo’s pizza and an eclectic guide to bring it all to life!

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Newcastle Island Walking Tour  Sat -Sun @ 10 AM. & 2pm Newcastle Island. $10/adult, $5/child (no reservations required)

This 1.5 hour tour is led by an experienced Snuneymuxw guide who will introduce you to the Snuneymuxw First Nations history, stories and traditional medicines on beautiful Newcastle Island.

Newcastle SUP Race and Ocean Swim, Sat @ around 10am, prices vary, Newcastle Island (registration required)

The SUP Race is a 4km & 11km stand up paddle board race starting and ending on Newcastle Island. This is a great way to see the islands in front of our beautiful harbour from a new perspective.

Newcastle Salmon BBQ

Nanaimo Bar Trail Run. Tues @ 9:30 AM. Diana Krall Plaza. $15. Bring your running shoes and get ready for an approx. 6-8km run (nobody left behind). At the finish line indulge in a coffee and a world famous Nanaimo Bar!

OTHER HIGHIGHTS


Cannon Firing, Daily @ 11:45 AM, in the Square next to the Bastion, FREE.

Join the ceremonial cannon firing which is accompanied by Bill Poppy, the Nanaimo bagpipe icon.

Ecstatic Dance, Fri @ 7:30 PM, OmTown Yoga, $12.

Discover that you are naturally endlessly creative. In this open improvised and free form dance practice the body is a vehicle for authentic expression and joyful discovery of the stories we hold in our bones and hearts. This movement practice is energetic, fun and transformative. Everyone is welcome to join, regardless of age, injury or experience!

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Highland Dancers, Thurs & Sat @ 11:30 AM, next to the Bastion, FREE

Twice a week the cannon firing is accompanied by several local highland dance students. Be sure to be there early as they start at 11:30 a.m. before the actual cannon firing ceremony.

Vintage & Handmade Market, Sat @ 10AM, Milstone Winery. Free.

A charming outdoor market with fresh food, vintage treasures, handmade items & live music! Over 25 vendors – lots to see & do! Bath bombs, soaps, jewelry, wooden signs, rustic & farmhouse decor, lots of vintage treasures & collections, vinyl records, fresh flowers, GREAT food, live music & lots more!

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Cheese Making Course, Sun @ 10:30-2:30pm, Gabriola Island, $95 (reservations required)

This is your chance to learn how to make mozzarella and Chevre cheeses with Paula on beautiful Gabriola Island. Lunch and take home ingredients are included. Make it a day trip and Gabriola Island. Ferry schedule here.

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KIDS ACTIVITIES

Art Lab Studio, Sat @ 9:30-12:30, Nanaimo Art Gallery, $12/child

Let your kids connect with artists, experiment with materials, learn new techniques, and have fun with art making.

Summer Activities at the Museum. Wed & Fri @ 1:30 PM. Nanaimo Museum. Incl. in admission. This drop-in, hands-on programs are ideal for children ages 5-12. It’s a great opportunity to keep your kids engaged and explore the museum!

Summer museum activities

Summer Playground Program. Mon – Fri @ 10 M. Various Locations. FREE. Hey, kids 5-12! Drop into one of the neighbourhood playgrounds this summer for FREE family fun!.

Art Festival, Sat @ 12PM, Gallery Row, Free. We will have live music from Boomshack and Shed, hot food, silent auction for charity (ART LAB), face painting and goodie bags for the kids, chair massages, and more.

Drop-in Tabletop Gaming. Sat @ 1 PM. Nanaimo Harbourfront (Downtown) Library. FREE. Bored? Like games? The come check out our Board Game Afternoon!

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Sunset & Stars Storytime, Tues @ 7PM, Maffeo Sutton Park. Free. Join us at Maffeo Sutton park for a special evening storytime outside to say goodbye to summer. For ages 2 – 6 and their entourages.

Wacky Wednesdays at Aquatic Centre

Come and enjoy some weird and wacky fun  each Wednesday in July and August! Regular admission rates apply.

KinPark Kids Camp

KinPark Kid’s Camp is preparing for another awesome summer of gardening, growing and cooking fun! We are now accepting registration for the summer.

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FARMER’S MARKETS

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Island Roots Bowen Road Market, Weds @ 4-6:30pm and Sat @9-12pm, Beban Park, FREE

Nanaimo’s premier food-oriented market promoting the 100 mile diet.

Bastion Waterfront Farmers Market, Fri @10am-2pm, Pioneer Plaza, FREE

Find farmers, bakers, crafters and anything else locally grown, made or baked.

Nanaimo Flea Market Fri @12pm, Wellington Hall, FREE.

Everyday retro, jewelry, antiques, household goods, jam, jellies, baked goods, farmer’s eggs and so much more.

