Spring is here! And so are Vancouver’s cherry blossoms. Every year, Vancouverites eagerly anticipate the blooming of the city’s 40,000 cherry trees. The blooming period, usually between late March and the end of April, signals the arrival of spring, covering the city in a wave of pink petals. The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival marks the period and celebrates the beauty of Vancouver’s cherry trees with a celebration of all things spring.

The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival began in 2006. As many of Vancouver’s cherry trees originated as gifts from Japan, the Festival began as a way to express gratitude for the gift and to celebrate the beauty and joy the cherry blossoms bring to the city. Since 2006, the Festival has marked the occasion with educational programs, musical performances, and fine art and craft exhibitions. The Festival’s mission is simple: “To sustain & renew Vancouver’s cherry tree heritage, while educating and actively engaging diverse communities in local arts and culture to celebrate the fragile beauty of the iconic Cherry Blossom.”


The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival features several events over the month of April. A full list of events can be found here


Vancouver will slip into obscurity this Saturday, March 29 at 8:30pm, as residents and businesses across the city switch off their lights for Earth Hour – the largest environmental event in the world.

Given that Vancouver a) knows how to celebrate, b) plans to be the world’s Greenest City by 2020, and c) is the 2013 winner – and host of the 2014 awards for – the “We Love Cities” Earth Hour City challenge, there’s no shortage of ways to spend Earth Hour in the city.


You might notice some local landmarks looking a bit darker than usual this Saturday…

Some of our most iconic attractions and hotels have committed to turning down non-essential lighting for Earth Hour:

  • Canada Place will dim the lights on its iconic sails
  • BC Place has pledged to shut down its award-winning, multi-coloured LED lighting
  • Pacific Centre plans to power down all escalators and non-essential lighting
  • H.R. MacMillan Space Centre is the place to be during an hour of complete darkness with visitors able to peer through telescopes into the night sky and catch a special screening of “Universe in a Night”
  • Four Seasons Vancouver Hotel will shut off all non-essential lighting to host an evening by candlelight at YEW seafood + bar, including the introduction of “Highway 99” – a “100-mile cocktail” featuring ingredients and spirits sourced within 100 miles (or 160 kilometres).

Other businesses taking part in Earth Hour include:

Museum of Vancouver

Vancouver Harbour Centre

Vancouver Aquarium

Vancouver Art Gallery

Telus World of Science

Grouse Mountain

Pan Pacific Hotel

Park Inn & Suites Vancouver Broadway

Hyatt Regency Vancouver

The Burrard hotel

Rogers Arena

As for Inside Vancouver? We’ll be spending Earth Hour (unofficially re-dubbed “Earth Cocktail Hour”) dining, sampling and sipping at local eateries that have come up with creative ways to participate. With 32 of Vancouver’s finest establishments on board, the hardest part is deciding where to go first. Our top picks:

LIFT – Bar Grill View will dish up a special Earth Day feature: Fraser valley ostrich and Alaska octopus Carpaccio with garlic chips, micro greens, shaved radishes and dry-cured chorizo sausage.

Yaletown KegThurlow Keg and Dunsmuir Keg will serve dinner by candlelight.

P2b bistro at Renaissance Vancouver Harbourside Hotel will feature two flaming cocktails for the day as well as free dessert with the purchase of an entrée (between 8pm-10pm).

Graze Restaurant  will serve dinner by candlelight during Earth Hour while eliminating non-critical power consumption. The beer may be warm, but the music will be live!

Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel will host a cocktail reception “under the stars” in the foyer and Pavilion ballroom with local beers, wines and an acoustic performance.  Solar-powered lighting will illuminate the walkway from tower to tower.

Sylvia Restaurant & Lounge will turn off the lights and spark up the candles to enhance the view of English Bay.

Rocky Mountain Flatbread will feature a three-course candlelight dinner for just $18. Ask the staff about the restaurant’s new green initiatives like growing greens and mushrooms on-site.

Five Sails Restaurant will turn down the lights, all the better for guests to admire the view of a dimmed North Shore and Grouse Mountain.

The Parker  will dim the lights while continuing their usual zero waste operations.

The Fairmont Waterfront’s ARC Food + Drink will go dark for Earth Hour and offer a special four-course 100-mile tasting menu ($59).

Other participating restaurants are:

Spencer’s (at Delta Vancouver Suites Hotel)

Mosaic Bar & Grille

West Restaurant

CinCin Ristorante

Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar

Observatory and Altitudes Bistro at Grouse Mountain

Araxi Restaurant + Bar

The Edge Social Grille & Lounge

Max’s Restaurant 

Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Lobby Lounge

Riverway Clubhouse

Cafe Pacifica and Cascades Lounge (at Pan Pacific Vancouver)

Bacchus Restaurant

Salmon n’ Bannock Bistro

Cavino Coffee & Wine Bar

The Oakwood Canadian Bistro

Sol Sun Belt Eatery

Fresh Restaurant

So there’s your excuse to dine out on Saturday, March 29 (as if you needed one). Just don’t forget to turn off the lights before you head out!

Lions Gate Bridge with the lights dimmed. Photo: WWF


The Vancouver we know is more culturally attuned to and integrated with nature than any city of a comparable size on earth. Despite this, our city has dramatically transformed the natural environment. Open now at The Museum of Vancouver with presenting sponsor Pacific Salmon Foundation, Rewilding Vancouver explores the city’s nature as it was, is, and could be.  

The first major exhibition in Canada to explore our relationship with nature through the lens of historical ecology, Rewilding Vancouver brings this new way of exploring the past to the forefront using Vancouver as the subject. The exhibition is comprised of taxidermy specimens, 3D models, soundscapes, videos and photo interventions that challenge our perception of what is natural to Vancouver. Visitors will discover a changing-of-the-guard when it comes to the region’s wildlife, with ravens, wolves and elk fading as crows, coyotes and black-tailed deer settled in. Rewilding Vancouver also challenges us to envision new streetscapes that feature unearthed fish-bearing streams long hidden below city streets. A life-sized creation of the now extinct Steller’s Sea Cow is one of many highlights of this exhibition.

Rewilding Vancouver’s core exhibition team includes MOV curator Viviane Gosselin, designer Kevin McAllister and guest curator J.B. MacKinnon who is co-author of 100-Mile Diet and author of the recently released The Once and Future World, which served as inspiration for the exhibition.

“Almost everyone has experienced the loss of some treasured natural space — whether an entire forest or a simple vacant lot,” says MacKinnon. “This exhibition is a way to connect with that feeling, and also explore the unlimited possibilities of melding the urban and wild.”

In 2010, Vancouverites were mesmerized when a grey whale came for a swim in False Creek, and in 2013 we were equally awe-struck by a beaver investigating the Olympic Village as a new potential home. Rewilding Vancouver seeks to encourage people to discover what nature was like in Vancouver’s past, reconnect with nature as meaningful to their lives, and engage with efforts to make the city a wilder place.

Rewilding Vancouver is an exhibition of remembering,” explains J.B. MacKinnon. “It allows the public to reconnect with a forgotten history in order to look at the present and the possible future with new eyes.”

The Rewilding Vancouver exhibit looks at nature past, present and future. Photos courtesy Museum of Vancouver.


Before Vancouver’s upper class elite moved to Shaughnessy Heights, West of Denman by Stanley Park was where many of the “who’s who” lived until the First World War. Discover who they were, where and how they lived and what lured them out. This tour also explores the lives of the domestic workers, sellers and nursemaids like Janet Smith. Stroll the streets of the West End to hear fascinating stories about this early Vancouver neighbourhood.

This Sunday

1:00PM-2:30PM @ Buchan Hotel (1906 Haro St at Gilford St), downtown Vancouver
$10 cash; drop in only

Old Money: A West of Denman Historical Walking Tour | Things To Do In Vancouver This Weekend


Actor Hugh Laurie is no stranger to these parts. Last summer, the star of House made animpromptu appearance at a local jazz club. At the time, Laurie was filming the movie Tomorrowland with George Clooney (due for release later this year).

Now Laurie, an accomplished pianist, has announced a West Coast tour in support of his 2013 album Didn’t It Rain. Along with his group The Copper Bottom Band, Laurie will kick off the tour in Vancouver on May 20.


Didn’t It Rain is Laurie’s second album, and the follow-up to his 2011 debut album Let Them Talk. For Didn’t It Rain, Laurie covered songs dating back to early blues pioneers like W.C. Handy (“St Louis Blues”) and Jelly Roll Morton (“I Hate A Man Like You”) to more recent artists such as Dr. John (“Wild Honey”) and Alan Price of The Animals (“Changes”).

On his website, Laurie is quoted as saying: “I have resolved to forge on, deeper into the forest of American music that has enchanted me since I was a small boy. And the further I go, the more bewitched I become – both by the songs and by the people I have been lucky enough to play them with.”

House ran on Fox for eight seasons, from 2004-2012. Prior to the series, Laurie appeared in a number of British comedy series with Stephen Fry. For his role in House, Laurie won two Golden Globes and was nominated for six Emmys.

Prior to the West Coast tour, Laurie and band will tour Australia and New Zealand. European dates are planned for this summer.

The Copper Bottom Band includes David Piltch (bass), Vincent Henry (horns), Elizabeth Lea (trombone), Jean McClain (vocals), and Guatemalan singer/songwriter Gaby Moreno (vocals) – and is completed by Herman Matthews (drums) and Mark Goldenberg (guitar).

Hugh Laurie and The Copper Bottom Band play the Orpheum Theatre (601 Smithe) May 20. Tickets on sale March 28 at ticketmaster.ca.

Hugh Laurie


The people have spoken.  Results to the sixth annual Diners’ Choice Awards – which go to the best Chinese restaurants in Metro Vancouver – are in.

An incredible 19,612 votes were cast during the month-long voting period.  Voters were tasked with choosing the best restaurants in 20 separate categories, ranging from Best Cantonese Restaurant to Best Food Court Stall and Best Dim Sum.  Over the years, the awards have grown to become the definitive guide to Chinese food in the city, helping diners identify hidden gems and familiar favourites among the thousands of Chinese restaurants in Metro Vancouver.

As in past years, the city of Richmond has come out on top, boasting an overwhelming majority of the winners.  In fact, many are located side by side along so-called Food Street in the heart of the city, where hundreds of Chinese restaurants are packed into the space of just a few blocks of Alexandra Road.

This year, several new award categories focused in on specific Chinese dishes, including Best Sichuan Boiled Beef, Best Honey Garlic Spareribs, Best Egg Tart, Best Taiwanese Bubble Tea and Best Wonton Noodles.  The Diners’ Choice Awards are followed on April 23 by the Critics’ Choice Awards, where the pros weigh in on the best Chinese dishes in the city.

The complete list of the Diners’ Choice Awards winners appears below:

1.       Best Wonton Noodles: Max Noodle House - #185-8291 Alexandra Road, Richmond (604) 231-8141

2.       Best Sichuan Boiled Beef: S&W Pepper House - #1812-4500 Kingsway, Burnaby (604) 451-3916

3.       Best Honey Garlic Spareribs: Bamboo Grove - 6920 No.3 Road, Richmond (604) 278-9585

4.       Best Taiwanese Bubble Tea: Dragon Ball Tea House - 1007 W. King Edward Ave. Vancouver, B.C.  (604) 738-3198

5.       Best Egg Tart: Lido Restaurant - #150-4231 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond (604) 231-0055

6.       Best Service Restaurant: Peninsula Seafood Restaurant - #140-650 W. 41st Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia (604) 428-9999

7.       Best Fine Dining Restaurant: Peninsula Seafood Restaurant - #140-650 W. 41st Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia (604) 428-9999

8.       Best Dim Sum Restaurant: Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant - #150-8888 River Road, Richmond (604) 232-0816

9.       Best Cantonese Restaurant: The Jade Seafood Restaurant
 - 8511 Alexandra Road, Richmond (604) 249-0082

10.    Best Northern Chinese Restaurant: Peaceful Restaurant - #110-532 W. Broadway, Vancouver  (604) 879-9878; 43 East 5th Avenue, Vancouver (604) 559-9511; 2394 4th Avenue W, Vancouver (604) 559-9533

11.    Best Shanghainese Restaurant: Long’s Noodle House - #4853 Main Street,, Vancouver (604) 879-7879

12.    Best Sichuan Restaurant: Golden Szechuan Restaurant - #170-3631 No. 3 Rd, Richmond (604) 288-9058

13.    Best Hunan Restaurant: Lucky Noodle Chinese Restaurant - #3-3377 Kingsway, Vancouver (604) 430-8818

14.    Best Taiwanese Restaurant/BBT Café: Bubble World Tea House - Ten Locations

15.    Best Hot Pot Restaurant: Landmark Hotpot House - 4023 Cambie St, Vancouver, British Columbia (604) 872-2868

16.    Best Congee and Noodle Restaurant: Old Buddies Seafood Restaurant - #1120-8391 Alexandra Road, Richmond (604) 370-4833

17.    Best Vegetarian Restaurant: Po Kong Vegetarian Restaurant - 1334 Kingsway, Vancouver (604) 876-3088

18.    Best Hong Kong-Style Café: Deer Garden Signatures - #2015-8580 Alexandra Road  Richmond (604) 278-9229; #1118-3779 Sexsmith Road, Richmond (604) 278-3779; 6270 Fraser St., Vancouver (604) 322-6116

19.    Best Bakery Shop: La Patisserie - 8278 Granville St, Vancouver, British Columbia (604) 269-0002; #2-6360 No.3 Road, Richmond, British Columbia (604) 270-3092

20.    Best Food Court Stall: Wah Yuen Noodle House, Yaohan Centre - #1035-3700 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond (604) 231-9080

Photo credit: hermitsmoores | Flickr


48 Hours in Vancouver is a weekly series appearing on the Inside Vancouver blog featuring photos and information on interest-based itineraries such as food/wine, arts & culture and luxury travel; helping visitors plan the best Vancouver trip possible based on what they love. Today’s feature focuses on scenic viewpoints that showcase the Vancouver travelers think they know-and a few that they don’t.

What You’ll Need to Go on a Scenic Exploration
• A vehicle (rented or your own)
• GPS/Map
• A good quality camera (Doesn’t necessarily have to be an SLR, but should have a good zoom function)
• A tripod (to make it easier for panoramic shots)
• A picnic lunch
• A swim suit
• Good quality hiking boots/walking shoes (You’ll be doing a lot of walking)


For a 2 day tour click here

View of False Creek from Charleson Park. Photo Credit: Vancouver Park Board


Grab your lightsabers. Star Wars is officially coming to Vancouver.

Industrial Light & Magic, the George Lucas-founded effects company that handles the Star Wars movies, has put down roots in Vancouver’s historic Gastown neighbourhood.

The Gastown effects studio will be responsible, in part, for bringing the new Star Wars: Episode VII movie to life.  Scheduled for release in December 2015, the movie is part of the third trilogy of Star Wars movies.  It takes up where 1983′s epic Return of the Jedi leaves off.

The studio will be staffed with 200 visual effects employees and occupy the 30,000-square-foot space on Water Street (not far from the iconic Gassy Jack statue) that formerly housed Pixar, according to an article in the Vancouver Sun.  While the initial focus of work will be on Star Wars: Episode VII, plans are for the studio to spend the next eight-10 years on Star Wars projects, including Episodes VIII and IX of the new trilogy.

Industrial Light & Magic already has some 130 employees on the ground and is looking to expand immediately.  Star Wars fans with the right credentials might just end up with their dream jobs.  Particularly in demand are “creature technical directors.” These lucky technicians are responsible for making Star Wars’ new whimsical creatures look real – with skin and bones and lifelike movements.  Animators then use this base to produce the finished project.

So just what does the latest Star Wars trilogy have in store for us? Fanboys (and -girls) have been speculating for years about the long-anticipated sequel to the original 1977-1983 trilogy.  But the films remain a tightly kept secret.  The consensus is that Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher from the original Star Wars movies will reprise their roles as Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.  The trilogy is likely to address the rebuilding of the Republic and will almost certainly feature loveable R2-D2 and C-3PO.

Whether the new Industrial Light & Magic studio will become a mecca for diehard Star Wars fans – like the legendary Skywalker Ranch in California – remains to be seen.

Photo credit: Scott Smith (SRisonS) | Flickr


Get your cameras ready: Another round of giant, outdoor art is coming to Vancouver.

The third instalment of the Vancouver Biennale begins later his month.  Every other year, the celebration brings massive works of public art to locations throughout Vancouver and surrounding communities. As part of the 2014 Biennale, some 20 sculptures will be installed in Vancouver and an additional 10 will go in New Westminster, North Vancouver and Squamish.

The big news this year is that one sculpture has been crafted by none other that China’s most famous dissident, Ai Weiwei.  No word yet on what the piece is or where it will be placed, but it’s bound to turn heads.

Oftentimes, the sculptures go on to become permanent icons on the Vancouver landscape. Past examples include A-maze-ing Laughter (the giant bronze men near English Bay), Engagement (the huge engagement rings above Sunset Beach) and 217.5 Arc X 13 (those weird rusting metal ribs at Sunset Beach).

So what inventive, whimsical and absurd creations can we expect to be seeing in the weeks ahead? In total 92 international artists and 12 Canadian artists will be participating in the event. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the works on display:

Shipping Containers: Among the most visually stunning of the new sculptures, this piece by Brazilian artist Jose Rensende consists of pairs of full-size shipping containers welded together into gravity-defying V-shapes.  The sculpture will stand at Pier Park in New Westminster.

Breathing FlowerImagine a delicate lotus flower the size of a two-storey house.  The exact location for this eye-catching piece by Korea’s Choi Jeong Hwa, which is made from sheets of red fabric and opens and closes throughout the day, has yet to be determined.

Human StructuresThis human pyramid from American artist Jonathan Borofsky consists of 64 brightly coloured, life-size steel figurines stacked on top of each other.  The location has not yet been determined.

Love Your BeanThese car-size, neon-coloured Jelly Beans from Montreal’s Cosimo Cavallaro have made waves around the world.  Just don’t try to eat one. No word yet on where the beans will call home.

