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Have you ever seen anyone brave the Grouse Grind wearing a ball gown?

That's what a group of 13 women will be wearing when climbing the Grind on September 29th for the inaugural 'Gowns on the Grind' fundraiser.

It's the brainchild of Karen Stark, from North Vancouver, who works in the sports and clothing industry and has a penchant for contributing to - and organizing-worthwhile causes.

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Stark asked some of her longtime friends in her life to join her for the event which will see them adorn the gowns and conquer the Grind in an untimed, zero pressure setting.

While not looking for outside participants, the gown-Grinders will have a videographer and photographer on hand when they take off.

Rather than trying to show off high fashion and experience the great outdoors, the group is just going to start hiking as a nice big group and draw some attention. Any money raised will go to KidSport, a not for profit organization the provides financial assistance for kids who want to play sports but might not be able to otherwise.

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Clock

A proposal to stop observing daylight saving time in B.C. was narrowly approved by the Union of B.C. Municipalities last Friday.

The resolution said daylight saving time and the resulting time changes twice a year no  longer serve a  purpose and affects  peoples health when the time changes.

The resolution was approved by 52.3% and the B.C. provinicial government will continue to consult with other jurisdictions before make any decisions on the issue.

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The lease is up and the restaurant that has been in Vancouver's English Bay for years will close on Octoboer 6th. Known for their seafood by-the-shore locations, The Boathouse originally opened in Vancouver's Coal Harbour in 1981, then relocated to English Bay in the late 80's.

I wonder what the rent increase was?? What's going to replace it? Another change in the name of progress!

There are 5 other nearby Boathouse locations in Kitsilano, White Rock, Richmond, New Westminster and Port Moody.

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Beer

Vancouver has been named as the Best Beer Town in Canada, an accolade and ranking for Vancouver in the number one spot comes thanks to the team at Expedia, who factored in the following criteria: the total number of breweries and brewpubs where you can grab a  pint; awards; and originality, whether that meanes creating unique flavours or building a brand new beer following.

A spokeperson from Expedia explains that it's hard to dispute that Vancouver is the craft capital of Canada - singling out the city for neighbourhoods like Mount Pleasant's historic Brewery Creek zone and the east side as 'Yeast Van, as well as a number of great brews.

Craft beer is definitely on an upward swing that seems to have no ceiling, and the game is contantly being improved with new developments like brewing collectives-bold new moves that keep the industry on its toes.

The Best Beer Towns in Canada included 17 places coast to coast. Other B.C. spots that are brewing up the good stuff are Nelson (11), Abbotsford (6) and Penticton (2).


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Rent sign

The rate for the maximum allowable rent increase has been set for B.C. in 2019.

The government uses the B.C. Consumer Price Index and the formula for rent increases, which adds up  to a top annual rent increase of 4.5%. But it's the largest allowable rent hike in more than a decade.

The maximum percentage allowed each year is 2% plus the inflation rate using the 12 month average percentage change in the Consumer Price Index ending in July at 2.5%.

Landlords must provide tenants with 3 full months' notice using the correct notice of rent increase form.

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With the rainy season again upon us, it's time, once again, to take shelter inside the Vanouver International Film Festival. Now in it's 36th year, the VIFF returns with another phenomenal selection of features from home and abroad, along  with festival hits from Cannes, TIFF, Sundance and Venice, all of it beginning on September 28th with a gala screening on Mina Shum's Chinatown-set Meditatioon Park.

There is no question that VIFF is a heavy hitter, with more than 140,000 film fans enjoying 380 movies screened during the 16 day festival. 

Where most film festivals seem to about more about celebrities walking red carpets, VIFF is staged for those that love and make films. Enjoy!

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Men take a selfie by the beach

It's shouldn't be a surprise that people who live in a slightly warmer climate live happier and more engaging lives.

Well this has now been scientifically confirmed. A recent study of about 1.7 million people found that 22 degrees celsius was the perfect temperature to harbour residents that were more agreeable, emotionally stable and extroverted.  The logic is somewhat straightforward: nicer weather leads people to go outside more often and interact with other members of their community.

This information also revealed why people from cold and warm climates have different personalities, and as global warming heats the earth, human  personalites will probably change as well.

22 degrees celsius has been discovered as the least taxing temperature for the human body to regulate.

If you are keen to live in areas with the most ideal temperature, then Athens is most suited with an average temperature of 22 degrees on the dot. Barcelona, Monaco, Naples and Malta are also ideal, all hovering between 20 and 22 degrees.