Cedar Farmers Market, Sun @10-2pm, Crow and Gate Pub Field, FREE

The market boasts over 70 full time vendors making it one of the region’s largest.

Lantzville Market, Sun @ 1:30-4pm, St. Phillips Church, FREE

This is a great little market featuring local vendors from Nanaimo and Region

Gabriola Farmers’ Market, Sat @ 10-2pm, AGI Hall, FREE

Find farm fresh produce, fresh baked and over 30 local artisans and health practitioners

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Get to Know the Tourism Staff: Natasha

As we continue in our weekly series of getting to know the Tourism Nanaimo staff, we now get to meet the lovely Natasha. Have a look at what she likes and loves about Nanaimo:

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In your opinion, what is Nanaimo’s best kept secret?

If I told you Nanaimo’s best kept secret, it wouldn’t be a secret anymore😉 I used to think that Ammonite Falls was one of Nanaimo’s best kept secrets, but now it is on our Nanaimo and Region Map so I don’t think it’s much of a secret anymore. Now I would maybe say the Nanaimo River, which has several quite spots to set up for a day of fun in the sun, swimming, snorkeling and enjoying a nice picnic. Plus it is a great place for the pups to play too!

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Nanaimo River swims are refreshing and perfect in the summer heat! (Credit: Cody Nelson)

What’s one place/event/activity in Nanaimo that you have not yet participated in but would love to one day?

Something I would love to do here in Nanaimo, but have not yet had the chance to do is to go diving. I have heard that Nanaimo has some of the Island’s best Dive Sites and I am eager to explore. I have only ever dived in tropical waters so diving in the Pacific Ocean will be a bit different and I imagine a lot colder.

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Jacques Cousteau named us Best Cold Water Diving in the World

If a visitor was only in Nanaimo for one day, what would you recommend they must see?

If I only had one day in Nanaimo I would want to hike up to the top of Mount Benson. Although this hike might not be suitable for beginner hikers, but once you reach the summit the views are absolutely amazing, and it would only be a half day trip so I could go tour some of the breweries or wineries in the area depending on my taste bud’s mood as a little self-reward for making it up to the top🙂

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Mount Benson Summit (Credit: Richard Kelly)

What’s the most interesting/surprising thing you’ve learned about Nanaimo since working for Tourism Nanaimo?

I think the most interesting thing I have learned since starting to working for Tourism Nanaimo is all the history that surrounds Nanaimo. I never knew exactly old it actually is, or that it is one of BC’s oldest cities. The Nanaimo Museum has a few great exhibits, not to mention one of our Tourism offices is located in the historic Bastion in downtown Nanaimo.

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Lots of great exhibits at the Nanaimo Museum!

 

What’s Up in Nanaimo This Week: Aug. 18-24

What’s Up in Nanaimo This Week

August 18th, 2016 – August 24th, 2016

For more local events, visit www.tourismnanaimo.com/events


Featured Events:

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The VIEx is in town!

 Gabriola Theatre Festival, August 18th– 21st, Gabriola Island, $20 a show

The Eighth Annual Gabriola Theatre Festival will have it all this August on beautiful Gabriola Island! There will be eight exciting main stage productions with a FREE Outdoor Performance Stage, a lively Artisans Avenue, a Human Library, Pancake Breakfasts, Fashion Show, Creative Kids Corner and a Creativity Workshop. And to kick off the whole shebang—a Toga Party!

VIEX: The Vancouver Island Exhibition, August 19th -21st, Beban Fairgrounds, Adults $11 a day or $22 for 3 days.

Summer Days and Country Ways is the theme for this year’s exhibition, featuring displays, demo’s competitions, great music…and lots of family fun. The Fair originally started over 100 years ago and continues now as an annual event to advance the education of agriculture and showcase local farmers and 4-H clubs, bringing agricultural awareness to our community.

Nanaimo Fringe Festival, August 11th– 21st, Harbour City Theatre or Vancouver Island Conference Centre, Show Times vary. $12 a show, festival passes are also available, 5 shows for $40.

The 6th annual Nanaimo Fringe runs August 11-21, 2016. Enjoy 48 live theatre show times. 8 companies will be performing in front of a live audience who may love, hate, become transfixed or even startled. This festival is perfect for developing, emerging and experimenting artists. 100% of ticket proceeds go directly to the artists. You need to be a member to attend. Get your $5 fringe button at the door and wear it throughout the festival.


CONCERTS and LIVE MUSIC

Summertime Music Series 2016. Thurs @ 12 PM. Diana Krall Plaza. FREE EVENT

This week will be featuring Scott McGill and Hope King. Bring your lunch and listen to some great local music!

Live at Longwood. Thurs @ 8 PM. Longwood Brew Pub.

