A recent game of bocce with my boyfriend reminded me why it’s such a lovely way to spend an hour or so in Vancouver’s beautiful outdoors. It’s leisurely, easily learnt by a newbie, and a fun, interactive activity to do together. With August slipping away, don’t hesitate to take advantage of the sun and the summer warmth!
Here are three different ways to enjoy a game of bocce in the city:
1. Head to any of the amazing parks in Vancouver. The Vancouver Park Board maintains more than 230 parks, spread out across the city, giving you an abundance to choose from. Bring your own bocce set and pack some picnic provisions for enjoying before or after the game. If you don’t own a set, there are companies in the city, such as bocce.ca, that will rent you one for a nominal fee (eg $ 20 per day).
2. If you’d like to have someone prepare a gourmet meal for the two of you and also provide you with bocce, you’re in luck! Picnix is a company that specializes in picnic experiences in Stanley Park and English Bay. Basically, you order lunch or dinner service (both $ 40 per person) in advance, as well as additional items, like an umbrella ($ 8) or bocce set ($ 6). Your order comes with a six course meal (which includes Japanese noodle salad and New York style cheesecake), lemonade, water, fleece blankets, and pillows.
Lunch pick-up of your wooden wagon happens at Stanley Park, at Lot 62, the first lot on your left when heading to the Vancouver Aquarium. Dinner service pick-up is at English Bay, at Denman and Davie.
Once you have your wagon, you can go in search of your perfect spot for eating and playing bocce.
Return your wagon to your pick-up spot within three hours.
3. Deer Lake is an approximately 30 minute drive from downtown Vancouver and well worth the trip. Situated just on the shores of the tranquil lake, you’ll find Hart House Restaurant (6664 Deer Lake Avenue), an elegant Tudor revival building on a three-acre estate known for its impressive gardens.
I’m an especial fan of Hart House’s patio, which gives you unbeatable sightlines of both the gardens and Deer Lake.
Visit Hart House for lunch, summer Happy Hour (3-6pm Tues to Fri and Sundays), dinner service, or Sunday brunch. After a meal featuring the best of Pacific Northwest ingredients (eg open faced panko crusted salmon sandwich), you can play bocce or croquet on the estate’s lawns. Just make sure to call ahead to book a set before your meal.