Australia has several locations, including Adelaide, Sydney and the Gold Coast. Canada  doesn't have any cities with anywhere near an average of 22 degrees celsius.

Vancouver would be one of Canada's warmest cities with an average annual temperature of 11 degrees celsius, similar to other coastal or near coastal cities such as Seattle, Portland, Amsterdam and London, England. The only time the average temperature in Vancouver hovers around 22 degrees is in July and August.

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Condos

The number of new homes being built in Richmond is on the rise, while the number of existing homes being sold is declining.

Construction started on 1,413 new houses, townhouses and condo units in the first 6 months of 2018, according to a quarterly report from Business in Richmond. That's 60% more starts than this time last year.

Richmond has the biggest growth of new homes in the region. Other areas in the Lower Mainland a showing a slow down.

The areas of Richmond seeing the most new development are Capstone, City Centre and the area around the Richmond Oval.

At the same time as this development boom, fewer exisitng homes are being put on the market. Only 1,810 homes were sold in Richmond from January to July this year. That's 27% less compared to last year.

Measures like the foreign buyer tax and tightened mortgage rules may be factors contributing to the slowdown.

Although the number of homes sold has decreased, prices they have sold for haven't changed dramatically. The average price of a detached home in Richmond sits at $1.98 million and the average selling price for a condo is $576,000.

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oakridge main

Spectacular design details of phase one of the new Oakridge Centre, Vancouver's massive mixed residential and  commercial masterplan, have been revealed in updated renderings just recently released.

The new  concept is one of 'skin and bones' according to the design rationale in developer Westbank's proposal for the first phase.

Phase one includes 2 mixed use but mostly residential towers and part of the future  public park, which will total 9 acres.

The towers include 504 market condos, which break down as 212 one bedroom, 260 two bedroom and 32 three bedroom units. There will also be a large connecting podium for retail and office use and a further 173,113 square feet of office space in the shorter building 3.

Check out some more of the lastest renderings from the architect below.

oakridge balconiesoakridge mountainsoakridge towersoakridge masterplan

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Have you been unable to take amazing photos of things faraway because your phone's zoom doesn't go far enough?

Then you need a telescope lens! It attaches directly to your smartphone and adds an extra 8x zoom so you can capture those perfect photos.

Compatable with: Iphone,Samsung, HTC and Huawei. Click here for demonstration.



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illegal hotel

A house on the 75 hundred block of Railway was listed as a 'Sport Home Hotel' on various travel booking sites such as Booking.com, BedandBreakfast.eu and Agoda, which all cater to European travellers.

The posts show that the 'hotel' has 5 different room types and can accommodate 2-4 guests in each room, with prices from $120 per night.

However, the property is not a licensed bed and breakfast.

The owner of the home, who bought the house in 2015, has never moved in and doesn't hid the fact that the hotel is illegal, but appears not concerned about the consequences. She did not believe that the city would fine her, and has encouraged neighbours to operate their homes as a hotel as well.

The house is usually unsupervised and guests can access it through a keypad on the entrance door.

The city of Richmond issued the home owner a warning letter previously and issued 2 tickets for continuous non-compiance of the city bylaws.

The city has also gathered evidence necessary for further enforcement action if needed and will take 'progressive enforcement action'.

According the city's bylaw, fines related to short term residential rentals are $1,000 per offence.

Posts for 'hotels' are currently still available on those travel website, but all dates are show as 'unavailable'.

To report an illegal hotel in Richmond, call 604-276-4345

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daves

As far as merchants go, Dave Scott may be Steveston Village's elder.

Dave's Fish and Chips on Moncton rivals few other pre 1980 establishments in the village. Budget Appliances, Marine Garage and the Steveston Hotel might come to mind of the few left standing (all with newer ownership) and the departure of many longstanding business such as Steveston Marine & Hardware and Mary's British Home.

This summer marks the 40th anniversary with his son taking over the day-to-day operations.

When Dave opened the shop at 31, he had never cooked fish and chips before, nor had he ever run a business. So he got help from his neighbour who was an accountant and crafted a business plan and took it to the bank.

Scott planned to open during the Steveston Salmon Festival. By the time they opend at 11am they had a lineup down the street, and that was it - they just kept going.

The original joint opened on Chathan Street then moved to its prestent location on Moncton in 1984.

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According to Scott, the key to success is consistency. He maintained a simple menu and mushy peas with an abundance of tarter sauces as staples.

Dave is quick to express that he is not happy with the direction of Steveston, as he looks out his window looking at a 4 storey structure soon to house Save-on Foods of which seems to maximize every square inch of space to the sidewalk. "It's not quaint anymore. It's really busy. They really destroyed the BC Packers land; there was a good opportunity for a park" he states.