Live music every Thursday night, this week featuring David Bitonti & Clear The Coast

Friday Fun at Minnoz, Fri @ 7 PM, Minnoz Restaurant, FREE

A ‘must be at’ for this exciting downtown night spot! Elegant & classy! Prime rib featured plus Wine, spirits or craft beer tastings courtesy various Vancouver Island vendors. No cover, reservations recommended! Mention promo code: @DaveHartMusic

Connor Stewart & The Rhythm Thieves, Thurs @ 9PM, The Vault, $10. Back at the Vault once more after receiving 2 standing ovations there in July these Vancouver Island musicians are guaranteed to put on a good show.

Sophia Danai, Fri @ The Vault. Mysterious and sensuous; a voice coated in vulnerability with melodies as dynamic as the inspiration it came from, Sophia Danai is a singer, a storyteller, a producer and an artist.

Saturdays & Wednesdays at New York Pizza. 6PM – 8PM. Quiet enough to enjoy your dining experience, but with an upbeat energy, Marty’s style of playing matches the ambience of the restaurant – a mix of elegance and grit that will satisfy your musical tastes.

BoodAbooM, Fri @ 9PM, Corner Lounge, $5. Expect to hear a blend of songs from lead singer Theo Massop’s current, previous and upcoming album releases alongside current and classic favourite dance hits.

1950’s Rock n Roll Dance with The Doctors of Rock n Roll, Sat @ 8PM, MGM  Restaurant, $5. Dance to the music of the Golden Era of Rock n Roll with the Doctors of Rock n Roll at the world famous MGM Restaurant.

Blue dirt girl Crazy Beautiful Tour, Sun @ 7PM, $20. Blue dirt girl is gypsy soul moving from jazzy to swing and back again. blue dirt girl is releasing our first album, Crazy Beautiful, and heading out on a Vancouver Island tour August 21-28th.

KIDS ACTIVITIES

Concerts in the Park, Mon @ 12:30PM & Wed @ 6PM, Maffeo Sutton Park. Free This summer, bring a lawn chair and a picnic while enjoying some great musical entertainment in two of Nanaimo’s most beautiful parks.  This Monday enjoy guitar and vocals by Karen Kelm and on Wednesday enjoy some classic rock by Doctors of Rock n’ Roll

Art Lab Studio, Sat @ 9:30-12:30, Nanaimo Art Gallery, $12/child

Let your kids connect with artists, experiment with materials, learn new techniques, and have fun with art making.

Morrell Nature Sanctuary Summer Day Camp. Mon – Fri @ 9:30 AM – 3PM. Morrell Nature Sanctuary. $25/day. Learn about fast flyers and mighty mammals, ICKY insects, slime time or become a Forest Detective or Mad Scientist.

Summer Activities at the Museum. Wed & Fri @ 1:30 PM. Nanaimo Museum. Incl. in admission. This drop-in, hands-on programs are ideal for children ages 5-12. It’s a great opportunity to keep your kids engaged and explore the museum!

Summer Playground Program. Mon – Fri @ 10 M. Various Locations. FREE. Hey, kids 5-12! Drop into one of our neighbourhood playgrounds this summer for FREE family fun! Activities could include crafts, games, sports & arts.

Drop-in Tabletop Gaming. Sat @ 1 PM. Nanaimo Harbourfront (Downtown) Library. FREE. Bored? Like games? The come check out our Board Game Afternoon!

Strategy Board Game Night. Tues @5 PM. Nanaimo Harbourfront (Downtown) Library. FREE. Love to play board games? From Settlers of Catan to worker placement, a librarian will be on hand to moderate and play. Bring your games, bring your opponents or come alone and meet others who share your hobby.

Sunset & Stars Storytime, Tues @ 7PM, Maffeo Sutton Park. Free. Join us at Maffeo Sutton park for a special evening storytime outside to say goodbye to summer. We’ll share stories, sing songs and do other fun activities on blankets beneath the setting sun. For ages 2 – 6 and their entourages.

Wacky Wednesdays at Aquatic Centre             

Come and enjoy some weird and wacky fun each Wednesday in July and August!
Regular admission rates apply.

KinPark Kids Camp

KinPark Kid’s Camp is preparing for another awesome summer of gardening, growing and cooking fun! We are now accepting registration for the summer.

SHOWCASES and TOURS

Historic Pub Tour, meet at the Bastion, Thur @6:45pm, $25

You get two funky old pubs, loads of historic and quirky facts about our ever-evolving liquor laws in BC, beer, a slice of Mambo’s pizza and an eclectic guide to bring it all to life!

Newcastle Island Walking Tour. Sun @ 10 AM. Newcastle Island. Ferry: Adult $9, Child $6. Begins at the Totem Pole where you will enjoy the regular tour of storytelling and a nature walk. Tours are approximately 2.5 hours, pre-booking required.

