COLUMNS: Be a hometown tourist

When we think about what we value most in life, one of the first things that comes to mind for many of us is family.

When we think about what we value most in life, one of the first things that comes to mind for many of us is family. Our family members are the first people we depend on — the first ones we learn to love, who shape us into the people we become — and they’re the foundation of our strong communities.

Since 2013, our province has marked the second Monday of February as Family Day, to celebrate the importance of family and to give BC’s families an opportunity to spend time together over a long weekend.

If you haven’t yet developed any family traditions for BC’s relatively new observance of Family Day, or if you’re looking to expand upon what you’ve done in past years, I encourage you to consider trying your hand at being a tourist in your own town — or its surrounding countryside — this Family Day.

Our backcountry and the communities in the Cariboo-Chilcotin have a lot to offer families looking to make the most of a long weekend. Whether you’re a family of old hands, novices, or somewhere in between, there are plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy winter sports like cross-country or downhill skiing, snowboarding or snowmobiling. If skating is more your speed, the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex is offering free skating for all ages from noon to 2:30 p.m. on Family Day.

By tapping into local opportunities for Family Day fun, you’ll not only have quality bonding time with your loved ones – you could also be playing an important role in strengthening your community’s economy by supporting local tourism businesses. From snowmobile retailers to ski resorts, these businesses sustain jobs for our residents and bring people into our communities, where their tourism dollars can benefit other locally-run businesses.

So let’s show our love for our communities and our families this Family Day by getting out to explore our own towns and the magnificent backcountry that we’re lucky enough to call our backyard.

Contact MLA Barnett’s constituency office: Phone: (250) 305-3800, e-mail: donna.barnett.mla@leg.bc.ca.

Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin.