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Insider Insights: Articles

Outdoor Report: The unofficial start of summer

By Suzanne Leonard
Weather Broadcaster
Sunday, May 18, 2014, 3:08 PM

Great news – after a long, hard winter and a slow, chilly spring for many, the May long weekend is finally here.

Canadians see this as the unofficial start of summer, and although we won’t always get summery weather in the coming weeks, we are undoubtedly – finally - heading in the right direction. That means many of us will be heading outdoors and connecting with some of our favourite hobbies or trying new ones.

SEE ALSO: Long weekend forecast: Below-seasonal temperatures for parts of Canada

We've got a great new TV and online feature that I’m thrilled to share with you, ‘The Outdoor Report.’ Every week we’ll look at some of the best of Canada - great places and new ideas. I’ll also let you know how to get the latest weather and seasonal information so you’re prepared - things like the bug report. At this time of year there are so many amazing activities you and your family can enjoy. I’m a bit of an outdoor fanatic myself, so my wish for you is lots of fresh air, beautiful nature and great Canadian outdoor experiences!

Stanley Park seawall, Vancouver, British Columbia

Stanley Park seawall, Vancouver, British Columbia

Stanley Park is a gem – a sprawling wilderness park in a major urban centre, one of a kind. Whenever I’m in Vancouver I make at least one visit here. I've walked, run and biked the famous 8.8km seawall in all sorts of weather conditions. Here’s a selfie from my last visit, on the seawall by Third Beach - ocean freighters, the North Shore and the snowcapped coastal range in the distance - couldn't be happier. Explore this amazing park for yourself, get the forecast at the Park's Report.

Head north from Stanley Park across the Lion's Gate Bridge and on to the Sea to Sky highway and a huge range of outdoor adventures open up. An hour's drive - and about halfway to Whistler - is Squamish, known as the "Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada." Squamish is a Mecca for rock climbers, particularly because of "The Chief." The towering cliffs of Stawamus Chief rise to 700m, it's the second largest granite monolith in the world. There are many mountain biking and hiking trails in the Coast Mountains, kiteboarding and windsurfing on Howe Sound, birdwatching for Bald Eagles in nearby Brackendale and many other natural attractions like Shannon Falls Provincial Park - the area will keep you coming back again and again. Get the Squamish forecast here.

For a lot of us the May long weekend means airing out the tent or opening up the cottage, it’s also a big gardening weekend for many Canadians. It marks the turning point when we typically can get on with the business of tending our lawns and putting in new plants without any real threat of frost or snow. I said, typically!

Spring this year has certainly been slow in coming and often cool, so many gardens are seeing growth that is several weeks behind normal. Growing seasons vary quite a bit across the country but there are an increasing number of annuals, perennials and shrubs that are now safe to plant.

In my garden: Daffodils

In my garden: Daffodils

But if you’re still in the early stages of gardening season here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Tidy up your lawns by first raking up the thatch (dead, old grass) before you consider aerating or adding fertilizer or grass seed
  • Tidy up your flower beds by removing old annuals and pruning perennials down to a height of 2-3”/6-8cm, woody perennials to about 6”/15cm
  • Enjoy the early colour display from your spring bulbs and consider planting Daffodils (Narcissus) this fall for next spring, they add brilliant splashes of yellow and they’re pest resistant, one of the few bulbs that squirrels won’t eat
  • Here are more ideas about what you should be doing right now in your garden.

There are so many wonderful things to do and enjoy, what are you waiting for? Happy outdoor adventures!

“There is no wi-fi in the forest, but I promise you’ll find a better connection.”
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