Nanaimo Art Gallery presents: Trusses. Thurs – Sun @ 10 Am. Nanaimo Art Gallery. By Donation. Trusses is an exhibition of works by contemporary artists and architects that explore how buildings resonate through their uses and their interactions with other forms of culture.

Nanaimo Bar Trail Run. Tues @ 9:30 AM. Diana Krall Plaza. $15. Bring your running shoes and get ready for an approx. 6-8km run (nobody left behind). At the finish line indulge in a coffee and a world famous Nanaimo Bar

The Story Behind the Artifact. Daily @ 10AM. Nanaimo Museum. $0.75 – $2. The artifacts on exhibit range from ordinary household objects to those that have survived fatal accidents. They cover hundreds of years of Nanaimo’s history, from First Nations stone tools to surveying instruments used up to the 1990’s.

Art Festival, Sat @ 12PM, Gallery Row, Free. We will have live music from Boomshack and Shed, hot food, silent auction for charity (ART LAB), face painting and goodie bags for the kids, chair massages, as well as your opportunity to participate in creating Nanaimo Art’s Council’s next tile mosaic!

OTHER HIGHIGHTS

Cannon Firing, Daily @ 11:45 AM, in the Square next to the Bastion, FREE.

Join the ceremonial cannon firing which is accompanied by Bill Poppy, the Nanaimo bagpipe icon.

Highland Dancers, Thurs & Sat @ 11:30 AM, net to the Bastion, FREE

Twice a week the cannon firing is accompanied by several local highland dance students. Be sure to be there early as they start at 11:30 a.m. before the actual cannon firing ceremony.

Clay Tree Society 3rd Annual Flea Market, Sat @ 8:30AM, 838 Old Victoria Rd, Free. Clay Tree is a non-profit, registered society that was incorporated in 1957 under the Societies Act of British Columbia.

GeekCon, Sat @ 10AM, Nanaimo Harbourfront Library. Free. Join us at the Harbourfront Library for a celebration of Geek Culture with all day entertainment, board games and PokemonGo including a cosplay competition, video games, Magic the Gathering and panel discussions. Fun for the whole family.

Yoga on Tap, Sun @ 11AM, White Sails Brewing, $20 Bring your mat and join us for a yoga class with live music, followed by a brewery tour and craft beer tasting.

Must be 19+ to bend at the brewery. Please bring 2 pieces of ID.

Hike & Yoga, Thurs @ 6PM. OmTown Yoga. $25

This month’s Hike & Yoga adventure leads us to Heart Lake, a scenic hike along Holland Creek behind Ladysmith and then up a steep but relatively short section to Heart Lake. It’s about 4k to the lake one way. Moderate fitness level recommended.

 FARMER’S MARKETS

Island Roots Bowen Road Market, Weds @ 4-6:30pm and Sat @9-12pm, Beban Park, FREE

Nanaimo’s premier food-oriented market promoting the 100 mile diet.

Bastion Waterfront Farmers Market, Fri @10am-2pm, Pioneer Plaza, FREE

Find farmers, bakers, crafters and anything else locally grown, made or baked.

Nanaimo Flea Market Fri @12pm, Wellington Hall, FREE.

The Nanaimo Flea Market is open to everyone and has a variety of vendors. You can find holiday, everyday retro, jewelry, antiques, household goods, jam, jellies, baked goods, farmer’s eggs and so much more.

Cedar Farmers Market, Sun @10-2pm, Crow and Gate Pub Field, FREE

The market boasts over 70 full time vendors making it one of the region’s largest.

Lantzville Market, Sun @ 1:30-4pm, St. Phillips Church, FREE

This is a great little market featuring local vendors from Nanaimo and Region

 

#ExploreNanaimo: Neck Point Park

An #ExploreNanaimo Blog by TN Staffer Morgane


I had heard a lot about Neck Point Park and was very happy to finally have an opportunity to visit. The park is aptly named for a gravel bar that connects the park to a rocky head of igneous rock out in the water; which really does resemble a long neck! There are 36 acres of waterfront to explore and winding trails through Garry Oak Groves.

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The “Neck” at Neck Point. Credit: Ian Andrew Nelson

So my hubby and I packed up the dog (dogs are allowed on the paths but not the beach) and headed out at 7:30 at night. I have to say that I was quite struck by how beautiful the views were! Everywhere I looked was another photo opportunity. As we walked around, the dog found rabbits to chase and a deer to stalk; I’m not sure she knew what it was, but she is always up for a challenge!

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Views everywhere you look

The climb was mostly uphill for a while, so I definitely got some exercise and had to stop to rest a few times. The trails are mostly developed but there are some areas that were of the beaten path through the trees. At that time of night, the woods seemed slightly daunting and my husband and I opted for the security of the path (yes, we are both wimpy!). Along the path we came across some wooden stairs that led to stunning views, especially when you catch the sun setting in the distance.

