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Fantastic Fall (and where to find it)

Everyone loves the fall, don't they? Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back, the leaves are turning golden and it’s finally cool enough to bring your favourite sweater out of hibernation! There are also a ton of fun things happening around the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley at this time of year, from Halloween-themed events to pumpkin hunting to sports. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list so you don’t have to go searching the internet for things to do this month.

Take a walk in the park

Fall is the perfect time for a stroll along the Stanley Park seawall, through Queen Elizabeth Park or to hike up to quarry rock. Take in some of the beautiful golden leaves in the crisp fall air. VanDusen Botanical Gardens is a lovely place to visit at this time of year or, if you’re feeling more adventurous; check out some of the trails on

Ride the Stanley Park Ghost Train

The Ghost Train is a classic Vancouver Halloween activity that's perfect for the whole family as the spook factor is quite low. This year’s train has a day of the dead theme. The train runs from October 8th to 31st.

Fright Nights at the PNE

Another Vancouver Halloween tradition! Fright Nights has seven haunted houses and fifteen terrifying rides to spook you. Fright Nights runs October 7th to 31st.

There’s only one October

October is a great month for sports fans. Major League Baseball is about to enter the playoffs, hockey is back (the Canucks home opener is October 15th), and the BC Lions are chasing down a playoff spot. It’s the perfect time to get together with some friends and catch a game.

Vancouver International Film Festival

Vancouver welcomes film buffs and filmmakers from over 80 countries around the world at this year’s film festival.  Take in a flick at one of the seven venues across the city. VIFF runs September 29th to October 14th. 

Chilliwack Corn Maze

Chilliwack corn is famous! The team at the YMCA head office are always trying to talk our Chilliwack Family YMCA colleagues into delivering us some! The only thing better than eating Chilliwack Corn is trying to find your way through the twelve acre maze of it.

For the ski buffs: Get ready for ski and snowboard season with the annual Turkey Sale in Whistler! October 7th to 10th.  

For the runners: The Granville Island Turkey Trot is back this Thanksgiving Monday, October 10th. For the little runners: the Turkey Trot Kids Run takes place on Sunday, October 9th.  The kids run is designed to inspire kids to get moving, make healthy choices and feel confident.

Vancouver Aquarium After Hours

Why not celebrate Halloween with aquatic life on October 27th. Grab a beer or cocktail and explore the aquarium after dark. This one is for adults only!

Check out a pumpkin patch!

If you’re looking to pick your own pumpkin for carving there are a number of options to choose from. Check out this ultimate guide to pumpkin patches in Metro Vancouver.

Want to share your adventures with us? Tweet us a photo @GreaterVanYMCA!

Picking the right shoes

You don’t need to purchase much equipment when you join the YMCA.  We provide you with basketballs, racquets and yoga mats during your visit. However, one often overlooked piece of equipment is what you put on your feet.  The right pair of shoes can often increase your performance and decrease the chance of injury. 

We asked shoe fit guru David D’Argé from Rackets and Runners to give us some advice on selecting a pair of shoes. 

What are the best shoes to wear to the gym?  

Depends on what activities you do.  There is a shoe for every activity and there are a lot of activities at the Y.  If you spend most of your time on the fitness floor, a low-profile indoor trainer would be ideal.  If you are going to jog on the treadmill, a running shoe suited to your foot type is the way to go.  A court shoe or something with lateral support or structure is good for basketball, squash or badminton.

How many pairs of shoes do I need? 

Wearing the wrong shoes for a sport you play every once in a while is usually fine. But if you’re serious about doing multiple activities, you’re going to need more than one pair of shoes. People are often surprised how the right shoe can help them in reaching their fitness goals.  With improper footwear, the best case scenario is you will ruin your shoes. I’ve seen lots of injuries from people who regret not getting the right shoes for their sport.

What are the most common mistakes people make when picking their shoes? 

They don’t get the right fit. People will trust an online review or what their friend swears by over what’s on their own feet. Your friend or the reviewer might have a different foot size or shape than you. Try the shoes on for yourself and trust what your feet are telling you. 

How do I know if I have the right fit? 

Have your foot measured by someone who knows what they’re doing.  People often select a pair of shoes that is too small for their feet. Don’t buy a pair without trying them on first to see how they feel.

Do I need to break them in? 

Athletic shoes should feel comfortable as soon as you put them on.  They should improve slightly with wear. 

How long should a good pair of gym shoes last? 