What’s your favourite piece of outdoor art in Vancouver?

Photo credit: tofuart | Flickr


TED invites the Vancouver public to watch a live outdoor broadcast of the entire TED2014 Conference on the Jumbotron screen at Terry Fox Plaza in Yaletown, Vancouver.

Arranged with the generous support of BC Pav Co., owners of BC Place and the Vancouver Convention Centre, and staffed by TED-knowledgeable volunteers from area TEDx events, the live broadcast will take place:

• Monday, March 17: 6pm-745pm
• Tuesday, March 18: 830am-745pm
• Wednesday, March 19: 830am-745pm
• Thursday, March 20: 9am-745pm
• Friday, March 21: 9am-1pm


See the Program Guide for the speaker lineup, plus the special All Stars Sessions, featuring shorter talks from past speakers.

TED has also invited accredited secondary schools, universities, libraries, community centres and NGOs to apply for a free webstream of the conference here.

Location: Terry Fox Plaza, BC Place Stadium, 777 Pacific Blvd

The city of Vancouver has overwhelmed us with its generosity and support,” said TED Community Director Tom Rielly. “In 30 years, we’ve never offered a live public broadcast to our host city, but this year we wanted to show thanks to the community that has welcomed us so warmly.”

The TED2014 Conference kicks off Monday, March 17 in the Vancouver Convention Centre and lasts through Friday, March 21. This marks TED’s 30th anniversary conference, and the first year the event will be held in Vancouver.

Photo: Brian Chase | Flickr


Ready to put on a hardhat and plunge a few hundred feet below a Vancouver-area landmark?

The Britannia Mine, situated less than an hour outside the city, was once the largest copper mine in the entire British Empire. From 1904-1974, around 60,000 workers labored here, digging a tunnel network more than 120 miles long. Now it’s your turn to take a peek inside.

The mine and its soaring twenty-story copper mill have been completely refurbished and opened to the public as the Britannia Mine Museum. Visitors climb aboard a miniature train set on narrow-gauge tracks for a ride deep into the mine, where the temperature is always a steady 54-degrees Fahrenheit. Guides describe mining conditions back in the day while showing off actual drills and other equipment.

Back outside in the light of day, there’s plenty to do, as well. Glimpse inside massive Mill 3, a twenty-story industrial building set into the mountainside that boasts a cathedral-like interior. Next, try your luck at the gold-panning pavilion, where water trickles through old-fashioned troughs and visitors can keep any nuggets they find.

The museum also features extensive historical displays and a machine shop with vintage equipment from 1908, including a restored ambulance.

photo: Britannia Mine Museum


It’s definitely not the first place you’d think of putting an elegant, 18th-century-style chandelier.

The underside of the Granville Street Bridge at Beach Avenue may soon be home to a rather unique lighting fixture: a $1.2-million, spinning chandelier measuring more than five metres tall.

The unusual piece of public art has been proposed by the developer of nearby Vancouver House, the 52-storey futuristic high-rise going up near the Howe Street on-ramp to the bridge.  The chandelier would be made out of a special hard-plastic polymer, designed to mimic the look of crystal, with glowing LED lights inside, according to an article in the Vancouver Sun.

But there’s more.  The creation would also function as something of a timepiece.  Over the course of a day, the chandelier would slowly turn and rise. Then, at a set time, would come the big climax, as it plunges back down to its starting point.

It’s hoped that the chandelier would become a tourist magnet, with big crowds gathering for the daily descent (similar, in some respects, to the throngs that assemble around the steam clock in Gastown).  But the project still has a long way to go before being realized. Thus far, it has only passed the preliminary test of being approved by the city’s public art committee.

The chandelier is just one of a number of changes proposed for the downtown end of the Granville Street Bridge.  An ambitious plan by the Vancouver House developers calls for the entire forgotten urban area under the bridge and its ramps to be reclaimed as a space for public art and gatherings.

Giant lightboxes would be installed on the underside of the bridge, for displaying large format photographs in brilliant colour.  Meanwhile, the area below would serve as a giant covered plaza for hosting concerts, beer gardens and public events.  The Vancouver House building itself would be flanked by new low-rises that bracket the bridge, creating an intimate community feel in the area.

An artist's rendering of the new project.


The Vancouver International Auto Show rolls into downtown in just a couple of weeks, showcasing everything from the latest exotic models to gleaming collector cars.

From March 25th to March 30th, aficionados, enthusiasts, aspiring owners, families and those who like all things shiny will be heading down to check out this year’s exhibits under the showcase lights at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Hotel packages that include tickets, overnight stays, and deep cost savings have been created for those who’d like to make a night or a weekend out of this year’s Auto Show. They are going fast, so book now.


