So, what do you do when the summer sun is full blaze in Vancouver? Get wrecked on a beach of course. Or better still, spend the day at Wreck Beach near the University of British Columbia, about a 30 minute bus ride from Davie Village. However, it’s not where it starts, it’s the end part of this journey you’ll never forget.
Take the 44 UBC bus down Burrard Street (just off Davie Street), heading towards the university. You’ll need $2.75 in change, or a travel card. When you get to the University drop off point, you have arrived very close to your final destination. Head towards the Main Mall (down Student Union Avenue) and ask someone for directions to the beach. You might even spot some cute guys making their way down to the beach in their tight shorts, flip flops, carrying coolers laden with snacks, beach chairs, umbrellas and ghetto blasters.
But you have a treat in store. Before you reach the water’s edge you have an initiation ritual to perform. 400 stairs await you and ‘going down’, as usual, is the best part. Coming back up will be the true test of your stamina.
At the bottom of the stairs you have reached the main area of the beach which is crowded with every style, shape, age, size and colour of individual. However, you may decide to seek out a more gay male section of the beach which is located near the breakwater on the left hand side when facing towards the sea.
We spent a fabulous day just soaking up the mid-summer sunshine and taking in the sometimes hilarious sights and sounds of this fabulous local relaxation spot. The water is not particularly clear as it is made up partially of glacial melt. The temperature is, well, refreshing to say the least. But we braved the elements and it was a real ‘wake up call’.
The beach area has large logs which are very handy for sheltering from the cool sea breeze which is always a feature. Once behind the log you are free to commune with nature in your naturist state and bathe in the warmth of the day’s rays.
Naked beach vendors, who all share a nostalgic hippy vibe, will keep you entertained all day long. They sell all manner of goods, mostly drinks like ‘easy freezies’ and ice cold sangria, nibbles and some choices they refer to as ‘party favours’, for a more discerning palate. Let’s put it this way, if you would like to make your day even more ‘psychedelic’ you’ve come to the right beach.
We chose to eat the sandwich we had prepared earlier, being gay men of very simple tastes. Stalls at the rear of the beach sell merchandise like colourful sarongs, beach blankets, massage, yoga classes and of course, hair braiding. We were content to read our books and take a little nap before our journey home began.
And then the time came for the final stage of our initiation, and now we understand where the name of the beach originated. A 400 stair climb back to the top and a number of rest stops along the way. When you finally arrive at the top you are completely ‘wrecked’ and another little break is needed before you continue your walk back to catch the bus for the return journey to Davie Village.
Overall our day on Wreck Beach was a delicious taste of local Vancouver life and we can highly recommend spending at least one of your vacation days taking in this amazing spot. But be warned, you’ll need to wear your sensible shoes for this hike.