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Lots of boardwalks & stairs. Credit: jess.wandering via Instagram

This area is also known as a great diving site and orcas, seals and otters can often  be seen playing around in the waves or hanging out on outcrops of rock formations. Apparently a friendly octopus also makes it home in the deep water (I wonder what my dog would make of such a creature?)

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Sunset is stunning at Neck Point

Once the sun set, it was time to head home as the darkness made it a little harder to see the sights. I would recommend this area to anyone and look forward to my next adventure at Neck Point Park.

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For more parks & trails ideas in Nanaimo & Region, check out our website.

Until next time,

Morgane
250-751-1556
info@tourismnanaimo.com

morgane

Get to Know the Tourism Staff: Meshal

As we continue in our weekly series of getting to know the Tourism Nanaimo staff, we meet Meshal. Coming to us as a volunteer, you can typically find him at events and stationed in the Bastion. Here’s what he had to say about himself:


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In your opinion, what is Nanaimo’s best kept secret?

In my opinion, Nanaimo is full of secret places; however, Westwood Lake is the best secret. Westwood Lake is a very unique and special lake. The first time I heard about it, I thought it was just a lake where people could go to practice water sports or hiking at most, but Westwood Lake is more than that. Westwood Lake Park is owned and managed by the City of Nanaimo. It has a 5.5 kilometre hiking trail all around it, and people can bring their own boats as long as they are non-powered or have electric motors. There is also a private campground near the lake for out-of-town visitors, with full and partial RV service, tenting, cabins, boat rental, a social place for playing indoor games and the Snack Shack Café and Shop.  Many people go to Westwood Lake for hiking, fishing, camping, picnicking, playing in the playground and on the beach, and sun tanning.

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Summertime at Westwood Lake

What’s one place/event/activity in Nanaimo that you have not yet participated in but would love to one day?

A Flightseeing tour with Sunshine Coast Air or Harbour Air is one thing I really want to experience. I really want to see Nanaimo’s local lakes and Mount Benson from the sky.

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Flightseeing Tours with Sunshine Coast Air

 If a visitor was only in Nanaimo for one day, what would you recommend they must see?

The waterfront is the best for a one day trip because it is not only located in the heart of downtown Nanaimo, but it also contains many places that are very interesting, such as the Nanaimo Bastion, the farmers’ market, and two beautiful islands that visitors can get to easily and at low prices: Newcastle and  Protection Islands.

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Downtown Nanaimo Waterfront Walkway

 What’s the most interesting/surprising thing you’ve learned about Nanaimo since working for Tourism Nanaimo?

That Nanaimo has more places and activities than I thought, or have visited!

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Come #ExploreNanaimo!

Check back next Saturday as we meed another Tourism Nanaimo volunteer. Thanks for reading!

 

Symphony by the Sea ~ Music for All

A Guest Blog by: Deidre Tansey for Festival Seekers


The sun is sitting low, blocked by scattered clouds, and Maffeo Sutton Park is slowly beginning to fill.  People from every part of Nanaimo and beyond are headed towards the charming park pavilion. Young families carrying coolers filled with snacks, couples holding hands, and seniors with lawn chairs, knowingly armed with golf umbrellas and warm clothes.

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The setting is casual, buoyant and incredibly scenic, not the expected scene for a symphony orchestra, but that is the draw! Every year for over a decade, music lovers have gathered in the park for an exuberant outdoor show. Calvin Dyck, the concertmaster for the Vancouver Island Symphony, invites the entire audience into the experience from start to finish. His enthusiasm and humour take the idea of ‘symphony’ to an entirely new level of entertainment. A lady sitting next to me shared that she’s been coming for years now. “A friend dragged me one year, I told her I didn’t want to go because I don’t really like classical music. This show changed all that for me! I love how they make music come alive!” – See more at: http://explorenanaimobc.com/2016/08/12/symphony-sea-music-ages/#sthash.a15Mz9qK.dpuf

 

What’s Up in Nanaimo: Aug. 12-17

 

Wondering what’s happening around town?

We’ve got you covered!


Featured Event: Nanaimo Fringe Festival, August 11th– 14th, Harbour City Theatre or Vancouver Island Conference Centre, Show Times vary. $12 a show, festival passes are also available, 5 shows for $40.

The 6th annual Nanaimo Fringe runs August 11-21, 2016. Enjoy 48 live theatre show times. 8 companies will be performing in front of a live audience who may love, hate, become transfixed or even startled. This festival is perfect for developing, emerging and experimenting artists. 100% of ticket proceeds go directly to the artists. You need to be a member to attend. Get your $5 fringe button at the door and wear it throughout the festival.