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vancouver

Metro Vancouver real estate is valued at 65% higher than it should be, based on local incomes, according to a new global house price index by The Economist.

The U.K. based financial publication's research team found that the region's home prices have risen by more than 60% over the past 5 years.

In terms on real estate value versus household incomes, The Economist reported that Metro Vancouver was the 5th most overvalued of 22 major global cities studied, after Hong Kong, Auckland in New Zealand, Paris, and Brussells in Belgium.

Vancouver is followed by London, UK and Sydney, Australia, both of which were deemed overvalued by 50% or above.

economist top cities home prices

On a country by country basis, Canada was deemed the 3rd most overvalued country in the world for real estate prices, at 56% overvalued, after New Zealand and Australia.

economist top countries home prices

New Zealand's standing in the global index comes as the New Zealand government confirmed on Tuesday that it will introduce a previously proposed ban on foreign buyers purchasing New Zealand resale real estate. Overseas purchasers will still be able to buy presale homes, and Australian and Singaporean buyers are exempt from the ban.

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Grand Prix of Art 2014_13

Twelve of B.C.'s most accomplished painters are descending on McArthurGlen Designer Outlets in Richmond to find beauty in the daily scenes at the mall while promoting an upcoming art competition in the city.

This weekend, artists specializing in pastel, oil, acrylic and even goulash will prop their easels in the outdoor walkways between shops.

The twelve artists will all be competing in the master category of the Grand Prix of Art next month. It's an outdoor art competition that sees more than 100 artists race to finish a plein-air piece inspired by a location in Steveston.

McArthurGlen has partnered with the Grand Prix leading up to the big day to provide a venue for the artists to demonstrat what they do. The paintings will be on sale at the end of the day, with all proceeds going directly to the artists.

The artists will undoubtedly produce different pieces from the Grand Prix then what is usually depicted in Garry Point or the Britiannia Shipyards. Some shoppers may actually find themselves captured in a portrait, or some merchandise depicted as still life. 

The Grand Prix in Steveston will be on September 22.

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Even if you have 'Location History' off, Google often stores your precise location. Here's how to delete those markers and some best effort practices that keep your location as private as possible.

But there is no panacea, because simply connecting to the internet on any device flags an IP address that can be geographically mapped. Smart phones also connect to cell towers, so your carrier knows your general location at all time.

TO PREVENT FURTHER TRACKING

For any device:

Fire up your browser and go to myactivity.google.com (You'll need to be logged into Google). On the upper left drop-down menu, go to 'Activity Controls." Turn off both 'Web & App Activity" and " Location History." That should prevent precise location markers from being stored to your Google account.

Google will warn you that some of its services won't work as well with these settings off. In particular, neither the Google Assistant, a digital concierge, nor the Google Home smart speaker will be particularly useful.

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On IOS:

If you use Google Maps, adjust your location setting to 'While Using' the app; this will prevent the app from accessing your location when it's not active. Go to Settings Privacy Location Services from there to select Google Maps to make the adjustment.

In the Safari web browser, consider using a search engine other than Google. Under Settings Safari Search Engine, you can find other options like Bing or DuckDuckGo. You can turn off while browsing by going to Settings Privacy Location Services Safari websites, and turn this to "Never." (This still won't prevent advertisers from knowing your rough location based on IP address on any website.)

You can also turn Location Services off to the device almost completely from Setting Privacy Location Services. Both Google Maps and Apple Maps will still work, but they won't know where you are on the map and won't be able to give you directions. Emergency responders will still be able to find you if the need arises.

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On Android:

Under the main settings icon click on "Security & location." Scroll down to the 'Privacy" heading. Tap "Location." You can toggle it off for the entire device.

Use "App-level permissions" to turn off access to various apps. Unlike the Iphone, there is no setting for "While Using." You cannot turn off Google Play services, which supplies your location to other apps if you leave that service on.

Sign in as a "guest" on your Android device by swiping down from the top and tapping the downward-facing caret, then again on the torso icon. Be aware of which services you sign in on, like Chrome.

You can also change search engines even in Chrome.


TO DELETE PAST LOCATION TRACKING:

For any device:


On the page maactivity.google.com look for any entry that has a location pin icon beside the word "details." Clicking on that pops up a window that includes a link that sometimes say "from your current location." Clicking on it will open Google Maps, which will display where you were at the time.

You can delete it from this popup by clicking on the navigation icon with the  stacked dots and then "Delete".

