Surrey Fusion Festival
See the world without leaving the city limits at the Surrey Fusion Festival, where you'll find cultural pavilions from dozens of countries, an aboriginal powwow, a Flavours of Surrey food tasting, a children's area, and music that ranges from jazz to zydeco, and from traditional African music to Can-pop, including the sun-soaked Bedouin Soundclash, Canadian rapper Jay Sean and local quartet Van Django (surrey.ca).
Squamish Mountain Festival
Take your weekend to new heights at the Squamish Mountain Festival, a celebration of rock climbing that includes climbing films, speakers, clinics, workshops, demos of the latest gear, activities from a Maxim Ropes Tug-O-War to yoga in the park, and even a Saturday night robot disco party - and all in the heart of Canada's climbing mecca (squamishmountainfestival.com).
Seek the Peak Relay
Move up in the world at the Seek the Peak Relay, a fundraiser for Rethink Breast Cancer that has participants racing from Ambleside Park through North Vancouver and up the Grouse Grind to the peak of Grouse Mountain. Prefer charity without the screaming muscles? Take the gondola to the peak, make a donation, then enjoy a barbecue and drinks on the plaza (grousemountain.com).
Walk With the Dragon
Want more fresh air for a great cause? Join S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Walk With the Dragon, where 13,000 participants take a scenic stroll around the Stanley Park seawall to raise funds for seniors, youth and families in need, then round out the day with a carnival and live performances (Sunday, successfoundation.ca/walk).
Gay Day at Playland
Put on a red shirt and kick off the Vancouver Pride season with Gay Day at Playland, where the LGBT set can enjoy roller coasters, carnival games, live entertainment and DJs, drag shows and a private beer garden (Saturday, vancouverpride.ca). And no matter what your romantic leanings, be one of the first to brave ATMOSFEAR - a new gravity-defying, 218-metre high ride that reaches speeds of up to 70 kilometres an hour. Opens Saturday at 10 a.m. (pne.ca).
Symphony in the Park
Enjoy great classical music in a spectacular setting as the VSO performs works by Berlioz, Haydn, Rossini, Tchaikovsky, Rodgers and Hammerstein and more at Deer Lake Park (Sunday, vancouversymphony.ca). More arts with sets by Mother Nature? Catch a free First Nations dance performance by the Dancers of Damelahamid at Ron Basford Park on Granville Island (Sunday, newworks.ca).
Vancouver Drawn Festival
Check out drawings by artists from Inuit printmakers to graffiti artists, and from art world up-and-comers to veterans Ann Kipling and Jack Shadbolt at Drawn, a city-wide festival of contemporary drawing that includes exhibitions, artist talks, gallery tours, a symposium and more (until August 6, drawnfestival.ca).
Watch what happens when wheels meet gravity at Kokanee Crankworx, a down and dirty international celebration of free ride mountain biking that has top riders from around the globe flipping, flying, twisting and plummeting, and includes a full expo, demos by the pros, free outdoor concerts by musical heavyweights Hot Hot Heat, Current Swell and more (until July 24, crankworx.com).
Wiener Dog Races
They aren't exactly known for their lightning speed or the svelte racing physiques, but you can cheer on tiny Dachshunds as they have their moment in the (very low) spotlight at Hastings Racecourse, where the famed Weiner Dog races return this weekend. Don't miss the grand finale, where the winners of eight heats square off in a battle for wiener dog supremacy (hastingspark.com).
Pack up a blanket and some popcorn, and treat yourself to a free outdoor movie. Offerings this weekend include How To Train Your Dragon at Killarney Community Centre Saturday (killarneycentre.ca), and Rio at Confederation Park in Burnaby Sunday (vancity.com). For great celluloid in the great indoors, don't miss the Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival, which is running alongside Indian Summer (visaff.com).
Stanley Park Mash
Thousands flock to Stanley Park for its lush green, but you can learn how to tell your cedars from your firs and your salal from your salmonberries at With Glee: The Stanley Park Mash!, a guided walk that includes information about the plants of Stanley Park, and the food, medicine, shelter and tools they have provided for centuries (Sunday, stanleyparkecology.ca). For another great walk in the park, make your way to Tynehead Regional Park in Surrey, where they're celebrating the official opening of the new perimeter trail (Saturday, metrovancouver.org).
Special to The Globe and Mail