Celebrated as far back as 1845, Victoria Day (or simply May Long), has a long tradition of ushering in Canada’s unofficial start to the summer. Sure, it usually comes with an unwelcome dose of snow or rain, but with true Canadian persistence that doesn’t stop us from planning parties, camping trips, and other get together.
So, in honour of this important holiday, we’ve put together a list of 20 green activities that you can do for Victoria Day 2016 and pretty much any other long -and short- weekend of the year! I’ll give you a heads up right now: a lot of them involve powering off, and getting outside. After all, that’s one of the best things we can do for ourselves, and our planet.
Read on to get some fun new ideas for your Victoria Day 2016!
1.- Plant a garden
Did you know May long weekend is the biggest gardening weekend of the year in many of Canada’s provinces? Head down to your local greenhouse and buy some plants. This one day of planting can pay off for the rest of the summer.
2.- Put all your phones in a tray and turn them off
When everyone gets together, encourage your friends and family to pull out their phones, turn them off, and set them in a tray at the front door. This will save energy and keep the distractions to a minimum. Not just for Victoria Day 2016, do it for all gatherings in 2016. And 17… you know the drill.
3.- Host an outdoor event to use less power
Instead of spending time indoors where we tend to turn on lights, play the radio, and run the television, spend some time outdoors. You’ll be happy to have the fresh air, and the earth will thank you for reducing your energy consumption.
4.- Go for a hike
It’s always a good time for a hike, but, as the unofficial start to summer, Victoria day gives you even more reasons to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Whether it’s a stroll through the mountains, down your favourite river, or through a beautiful meadow, you’ll be happy you did. If you’re in BC these are 25 incredible hiking trails and here you have a list of 65 trails in multiple provinces. Enjoy!
5.- Have people over and play a board game
You don’t have to run the power to have a good time. There are loads of great board games out there that can keep a large group entertained. Whether it’s the latest party game or an in-depth strategy game, you can easily find something your friends or family will enjoy.
6.- Go for a picnic
Enjoy the flavours of the summer in the great outdoors. But, instead of driving to your destination, try to find a park near your house so that you can walk or bike. This early in the season you probably won’t even have to worry about the bugs!
7.- Go meatless for a day
It’s no surprise that it takes less energy to grow a carrot than it does to raise a 1200 lb cow. For Victoria day, why not go meatless? Eat more beans, have an extra portion of that salad, and try to stick to locally grown crops. It doesn’t have to be boring, you can start with these mouth-watering Iced Vanilla Beans Matcha Latte from the OhSheGlows blog. They’re also a mouthful.
8.- Organize a softball game
With the green grass coming in and the blue skies opening up, a friendly softball game is the perfect addition to your Victoria Day 2016 Plan. Find some friends, get some bats and gloves, and spend the afternoon pitching, hitting, and sharing some laughs.
9.- Stay close to home
If you can, find activities that you can do close to your home. This will reduce the amount of energy you spend driving from one place to the next. If you can, walk or bike. There’s no better way to experience the fresh spring air!
10.- Shut off the furnace
It’s that time of year when the sun is warming up the soil and the chill is finally leaving the air. Think about making this weekend the one that you turn your furnace off for the summer. It might get a touch chilly in the next month, but that’s nothing a sweater and a warm pair of socks can’t solve.
11.- Go for a bike ride
Biking is one of the best ways to explore your city or town. You’ll find yourself cruising down roads and lanes you typically avoid while driving, and you’ll get a good dose of exercise at the same time. If you can get a few friends together for a group ride you’re bound to have even more fun.
12.- Plant a tree
While most people are out gardening, why not take this day off as an opportunity to plant a tree. Trees are such an important player in balancing the chemistry of Earth’s atmosphere, and by planting another tree in a place where you can care and nurture it, you’re helping create a greener tomorrow for your generation and the next.
13.- Say no to paper cups
Going out to visit with friends at your favourite coffee shop is a great way to spend the day, but don’t add to our landfills by getting your java in a paper take-away cup. Instead, bring a reusable mug from home. It’s a simple gesture that can do a lot for the planet.
14.- Have a candle-lit dinner
Instead of getting the electric company to light up your house in the evening, why not have a candle-lit dinner? Even better, use beeswax candles instead of paraffin wax since the carbon in the former was absorbed from our atmosphere much more recently.
15.- Play soccer
It is, after all, the biggest sport in the world. And the best part is that all you need to play it are two willing legs and a ball. Get some friends together, spend the day running from end to end, and, if you’re lucky, try to nail the perfect header for the game winning goal.
16.- Support a local green business
You’re not the only one in your town or city who’s working towards a greener tomorrow. Do a little research to find out which businesses in your community are focused on sustainable principles and energy efficiency. Once you’ve identified them, stop by and give them your business. Every little bit helps!
17.- Write someone a letter and hand deliver it
When’s the last time you received a handwritten letter? It’s always a welcome surprise. This Victoria day write to one of your friends or a family member, but instead of dropping it in the post try hand delivering it. It’ll all be worth it when you see the smile on their face.
18.- Get to bed early
You probably want your long weekend to last forever, but by getting to bed early not only will you set yourself up by being well-rested for the upcoming short work week, you’ll also reduce your carbon footprint by turning the lights out earlier.
19.- Throw the frisbee around
It doesn’t have to be Ultimate Frisbee for you and your friends to have a good time. Grab a disc, hit the park, and have a relaxing afternoon while you enjoy the changing of the seasons.
20.- Go meditate
Regardless of your beliefs, connecting with your inner-self has countless benefits. For your mental health, as continued practice makes you calmer and more positive, for the environment -you spend less time consuming, more time being- and for others, as you become a kinder version of you. Don’t believe us? Here are 20 scientific reasons to start meditating today and enjoy some well deserved alone time.
Do you have any green traditions that you like to do on Victoria Day? If so, we’d love to hear about them.
Let us know in the comments!
About The Author
Serial Entrepreneur, Technologist and Inventor my objective is to develop useful products that have a net positive effect in the lives of those that use them and the environment that we live in. CEO of Mission LED Lighting Company Ltd.
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