Between bannock-making lessons in Burns Lake, skating in Port Alice and human dogsled races in Kaslo, there’s no shortage of fun activities to choose from over the upcoming BC Family Day long weekend.
This year’s holiday on Monday, Feb. 13, provides British Columbians with a well-deserved mid-winter break to spend extra time with their loved ones. Having raised two sons with Charlene, my wife of 50 years, and now being blessed with three grandchildren, I know the value of spending quality time with family. An extra day off helps to support individual wellbeing, reconnect families and build vibrant communities.
The Government of British Columbia has again provided $250,000 to support free local, family-focused activities in communities large and small. Distributed through the BC Recreation and Parks Association, these one-time grants are supporting hundreds of activities in more than 100 communities throughout the province. Arts and crafts, photo booths, obstacle courses, magic shows, face-painting, ice skating and barbeques are just a few of the free activities that local governments are planning over this Family Day long weekend. To see what’s happening in your community, visit: http://www.bcrpa.bc.ca/familyday/events.
Additionally, you can check out notice boards at local community centres and sports complexes for Family Day events. BC Parks (http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks) is a great resource for anyone looking for an outdoor adventure and Destination BC (http://www.hellobc.com) offers a wealth of handy trip ideas.
If you are a skier, residents of B.C. can ski and ride for half price at participating ski areas thanks to a partnership between 27 provincial ski areas and Canada West Ski Areas Association. Did you know that B.C. residents account for 56% of ski visits in the province and the ski industry alone employed over 12,000 last year? Over the past several years, BC Family Day has been a significant economic driver for the B.C. ski and tourism industries and our province continues to have one of the highest provincial participation rates of active skiers. For more information on participating ski areas and additional ski offers, visit: http://www.winterwithin.ca/winter-activities/family-day
2017 will mark the fifth year for residents and visitors to celebrate BC Family Day. In 2012, after consulting with the public and private sectors as well as hearing from citizens directly, British Columbians made it clear that having our own unique holiday on the second Monday in February was the best choice for B.C.
There are a number of benefits to having our own unique holiday. Less traffic on the highways and shorter waits at ferries and airports means travel planning will be easier for British Columbians – or for their families coming to visit from elsewhere. From an economic perspective, the timing of BC Family Day helps boost our tourism industry. Long weekends are important opportunities for this sector to generate income, as tourism is an industry that supports nearly 19,000 businesses and over 127,000 employees in our communities.
By investing in local Family Day activities throughout the province, our government is building a strong B.C. for all our citizens and celebrating our families in all their diversity. I wish everyone a happy and safe Family Day weekend!