Gambier Island, British Columbia
The Wild Rumpus
June 30–July 3 Spend Canada Day weekend canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding at Camp Latona on Gambier Island, just off the coast of Vancouver. For the second year in a row, the Wild Rumpus takes over the site of a children’s sleepaway camp and gives adults a chance to relive their youth. Adventurous campers can tackle the high-ropes challenge course, play tug-of-war or zipline amid the site’s Pacific rainforest, while those looking for some R&R can spend the day on the private beach (the property sits on 760 metres of oceanfront real estate). If you’re hoping to celebrate the enactment of Canada’s constitution with a tipple or two, fear not: Daily themed parties are complete with DJ and bar.
SOS Wilderness Survival
Year-round Learn valuable wilderness skills with a program designed to help you survive outdoors in potentially life-threatening situations. Whether you choose the three-day basic survival course, five-day complete course or the wilderness navigation option, you’ll emerge from your time spent in northern Saskatchewan completely prepared in case something ever goes awry on a trek or camping trip. From shelter and fire building to learning how to find and purify water, signal for help, identify edible plants and even make weapons to catch your own game, you’ll be at Bear Grylls’ level in no time.
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
David Hawksworth & Friends Culinary Adventure
July 16–20 Pick up tips from a culinary master while exploring the northernmost reaches of Haida Gwaii during a five-day trip hosted by the West Coast Fishing Club. You’ll be treated to daily two-hour cooking classes led by renowned chef David Hawksworth, after which you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labour at the rustic-chic Clubhouse on Langara Island. Outside the kitchen, spend the day fishing for salmon and halibut, take a helicopter tour of the archipelago, explore the island’s remote beaches or visit the remnants of ancient villages of the Haida people, one of North America’s oldest native cultures. Each day wraps up with a classic cocktail followed by a meal prepared by a guest chef. After all, it’s fun to cook, but more fun to feast.
June 23–26 Check your smartphones, tablets and e-readers at the door and get ready to play at this digital detox camp that offers a break from reality. Along with a ban on all electronic devices, Camp Reset attendees aren’t allowed to talk about work or use their real names. For the duration of camp, which begins Friday night and ends Monday afternoon, you’ll partake in scavenger hunts, rediscover the joy of colouring, get wet on the slip ’n’ slide and dance like no one is watching at nightly parties held in the forest. Those who believe the camp experience should be for everyone can even purchase a donor ticket to help subsidize the weekend for someone else who could use a reset.
CAMMAC Summer Program
June 25–August 13 On the edge of Lake MacDonald in Quebec’s Laurentians, CAMMAC Music Centre has welcomed music lovers of all ages and skill levels since 1953 (pianist Gregory Charles and singer-songwriter Coeur de Pirate are notable alumni). The whole family can attend the week-long sessions, with themes ranging from jazz and Broadway to chamber and Celtic styles, and learn from expert instructors like recorder virtuoso Matthias Maute and Montreal Symphony Orchestra bassoonist Martin Mangrum. Don’t play an instrument? No problem. The recorder is always an option for beginners, as is choir – the only criteria is a curiosity for music. There are several accommodations on site, so you can pitch a tent and cook your own meals or stay in the main lodge and have the camp chef keep you well fed (so you can concentrate on perfecting your arpeggios).
August 11–20 Follow the gold rush route up the Yukon River on a 10-day adults-only canoe and camping expedition organized by outfitter Fireside Adventures. The trip lets you face the elements while learning skills like knot-tying, orienteering and how to cook in the bush. Landing in Whitehorse, you’ll spend two days prepping at Takhini Hot Springs before heading off for Carmacks to begin the 430-kilometre journey to Dawson City. Along the way, you’ll pan for gold, visit the ruins of abandoned towns and spend time at the former trading post Fort Selkirk. Come nightfall, everyone gathers around the campfire to read works by “Bard of the Yukon” Robert Service. To cap off the trip in Dawson City, toast your hard work and new-found friendships over a sourtoe cocktail, if you dare (that’ll be one dehydrated human toe in a shot of whisky, please).