For the second year, The Green Ride and Drive will offer guests a chance to book a test drive in some of the top rated “green” drives. And, back again for 2014 is the Red Line stage, featuring guest speakers discussing various topics on all things “auto”.

This event has become a signature annual event, and with its most recent home at the VCC, the Auto Show has become even more glamorous, yet accessible, and is conveniently located amidst stunning views, top dining options an several waterfront hotels.



Dozens of of forgeries – from ancient Greek statues to prehistoric fossils and fine Chinese porcelain – have been discovered in the Surrey Museum outside of Vancouver.

But this isn’t some embarrassing scandal in the Vancouver ‘burbs.  It’s the museums newest exhibit, Fakes and Forgeries, which gives visitors a chance to see if they can distinguish between the knock-offs and the real thing.

The exhibit looks at the incredible lengths forgers – both past and present – have gone to in order to hoodwink museums and collectors. The items on display are part of a traveling exhibition from the Royal Ontario Museum, where for decades many of the fakes were unwittingly displayed as real artifacts, undetected even by the nation’s best curators.

The 1,500-square-foot exhibit features 11 different cases, each highlighting a different type of forgery and featuring a collection of real and fake artifacts to compare.  It’s up to the viewer to decide which is which, and it’s not always easy.  There are also fascinating stories behind the forgeries and how they were discovered.

Inside the Egyptian antiquities case, for instance, are fragments of two reliefs, the type that would have once decorated walls and columns in Ancient Egypt. One is a priceless specimen dating from between 2040 and 1963 B.C.  The other is a few thousand years newer and totally worthless.

Nearby, another case contains fascinating pre-Columbian pottery from Mexico, including a series of urns depicting the fierce-looking rain god, Cociji. Only when museum curators used an advanced technique known as thermoluminescense – which determines when a ceramic object was fired in a kiln – were they able to distinguish between the real ones (created between 200-500 A.D.) and the fakes (made between 1907 and 1915).

Apart from its collection of ancient forgeries, the exhibition also features displays of modern fakes, likely familiar to anyone who has shopped at one of Vancouver’s Asian night markets.  You can test your luck identifying knock-off Chanel bags, fake Nike running shoes, counterfeit jeans and even hockey jerseys.  A separate section showcases the thriving market in fake household goods, ranging from black market toothpaste to electrical cords and devices.

Fakes and Forgeries is on display at the Surrey Museum in Surrey, B.C., from Feb. 11-May 24.

Fake versions of ancient Mexican urns (like the real one shown here) are on display in Surrey.  Photo credit: opacity | Flickr


Join the crowd at the Vancouver Convention Centre grounds on Saturday March 15 to see the launch of Janet Echelman’s incredible aerial sculpture!

Suspended 745 feet across Vancouver’s waterfront, the sculpture will appear to float between a 24-story skyscraper and the Vancouver Convention Center, site of theTED2014 Conference. As the sun sets, Echelman will share details about the sculpture and the Autodesk technology that assisted her in its design, and Aaron Koblin, Google’s Creative Director, will demonstrate how the general public can use the browser on their mobile device to choreograph the lighting onto the sculpture.

Event Details:

Date: Saturday, March 15, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Vancouver Convention Centre grounds


About Janet Echelman’s Aerial Sculpture:

Echelman’s sculpture, titled Skies Painted with Unnumbered Sparks, is presented with an original interactive work created in collaboration with Aaron Koblin, who Echelman met when they both spoke at TED2011. The sculpture is an extension of the idea Echelman presented in her talk, “Taking imagination seriously.” In the talk, Echelman shares how she fell in love with a new material — fishing net — and began creating voluptuous forms that contrast with the hard edges generally found in cities. She revealed the challenge of making these sculptures both durable and permanent, but also able to react to the wind. She shared her dream of taking these sculptures to the next level by finding materials light enough to attach to existing buildings in a neighborhood rather than requiring a new supporting steel structure.

Echelman was able to think on this scale by finding an incredibly light material — Spectra, a fiber that is 15 times stronger by weight than steel. But the engineering still presented an incredible challenge, for which no good software design tools existed.

Echelman turned to Autodesk, a longtime TED partner and leader in 3D design and engineering software that seeks out interesting design problems. Autodesk worked with Echelman to create custom 3D software to model the piece and test its feasibility. “The challenge of modeling the stress and drape of my work under gravity and wind while being aware of the fabrication constraints of my craft was interesting to them, and they stepped in to collaborate,” says Echelman. Autodesk provided the missing link to make Echelman’s artistic dream a reality. They also sponsored the sculpture.