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Longwoodstock, August 12th – 13th, Longwood Brewery,

Back by popular demand! Join us at the Longwood Brewery Back Lot Summer Bash for live music, beer gardens, food vendors and great times! Begin Friday and Saturday at the Longwood Brewery and continue the each night at Nanaimo’s hottest after parties downtown. Featured artist include Daniel Wesley, WiL, Northcote, Job Middleton, Dope Soda, Sirreal & More.

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 CONCERTS and LIVE MUSIC

Summertime Music Series 2016. Thurs @ 12 PM. Diana Krall Plaza. FREE.

This week featuring The Distributors. Bring your lunch and listen to some great local music!

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Live at Longwood. Thurs @ 8 PM. Longwood Brew Pub.

Live music every Thursday night, this week featuring Cody Nyman & Calixxa.

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Friday Fun at Minnoz, Fri @ 7 PM, Minnoz Restaurant, FREE

A ‘must be at’ for this exciting downtown night spot! Elegant & classy! Prime rib featured plus Wine, spirits or craft beer tastings courtesy various Vancouver Island vendors. No cover, reservations recommended! Mention promo code: @DaveHartMusic

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Marty Steele at the Keyboards. Sun @5:30 PM. MGM Restaurant. FREE. Marty Steele has played dance music for the beginner and advanced alike, along with a great selection of easy listening instrumentals. Guaranteed fun for the young and old alike, it makes for a very satisfying early evening in a very comfortable setting.

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Saturdays & Wednesdays at New York Pizza. 6PM – 8PM. Quiet enough to enjoy your dining experience, but with an upbeat energy, Marty’s style of playing matches the ambience of the restaurant – a mix of elegance and grit that will satisfy your musical tastes.

Herbicidal Maniacs “L I V E”  in Concert, Sat @ 8 PM, Lantzville Pub, FREE

Come out and enjoy an evening of ALL ORIGNIAL music from the Herbicidal Maniacs, dance to their groove and feel the power of their Westcoast Sound!

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KIDS ACTIVITIES

Concerts in the Park, Mon @ 12:30PM & Wed @ 6PM, Maffeo Sutton Park. Free This summer, bring a lawn chair and a picnic while enjoying some great musical entertainment in two of Nanaimo’s most beautiful parks.  This Monday enjoy some Blues/Jazz/Pop musical stylings by Joan Wallace and the Mary’s and on Wednesday enjoy Classical music stylings by The Nanaimo Chamber Orchestra

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Art Lab Studio, Sat @ 9:30-12:30, Nanaimo Art Gallery, $12/child

Let your kids connect with artists, experiment with materials, learn new techniques, and have fun with art making.

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Morrell Nature Sanctuary Summer Day Camp. Mon – Fri @ 9:30 AM – 3PM. Morrell Nature Sanctuary. $25/day. Learn about fast flyers and mighty mammals, ICKY insects, slime time or become a Forest Detective or Mad Scientist.

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Summer Activities at the Museum. Wed & Fri @ 1:30 PM. Nanaimo Museum. Incl. in admission. This drop-in, hands-on programs are ideal for children ages 5-12. It’s a great opportunity to keep your kids engaged and explore the museum!

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Summer Playground Program. Mon – Fri @ 10 M. Various Locations. FREE. Hey, kids 5-12! Drop into one of our neighbourhood playgrounds this summer for FREE family fun! Activities could include crafts, games, sports & arts.

Drop-in Tabletop Gaming. Sat @ 1 PM. Nanaimo Harbourfront (Downtown) Library. FREE. Bored? Like games? The come check out our Board Game Afternoon!

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Strategy Board Game Night. Tues @5 PM. Nanaimo Harbourfront (Downtown) Library. FREE. Love to play board games? From Settlers of Catan to worker placement, a librarian will be on hand to moderate and play. Bring your games, bring your opponents or come alone and meet others who share your hobby.

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NALT Summer Picnic, Sat @ 11 AM, 3145 Frost Road in Cassidy, FREE

Join us for guided tours, live local music, wild salmon BBQ and special tribute to Anneke and Peter Van Kerkoerle.

Love Your City – Free Family Fun Day! Sat @ 11 AM, Maffeo Sutton Park, FREE

You’re invited along with everyone else in Nanaimo! Come out and have fun in the park with great live music all day, puppet shows, face painting, jumping castles, bouncy obstacle course, gladiator joust, and other fun games! Plus free hot dogs, tons of cotton candy, popcorn and MUCH MORE!

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SHOWCASES and TOURS

Historic Pub Tour, meet at the Bastion, Thur @6:45pm, $25

You get two funky old pubs, loads of historic and quirky facts about our ever-evolving liquor laws in BC, beer, a slice of Mambo’s pizza and an eclectic guide to bring it all to life!