Some items will be grouped in unexpected places, such as topic names, google.com, Search or Maps. You have to delete them item by item. You can wholesale delete all items in date ranges or by services, but will end up taking out more than just location markers.


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csi chart

The City of Delta has experienced another decrease in its crime severity index (CSI) and continues to be well below the Metro Vancouver national averages.

While the Canadian CSI increased slightly by 1 index point to 72, Delta continued its downward trend to hit its lowest point since the index began.

The overall CSI for Delta remained relatively constant between 2015 and 2016, but saw a decrease in 2017 due to a significant drop in violent crime.

The CSI is a measurement of crime that reflects the relative seriousness of offences. For example, robbery is given more weight in the index compared to disturbing the peace. A low CSI rate is indicative of a safer community.

So far in 2018, crime appears to be levellilng off and as Delta's CSI declines to historic lows, continued reductions will become more difficult.

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$14-9m Bungalow West Van main

Have we reached a new height with a listing of a two-bedroom, 880 square foot bungalow for a whopping $14,880,000?

That's a staggering $16,909 per square foot, in a city where luxury homes trade for $2,000 per square foot and up.

Why so much? The home is on an 11,000 square foot beachfront lot on West Vancouver's 'Golden Mile'  - Bellevue Ave - and is 1 of the only properties not to have been developed into a mega luxury waterfront home. Yet!

$14-9m Bungalow West Van beach

The fact is, the property would be slightly more valuable without the bungalow, as it is pretty much guaranteed that the home will be torn down to build a large house, which is an added cost.

If it makes you feel any better, the last assessment of the property was at $10,252,000, however, the near $15 million price is likely still a little rich for a developer looking to make a profit.

On a similar sized lot just 2 houses away and new, Russell Hollingsworth designed 4,000 square foot luxury home sold last December for $13 million, almost $2 million under asking price.

Almost $15m for this bungalow?  We'll See!

$14-9m Bungalow West Van ocean view

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Burnaby will be the first city in the province to implement B.C.'s new rental zoning law.

In May, the B.C. government enacted legislation to give municipalities the power to zone properties for rental only developments. This enable municipalities to ensure existing rental properties cannot be redevelped for another use, such as high priced condos. The power is optional for local governments to use, and a city can't use the rental only clause to override existing strata rules that limit rentals in existing buildings.

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Burnaby passed a motion asking staff to implement a rental zoning bylaw to ensure that all redevelopment of purpose built rental sites be required to include the replacement of the current number of units within the neighbourhood, and that they be rented at established, affordable rates, and be make available to current tenants.


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Steveston Marine & Hardware's Moncton Street location will close its doors at the end of summer after 77 years. The old store is one of the village's iconic, historic buildings, with its elaborate artwork on its outside wall.

Steveston Marine has been struggling in the village for many years, due in part to the decline of the fishing industry.

Rezoning and heritage alteration permit applications are posted on the wall indicating the intention to demolish the building for commercial space at ground level and 5 condos above.

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The village used to be a commercial hub for the fishing industry. Now most if it has gone with only a few (if any) sockeye salmon openings for the fishermen these days.

Steveston is essentially a tourist town now with too many big box stores opening up in Richmond as well.  It is too tough for Steveston Marine to compete.

The store was originally a general store, called Steveston Hardware which was owned by 2 brothers. In 1974 it was bought by Weston Marine, who inserted 'Marine' into the name and it became a fishing supply store as well.

In 1984, the company went into receivership and Iqbal Ladha took it over.

Ladha hasn't totally closed his mind to the possibiity of the business returning to its roots in the future, with a couple of offers floating around the village.

Ladha mentioned 3 years ago, before he decided to sell the building, how he was thinking of relocating the business elsewhere in Steveston and turning the store into a micro-brewery or small winery, both with tasting rooms.

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heritage home

If you enjoy Vancouver's heritage homes you may want to take note - Granview Heritage Group has just released a map for the 2018 edition of it Centenary Sign Houses project.

The map pinpoints the location of 10 homes in the neighbourhood, along with historical details and the architectural style of each house. Signs are also posted on each of the properties for a year for passerbyers to see.

These houses are all 100 years old or more and up to 24 houses that retain as many of their original features as possible have been selected over the years. 

One of the criteria is that the owner has to agree to having a sign on their lawn for a year - which is rarely a problem.

To check out homes from earlier editions of the project click here and select one of the years listed at the top of the page.

There is also a tab for the Grandview database, which features information about more than 5,000  properties, about 1,500 of which no longer exist.

The sign posted the properties of homes selected for the Centenary Sign Houses project. Photo Penny

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