As the sun goes down, the sculpture becomes an enormous canvas which both the Vancouver public and TED attendees help color. Echelman worked with Koblin, a Creative Director at Google Creative Lab who gave the TED Talk “Artfully visualizing our humanity,” to create a colorful and interactive lighting experience using 160,000 lumens of light. As people view the sculpture overhead, they’ll be able to choreograph the lighting with their mobile device.

A rendering of Janet Echelman’s soon-to-be sculpture


Families and Kids of all ages – be sure to add Western Canada’s Largest Indoor Carnival to your Spring Break Calendars!

Western Canada’s largest indoor carnival with more than 45 rides and attractions is back at BC Place for spring break and is now better value than ever!


Join us at BCAA PlayDome to experience outer-space with the Zero Gravity ride, be spun around on the openair cars of the Ring of Fire, and be flung into oblivion on the Super Shot! Popular favorites such as 1001 nights, The Ferris Wheel and the Zipper are all part of the carnival in 2014.

Best of all, BC Place is excited to announce that BCAA Members will get $10 off the price of Dome or Ultimate Passes – a great way for the whole family to enjoy this annual event!

Make sure BCAA PlayDome on your calendar this spring break!

Western Canada’s largest indoor carnival with over 45 rides and attractions is back for nine days March 15 to 23, BC Place, $29 single-day Dome Pass, $49 unlimited, $6 guests. $10 Discount on tickets with your BCAA Membership Card! Information atbcplace.com/playdome or phone 604.669.2300.

Dates: Saturday, March 15 to Sunday, March 23, 2014

Times: 10:30am-9pm daily (10:30am-6pm Sunday, March 23rd)

Prices: $29 Dome Pass (valid for full day, all rides)
$49 Ultimate Pass (9-day, all rides)
$10 Discount on tickets with your BCAA Membership Card!
$6 Guest Pass (required to enter as a spectator)
*Children under 2 years old admitted free (for safety reasons, they are not permitted to ride)

Venue: BC Place Stadium



It’s official: Vancouver is now home to Dude Chilling Park.

Located in Mount Pleasant, not far from Main Street and Broadway, the park was known for the last 40 years as Guelph Park, after nearby Guelph Street. (Guelph, if you’re curious, is the family name of Queen Victoria.)

Then, two years ago, a prankster stole the official Vancouver Parks and Recreation sign. In a rather creative practical joke, the prankster (later revealed to be local artist Victor Briestensky) replaced it with an exact replica of the sign – except the name was changed from Guelph Park to Dude Chilling Park.

City officials would have none of it, at the time.  The real sign was quickly restored to its rightful place. But among area hipsters and other advocates, momentum gathered to have the park’s name changed to Dude Chilling Park. A social media campaign culminated in some 1,500 signatures of support from Mount Pleasant residents.

Last month, park officials finally caved and conceded to a compromise.  They announced via Twitter that Briestensky’s original Dude Chilling Park sign would be reinstalled as a piece of “public art.” (It appears that the park’s official name, however, will remain unchanged.) In late February, the sign was unveiled.

The “dude” in question refers to a large wooden sculpture in the park that resembles a person reclined in the grass, one leg crossed over the other, just “chillin’.”  At the same time, park benches are often filled with real life dudes and dudettes, admiring the views to the North Shore mountains, chatting, smoking (and occasionally drinking something out of paper bags) and just generally hanging out. In other words, the name works on several different levels.

News of the unusual name change has already spread far and wide.  Jimmy Kimmel even referenced Dude Chilling Park on a recent episode of his late-night talk show.

Photo credit: gak | Flickr


Andy Patton: Vancouver, British Columbia; Kim Patton: Johannesburg, South Africa; Dani Kremeniuk: Evansburg Alberta; Jeff Topham: Summerland, British Columbia

How long have you been Vancouverites:
Andy Patton: 40 years; Kim Patton: 3 years; Dani Kremeniuk: 10 years; Jeff Topham: 25 years

We are a big jumble of skills and experience. We’ve worked as photographers, writers, IT professionals, filmmakers, actors, editors, bartenders and small business managers. Today The Gastown Gazette kind of works as a co-op. We pitch in where and when we can, or are needed. Most days Jeff handles the photography and edits, Dani writes the Gastowners series and Gastown Style, Kim holds the team together, and Andy pontificates and publishes. What unites us is a passion for telling a great story, contributing to the community, and helping people understand the unique challenges, potential and incredible beauty of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.


