There’s lots of free fun to be had on the Coast during Family Day this Monday, Feb. 10.
The provincial holiday was enacted in B.C. in 2013 and is meant to celebrate families and encourage them to spend time together.
To help, the provincial government has provided some funding this year to open up recreation facilities on the Coast to all families, free of charge.
“We received a grant through the Ministry of Community Sport and Cultural Development in partnership with the B.C. Recreation and Parks Association,” said Deb Shorthouse, of aquatics and fitness with the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD).
“We got $1,000 per site. So we received funding for the Pender Harbour Aquatic Centre, the Gibsons and District Aquatic Facility, for the Gibsons and Area Community Centre, for the Sechelt Arena and the Sechelt Aquatic Centre as well as Dakota Ridge.”
Dakota Ridge will be open all day long while free swimming will take place between 1 and 5 p.m. in Gibsons and Sechelt and 1 and 4 p.m. in Pender Harbour.
Free skating will be offered at the Gibsons and Sechelt ice rinks from 2 to 3:30 p.m. and skate rentals are also free of charge.
Sam Adams, the SCRD parks planning coordinator, encourages families to take a trek up the mountain to ski, snowshoe or toboggan on Dakota Ridge in the morning and then enjoy other SCRD facilities in the afternoon.
“So they could go up and have fun in the snow and then go down and warm up in the hot tub and let the kids play around in the pool for example,” Adams said. “The best would be if people stepped outside their box a little bit and decided to take that opportunity to try something they maybe haven’t tried before.”
Families who stop by any of the SCRD facilities will have the opportunity to enter a draw for a free family pass, which would allow use of the facilities 10 more times at no charge.
In addition to the free fun the SCRD is planning, YMCA Camp Elphinstone will open their gates to the public from 9 a.m. to noon.
Families will be able to enjoy archery, hiking, ropes courses and games led by the Camp Elphinstone outdoor staff free of charge.
A light snack will also be served.
“We want everyone to come out to camp to enjoy time outside, being active and to experience camp as a family,” said Ange Cruikshank of Camp Elphinstone.