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Newcastle Island Walking Tour & Salmon BBQ. Sun @ 10 AM. Newcastle Island. BBQ: Adult $50, Child $25; Ferry: Adult $9, Child $6. Begins at the Totem Pole where you will enjoy the regular tour of storytelling and a nature walk. Once the tour is over, you will enjoy eating a traditionally cooked BBQ salmon while the Snuneymuxw chef will take you through the process of cooking traditionally and speak of the teachings handed down through the generations. Tours are approximately 2.5 hours, pre-booking required.

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Nanaimo Art Gallery presents: Trusses. Thurs – Sun @ 10 Am. Nanaimo Art Gallery. By Donation. Trusses is an exhibition of works by contemporary artists and architects that explore how buildings resonate through their uses and their interactions with other forms of culture.

Nanaimo Bar Trail Run. Tues @ 9:30 AM. Diana Krall Plaza. $15. Bring your running shoes and get ready for an approx. 6-8km run (nobody left behind). At the finish line indulge in a coffee and a world famous Nanaimo Bar

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The Story Behind the Artifact. Daily @ 10AM. Nanaimo Museum. $0.75 – $2. The artifacts on exhibit range from ordinary household objects to those that have survived fatal accidents. They cover hundreds of years of Nanaimo’s history, from First Nations stone tools to surveying instruments used up to the 1990’s.

OTHER HIGHIGHTS

Cannon Firing, Daily @ 11:45 AM, in the Square next to the Bastion, FREE.

Join the ceremonial cannon firing which is accompanied by Bill Poppy, the Nanaimo bagpipe icon.

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Whiskers & Wine, Fri @ 6PM, Nanaimo & District BCSPCA Community Animal Centre, $50

Join us and CTV Host Brian Williams for an evening of wine, craft beer, and local food. Enjoy music from local bank “Boomshack”. There will also be an array of fantastic live and silent auction items, including a selection of cat collectible items donated from the estate of beloved and greatly missed animal lover Sylvia Tuele.

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Festival-Style Open-Air Yoga, Fri @ 4:30 PM, Gallery Row, FREE

We invite you to express yourself at Gallery Row’s Summer Festival Series by donning your best festival-style face and body paint! Please bring your own mat and anything else you want for decorating yourself beforehand!

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Culture and Heritage Paintout 2016, Sat @ 11 AM, EJ Hughes Gallery, $10

Bringing culture and heritage to life in an artistic race against time! Meet at the EJ Hughes Gallery on Saturday at 11 AM then head out to a randomly designated spot downtown Nanaimo to set up and paint a cultural or heritage subject at the location. Meet back to the Gallery with your completed painting for judging and prizes. Pre-registration is required, deadline August 12.

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Highland Dancers, Thurs & Sat @ 11:30 AM, net to the Bastion, FREE

Twice a week the cannon firing is accompanied by several local highland dance students. Be sure to be there early as they start at 11:30 a.m. before the actual cannon firing ceremony.

Salsa Sundays Salsa/Rueda intro Nanaimo, Sat @ 3 PM, Vibe Dance Studio, $10 one session, $15 both sessions

3-4:15: Beginner salsa/Rueda class. Learn the fundamentals of Cuban salsa and start dancing immediately in the uniquely Cuban Rueda circle. This class is open to beginner dancers but will move as quickly as dancers’ salsa basics allow

4:30 – 5:45: Beyond beginner salsa/Rueda (too advanced for new salsa dancers who took the first session). Learn the difference between a Cuban and LA salsa Cross Body Lead and put it into practice in this more advanced Rueda class. You will also learn the different timing and prep for turns.

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Kayak & Yoga, Thurs @ 6PM. OmTown Yoga. $45

A guided paddle to New Castle Island where the group will land and be lead through a chilled out yoga flow as the sun sets. After, we will then take a moment together to enjoy the amazing view, and then paddle back to Nanaimo. All levels welcome, no yoga or kayaking experience necessary. Snacks provided by Power House Foods & Elevate Me. Yoga led by Katherine Boere Kayaks & guides provided by Alberni Outpost

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FARMER’S MARKETS

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Island Roots Bowen Road Market, Weds @ 4-6:30pm and Sat @9-12pm, Beban Park, FREE

Nanaimo’s premier food-oriented market promoting the 100 mile diet.

Bastion Waterfront Farmers Market, Fri @10am-2pm, Pioneer Plaza, FREE

Find farmers, bakers, crafters and anything else locally grown, made or baked.

Nanaimo Flea Market. Fri @12pm, Wellington Hall, FREE.

The Nanaimo Flea Market is open to everyone and has a variety of vendors. You can find holiday, everyday retro, jewelry, antiques, household goods, jam, jellies, baked goods, farmer’s eggs and so much more.

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Cedar Farmers Market, Sun @10-2pm, Crow and Gate Pub Field, FREE

The market boasts over 70 full time vendors making it one of the region’s largest.

Lantzville Market, Sun @ 1:30-4pm, St. Phillips Church, FREE

This is a great little market featuring local vendors from Nanaimo and Region


For more local events, visit www.tourismnanaimo.com/events

Exploring Nanaimo Outdoors with Driven Performance Fitness

Getting Sweaty while Exploring Nanaimo Outdoors @ Driven Performance Bootcamp


I am a true believer in fitness bootcamps. I love them because they are a quick, varied workout (45 min – 1 hr) and they provide fantastic all over body conditioning. No spending 2 hours in the gym just working on legs, then 2 hours the next day working on arms.  I don’t have time for that! I also like how they combine resistance and cardio training, which is very effective for weight loss. My first few sets of bootcamps three years ago took me from a size 14 to a size 8 in less than a year, and I barely changed my diet, except for cutting out bread. I still like to indulge in wine and chocolate, which is why I’ve become a bootcamp junkie!

I find fitness classes are more effective for me than going to the gym or for a run on my own, which are easy to skip if it’s raining or I don’t feel like going. If I sign up for a set of fitness classes I’m simply more likely to go.

I have tried various bootcamps in Nanaimo as I like to see what’s being offered and compare instructors, prices and the types of classes they offer. An instructor can make such a huge difference to a person’s bootcamp experience. I look for instructors who are encouraging, fun, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Instructors who lead by example and actually do the exercises, and who also watch the class closely to ensure newbies are doing the exercises correctly and safely rate high in my books.

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Checking out the Beban Park location

I recently started Driven Performance’s 6-week Outdoor Boot Camp, which runs July 18-Aug 26. It appealed to me because I love exercising in the beautiful outdoors when the weather’s nice, and they offer a choice of 15 classes per week at various locations around Nanaimo with a number of different instructors. Talk about variety! They also provide a private Facebook support group, which is great for sharing stories and advice and making new friends.  To learn more about their boot camp and their other fitness offerings, click here or check out their video below:

It has been 8 weeks since my last boot camp. I’ve stayed active running and doing stair workouts, but it’s not the same as having your body pushed to its limit several times per week, so I was prepared to feel a little stiff the first couple of weeks.

Because I work during the day I opted for the 6 pm classes at Westwood Lake, Beban Park and Neck Point. They also offer class times at 7:00 and 10:30 am. As I write this blog we are half way through the 6 week series and I’ve met four of their instructors – Karen, Danielle, Fab and the Driven Performance owner, Miguel Diaz.

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Core work on the mats

Each instructor leads a different type of workout, which is what I like about having a variety of instructors. One evening Karen had us doing 2 different exercises, and repeating the set three times, before moving onto another two exercises. One set included doing a spider crawl into a push up for 60 seconds, doing curtsy squats for 60 seconds, and then going back to the spider crawl. Karen also introduced us to an exercise I hadn’t tried before – the butterfly – which entails going into a squat position then moving your thighs in and out like butterfly wings for 60 seconds. You really feel the burn doing these after one minute, especially after doing a minute of squats! For two days I felt my inner thighs like never before! I really like the end of her classes where she combines an exercise we all hate, such as burpees, into a 3 ½ min upbeat song. Every time we heard a certain refrain in the song, we had to do one burpee. It sounds harmless enough, but over the course of the song we must have completed 40 burpees. She’s very tricky that Karen!

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The Neck Point location

The owner of Driven Performance, Miguel Diaz, instructed the Neck Point evening class I attended and wow, what a fantastic class! Not only is it held in a beautiful setting overlooking the ocean, but Miguel is very enthusiastic and motivational, always offering corrections and challenging us to do the exercises in different ways. He really knows his stuff and helped the new bootcampers adapt certain exercises to meet their fitness levels, adapted other exercises if people had injuries, and pushed the stronger athletes to challenge them more. We remained on our mats most of the time working on exercises for our core strength. We even partnered up to help challenge each other with certain exercises, like pushing down our partner’s legs while they laid on their backs, and they tried to resist our pushes. Another fun exercise was having every student remain in a plank position while each student ran to the end of the line one at a time, essentially moving our plank line down the beach! It’s awesome when instructors can incorporate FUN into a workout class, which makes me actually WANT to come to class. Just because it’s exercise doesn’t mean it has to be a chore.

The other two instructors, Fab and Danielle, were absolutely amazing and very motivating. I can’t wait to see what the remaining 3 weeks have in store. So far I’m very impressed with Driven Performance’s Outdoor Bootcamp and would highly recommend it for any fitness level!

Have fun out there,
Trish
trish.smith@tourismnanaimo.com

Trish Tough Mudder

Me @ Tough Mudder