We may be biased, but there are a lot of great qualities us Aussies share with Canadians. Our great senses of humour, a connection to the outdoors, and a huge love of sport, to name a few. You’d be hard pressed to find a community that is more obsessed with sport than Australians, but Vancouver locals come close. Mostly because, like us, they’re lucky enough to play host to a variety of world class international sporting events and some nail-biting local derbies. Here’s how to plan your trip around some of Vancouver’s greatest sporting events to really make your Canadian trip one to remember.
1. Rugby 7s
Vancouver is the sixth stop on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in 2019, hitting Canadian shores from March 9 to 10. The two-day Rugby Sevens Tournament, held at BC Place Stadium, is the perfect opportunity to take in some fast-paced rugby action and let’s face it, get a little rowdy. Notorious for its party atmosphere, the Rugby Sevens involves 16 teams from around the world facing off, while revelers dress-up and ‘sample’ the local beverages. If you want to find us, we’ll be kicking off the celebrations at Craft Beer Market, only a short stroll (or mini-ferry ride) across the harbour, before cheering on the Aussies (who finished with a 4th ranking this year) to victory.
2. Ice Hockey
When you touch down in Vancouver, it’s only right that as a sports fan on Canadian soil you take in an ice-hockey game. A quick visit to Rogers Arena will drop you right in the heart of Canuck territory. Vancouver’s beloved Canucks are an institution in the city, reaching the Stanley Cup finals three times. If you can, time your trip to catch the Canucks taking on long-time rival the Calgary Flames. This is a rivalry so infamous it has its own dedicated Wikipedia page.
3. Canadian Football League
As a nation of football-lovers (featuring balls of all shapes and sizes) it would be a damn shame to pass up the chance to check out the North American take on ‘footy’. It’s pretty much a given that you have to barrack for the local team while you’re in town but trust us, cheering on the British Columbia (BC) Lions isn’t a tough job . Having played in the Canadian Football League since 1954, they’ve won the Grey Cup six times. The Lions also play at BC Place in downtown Vancouver, so catching a game won’t just be convenient, it can be chased by some serious celebration (or commiseration) at any of the local bars and restaurants. The stadium opens two hours prior to kick off and the stadium plays host to pre-match entertainment in the CFL season, so don’t be afraid of getting there on time – or early!
4. Mountain Biking
While loving sport often translates to ‘watching sport’, why not take advantage of the beauty of Vancouver and actually get involved yourself? The forest surrounding Vancouver provides mountain bike trails that last for hours upon hours. Breathtaking views give way to winding trails, rapid river crossings, and fast-paced descents. Not to mention the reward of a Canadian ale once you’re done.
5. Night skiing
Being the sporting aficionado that you are, a night out most likely involves jogging with the dog or heading to the driving range. After all, you’re an athlete, your body is a temple, and you’re acutely aware of how a night out can go downhill quickly. But in Vancouver, that’s exactly the point! At Grouse Mountain – a world-class ski resort only 20 minutes from the CBD – you can enjoy the epic thrill of skiing at night. Over half the mountain is lit until 10pm, allowing you to really connect with the slopes without so much reliance on your vision – a daunting but incredible experience. Plus, you’ll be overlooking the lights of the city below as you glide down the pristine slopes, which, FYI, regularly attract overnight falls that are equal to a season’s worth of Aussie snow. You’ll truly feel as though you’ve died and gone to a pow-filled heaven.