Depends on how often you use them and what you use them for. If you are using them exclusively indoors, the cushioning and support will break down before they look worn out. If you are feeling sore or your feet hurt after your workout, it might be the shoes.

They don’t make my favourite pair of shoes anymore. What should I do? 

There’s probably a newer version of your shoes.  Sadly, the newer versions don’t always fit or feel the same as the shoe companies are trying to improve them.  If you really love a pair of shoes, consider buying more than one pair.

I’ve hurt my feet running before. What do I need to know? 

Talk to a medical professional such as a podiatrist to get the problem properly identified.  It might not be as bad as you think. Then, as always, make sure you are wearing the proper footwear for every activity.

What’s the latest technology in shoes these days? 

The shoe industry is rife with fads and fashion.  Some people believe that minimalist shoes are the only way to go, while it simply doesn’t work for others.  Find a shoe that works for you and don’t believe the hype.

Finally, if men forget to bring their athletic socks to the gym, should they wear black dress socks with their running shoes? 

Well, dress socks perform almost the same as sport socks  … but really dude? Seriously. 

Tricks for Healthy Halloween Treats

The fall season is upon us: the beautiful colours of the trees, the crisp sound you hear when you step on leaves, and all those delicious baked goods and drinks at our favourite coffee shops...yes please! We know it can be hard to resist treats when there are so many delicious options available at this time of year, but we're here to help! Here are some simple healthy recipes that can be tried at home.

Chocolate Spider-Web Cupcakes

This spooky treat will taste great and of course the best part is the recipe below uses many healthier alternatives!

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Soft and “homey” – what else could you ask for?!

Try to only use half the sugar the recipe calls for or try a healthier alternative such as apple sauce instead.

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bites

They’re small, cute, and full of energy! Add or take out things according to your taste!  

Trick or Treat! With Halloween this month along comes all that candy and chocolate. Try handing out some of these healthier alternatives:

  • Mini boxes of Raisins
  • Sealed Bag of Pretzels
  • Sealed Bag of Apple slices
  • Cereal or Granola Bars

All of the above items can be found at your local grocery store. Want to get more creative? You can also hand out halloween themed pencils, erasers, or stickers!

Get inspired this fall. Check out the YMCA Power of Peace Awards

Each year, YMCAs across Canada set aside a week in November to celebrate peace in all forms.

Locally, we’re gearing up for the YMCA Power of Peace Awards which will take place on November 17 at the Norman Rothstein Theatre in Vancouver at 7:00 p.m. Please join us.

This is a special event to honour individuals or groups who without any special resources, demonstrate a significant commitment to the values of peace. It’s an evening to reflect on the meaning of peace and to acknowledge those who are working hard to transform our communities locally or globally.  Above all, it’s about bestowing peace medallions on those who are building new bridges of compassion and understanding.

This year, our keynote speaker is social justice activist, Michele Landsberg. Michele is an award-winning journalist who focuses on race and gender equality.  She’s never shied away from discussing sexual harassment, discrimination, equal pay, reproductive rights and more. Guests will also learn more about our 15 nominees who are promoting peace in innovative and thoughtful ways. You won’t want to miss this event.

Tickets are $20 and just $10 for students. Proceeds from tickets go towards the YMCA’s Global Initiatives.


YMCA Camp Elphinstone voted best outdoor venue

YMCA Camp Elphinstone has been voted best outdoor venue by Unique Venues, an online listing that showcases venues available for rent. Why were we voted so?

While we boast some pretty impressive new indoor meeting spaces, comfortable lodges and fabulous on-site catering, it’s the outdoor space has people returning so often. Because we operate as a camp in the summer and offer outdoor education programs during the school year, we have the facilities to cater to a wide range of adult groups in the September to June season.

Activities like archery, high & low ropes courses, climbing, and miles of private oceanfront just waiting to be explored via canoe or kayak, are an excellent way to embark on an unforgettable team building adventure or corporate retreat. With more than 144 acres of lush rainforest, we are able to host various types of events, including corporate functions, large group meetings, family reunions, weddings and various other celebratory and training events.

To inquire about dates or learn more about pricing, please contact or 

Have you heard about the YMCA Megathon? Sign up today!

This mega-fun event is all about taking on fitness challenges and raising funds to ensure everyone can access the Y regardless of their ability to pay.

You can sign up on your own, join or create a team.

Register by October 15th, and you’ll also be eligible to win a personal training session. Registration is FREE when you raise $150 or more, too. The event takes place on November 5th at all four Y locations.

To learn more or to register 

See you there!