Grouse Grind
Credit: Erica Peterson
Countless charity runs are sprouting up in cities across the country this time of year, but no matter what outdoor activity you’re passionate about, there’s a way to give back. Check out our list of some of the most promising philanthropic events coming up and get outside, pay-it-forward, and maybe even score some swag. What have you got to lose?

The Grind for Kids
The Grouse Grind, a 2.9 kilometre trail that covers more than 2,800 feet of vertical terrain up Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain, is also known as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster.” First developed by mountaineers looking for a convenient-but-challenging workout, the trail now helps fund charity. By gathering pledges of $1 or more for every Grouse Grind you do between June and September, you can participate in The Grind for Kids, which supports clinical care, research, treatments and more at the BC Children’s Hospital. Record number of grinds in one season: 343, which raised more than $11,000.

Where: Grouse Mountain, Vancouver, BC
When: June to September, 2012
Cost: $20 to register, which includes an official swipe card to track your progress throughout the season.
More information: Grind for Kids

 

Kayak for a Cure
Though this event will be held at multiple times and locations across the country, participants in Canada’s 2012 Kayak for a Cure will be working toward the same goal: raising money to support cancer care, treatment and research. Spots are limited, so if you’ve got your own kayak bring it along. Never kayaked? No problem. With certified ocean kayakers present to help guide you and ensure you stay safe, you don’t need to be a pro. Sign up and you’ll get to celebrate your paddle with a delicious barbecue, perfect for unwinding after a few hours spent on the water.

Where: Jericho Beach, Vancouver, BC; Rotary Park, Whitehorse, YK; TBA, Victoria, BC; TBA, Comox Valley, BC
When: August 28, 2012; June 19, 2012; September 9, 2012; August 25, 2012
Cost: $25 to $50 to register.
More information: Kayak for a Cure

 

Nanaimo Paddlefest and Pledge Drive
There are many reasons to be a part of the Nanaimo Paddlefest and Pledge Drive: It’s an excuse to get on the water and show your competitive side as you race against 35 other dragon boat teams; and since 2003, paddlers part of this event have raised $80,000 to help fight breast cancer by teaming up with the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation. And, just in case you needed a little more motivation, the team that raises the most in 2012 receives free entry into the 2013 Paddlefest. It’s the event that keeps on giving.

Where: Maffeo Sutton Park, Nanaimo, BC
When: June 23, 2012
Cost: $375 before May 18, 2012; $450 after May 18, 2012
More information: Go Rowing & Paddling Association of Canada

 

Ride for the Rouge
There’s no shortage of charity events for cyclists to participate in, but what’s special about Ride for the Rouge is that participants are riding to help save an integral element of outdoor sports—nature. If you Ride for the Rouge, you’ll be riding to not only ensure the Rouge Valley Conservation Area stays open, but that its education, conservation and environmental restoration programs continue as well. You can choose between a 25 km and 50 km route or combine the two for a strenuous 75 km. All of the trails begin and end in the conservation area, passing through numerous parks and along the Toronto’s lakeshore.

Where: Rouge Valley Conservation Centre, Toronto, ON
When: May 12, 2012
Cost: $25 for individual registration; $20 per person for group registration.
More information: Rouge Valley Conservation Centre
Plan your next great adventure with explore!
Off the beaten path locations, tips and tricks, interviews with intrepid explorers and more.