Gastown highlights:
The Gastown area is one of Vancouver’s most dynamic neighbourhoods and pickin’ highlights isn’t easy. But some of our favourites include Nelson the SeagullAlibi RoomHakone SushiBig Lou’s Butcher ShopSpace Lab (cool vintage shit),Sunrise MarketNotturnoLYNNstevenGuilt & Co.The Keefer BarThe Sardine CanNicli Antica PizzeriaRailtown CafeOne of a FewOak + FortThe Blarney Stone (especially when the hood gathers on a Sunday night), Lost + FoundPidginFunky Winker BeansGringoPrime Time Chicken (at Main and Hastings, home of the best $5 chicken chow mein), the Chinatown Night Market (during the summer), and anywhere Gastown’s legendary bartender “H” is working behind pine.

Most overlooked Gastown gem:
This neighbourhood is loaded with gems! But if we had to pick one it might be Oyster Express at 296 Keefer Street in Chinatown. It’s a buck a shuck for happy hour from 3pm – 6pm on Tuesday – Friday (but you gotta try the grilled cheese)! Oh, and the pier at Crab Park!

Your best Gastown haiku:
My feet hurt a lot
The cobbled streets are lumpy
Our steam clock’s electrical



The 9th Annual Vancouver International Women in Film Festival (VIWFF) will be showcasing a diverse line-up of local and international productions at VIFF’s Vancity Theatre. The festival takes place March 6th to March 9th, coinciding with Women’s Day on March 8th. The selection of shorts and feature films are in all genres and lengths, and are produced by established and emerging female filmmakers from all over the world. To participate in the festival, the films must have a woman in at least three of the following roles: Writer, Producer, Director, Cinematographer, Editor, Composer, and Lead Performer. With thirty-three films, gala and industry events, workshops, visiting filmmakers, and panel discussions, VIWFF is an event you won’t want to miss.


Tickets for film screenings range from $9-11 with a Vancity Theatre membership. Membership can easily be purchased when buying tickets for the festival; membership is $12 and includes a ticket to one screening. Opening and Closing Night tickets are $15, or $17 for a ticket and membership. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or in advance atviff.org/theatre. There are a few free events, including a screening of the film The Weather Girl. Workshops and pitch sessions range from $10.50 to $131.25. Workshops require registration up to 24 hours ahead of time; you can register for them here.

Thursday, March 6th

9:30am-5:30pm Canadian Independent Film Producing: What they don’t teach you in film school with Avi Federgreen
7pm-11pm Opening Night: screening of Pretty Bitch and Evangeline, followed by a Q&A and a party.

Friday, March 7th

9:30am-12:30pm Distribution Workshop with Avi Federgreen
10am-12pm Artist Talks
1pm-2:30pm Portrayals of Violence against Women in Film and Television (Free Admission)
1:30pm-3:30pm Pitch Sessions
2:45pm-3:45pm Special demonstrations by mediAm
4pm-6pm Shorts that Shine: L’Autre Femme, Ina Litovski, I am not a Weird Person, Boneshaker, 5 Ways 2 Die, Night Shift,  B12, Stolen, Newcomers Swim, Every Friday
6:30pm-8:30pm Pink or Blue?, 88 Miles to Moscow, Noor. Followed by a Q&A moderated by Margaret Gallagher of CBC Radio.
9pm-11pm Date Night: Two Penny Road Kill, Mimi & Me, Saba, When I Saw You, Pretty Shy City, Am I Not Your Girl?, Zu  Dir? Followed by a Q&A moderated by Mackenzie Gray.

Saturday, March 8th

9:30am-7pm Web Series Lounge: Come at your leisure and browse the latest in web series created by BC women
10am-11:30am Catalyst for Change (Free Admission)
11:30am-12:10pm Selections from the WIFTI Showcase including The Weather Girlfollowed by a Q&A (Free Admission)
12pm-1pm Protocols for Writers
12:15pm-12:45pm Special demonstration by Canon 
1pm-3pm Chi preceded by a presentation by the film’s director Anne Wheeler
3:30pm-6:30pm Extraños, Des(Pecho)Trucción, and El Regreso/The Return. Followed by a panel discussion with Venezuelan filmmakers and guests.
7pm-9pm The Meeting and Finsterworld followed by a Q&A
9:30pm-11:30pm Afterparty followed by a Q&A moderated by Ellie Harvie

Sunday, March 9th

12:30pm-6pm Web Series Lounge: Come at your leisure and browse the latest in web series created by BC women
1pm-3:30pm Michelle Thrush and How A People Live. Followed by a moderated Q&A and panel discussion with special guests
4pm-6pm A Little Elbow Room and Last Woman Standing. Followed by a moderated Q&A
6:30pm-10:30pm Closing Night: Legacy award film screenings and the presentation of the Legacy and Festival Awards followed by a reception

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