The Vancouver Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show offers a chance to meet hundreds of exhibitors showcasing international and local tours, products and destinations all in one room. Our second trip to the Vancouver Outdoor Adventure & Travel show was as interesting and fun as it was the first time. We left inspired too, and here’s why.

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Adventures over the border and beyond

Not just limited to showcasing the great Canadian wilderness, the Vancouver Outdoor Adventure Show offers exciting international adventure inspiration too. The state of Oregon had particularly large representation alongside Costa Rica, Belize, Cuba, South Africa and more. We enjoyed learning about adventure opportunities in all of them, but Japan was our favourite. I had no idea how much diving there is – think manta rays, whale sharks and plenty of wrecks! Japan (specifically Okinawa) is moving closer to the top of our travel list as I type.

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Fascinating people

You never know who you may bump into at the Vancouver Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show. This year, alongside many friendly vendors and exhibitors, we were also lucky enough to chat with a world champion free-diver and record holder. Mandy-Rae Cruickshank set the record for deepest constant weight dive on a single breath – an incredible 88m. Mandy-Rae lives on Vancouver Island and was representing Performance Freediving International at the show. I had never really considered trying freediving but I was amazed how easy Mandy-Rae made it sound.

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Canadian National Parks

Celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday has certainly given Parks Canada a bit of a buzz this year. As you probably already know, entry to Canada’s National Parks is completely free in 2017. Parks Canada was on top form at the show, handing out free Discovery Passes and showcasing different Parks. The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve was featured particularly well with an awesome photo booth (complete with some fun props!)

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New Canadian businesses and products

We’re always excited to hear about new businesses, especially when they are outdoor adventure focused and, better still, local to Canada. From just-established tour companies to recently launched food brands and more, we were able to learn about some great new experiences and products. Better still, we also have some great snack samples to try on our next hiking/paddling trips!

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Interesting talks and demonstrations

Not just a place to view exhibits and mingle with vendors, the Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show also has an extensive talks program. From photography workshops to presentations on bushcraft and horseback riding, there was a little bit of everything featured on the five ‘stages’ throughout the weekend. In the demo pool, it was also possible to try scuba diving!

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Socially responsible adventure travel companies

One of the main sponsors of the Outdoor show is G Adventures, a small group tour company offering ‘sustainable travel experiences.’ One of their core values is to make sure trips give back to the communities in which they operate in the form of local investment. While we personally prefer to travel independently, I have a lot of respect for tour companies that ensure the communities they visit actually benefit from their presence.

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Spring is coming!

It was snowing reasonably heavily outside on the second day of the snow. Thankfully, there were quite a few vendors inside to remind us that spring is on the way. Bike displays, hiking guides, paddling demonstrations and a whole city of tents were enough to put me back in the springtime frame of mind. Although I’m sure I won’t be packing my snowboard away just yet, I’m excited to check out the new trails and camping spots I learned about at the show soon.

Thank you to National Event for offering us free weekend passes to the show!

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Have you been to the Vancouver Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show? What was your favourite experience?

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Gemma
Author

One half of a Canadian/British couple currently living in Penticton, British Columbia. Gemma is happiest with a paddle in her hand, on the trail or planning the next big adventure.

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