Vancouver Airport Authority

Construction of a luxury outlet mall near the Vancouver International Airport has started.

The McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport will occupy 30 acres next to the airport, and 376,000 square feet of retail space once development is complete. The site will be developed in two phases and is close to the Canada Line Templeton station.

“McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport will offer a highly distinctive, luxury-oriented retail destination in Vancouver,” says Joan Jove, McArthurGlen’s Development Director for North America. “We are already seeing strong interest from leading European and North American fashion brands. Vancouver offers an excellent location, economic strength, tourism potential, as well as a strong partner in the Vancouver Airport Authority – all elements that guarantee success when opening a premium retail centre.”

In Europe, McArthurGlen outlets are known for retailers such as Prada, Armani, Burberry and Michael Kors.

The outlet mall will feature two “luxury piazzas,” according to the developer. There will be pedestrian-friendly walkways, tree-lined streets and the architecture will be inspired by historic Vancouver buildings including the Sinclair Centre, the Rowing Club and the Gastown neighhourhood.

B.C. residents are some of the best customers of the Seattle Premium Outlets in Washington State.

The Richmond development is expected to create 1,000 jobs.

This is McArthurGlen’s first outlet mall in North America. It will open to shoppers in 2015.

A McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Centre, like this one in Athens, Greece, is coming to Vancouver.  Photo credit: Tilemahos Efthimiadis | Flickr

 

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The purpose of the Tree Protection Bylaw is to protect Richmond’s urban forest by restricting tree removal from private lands and ensuring replacement trees are provided when trees are required to be removed. 

The basic strategy involves preserving healthy trees where possible (based on their long-term viability), permitting the removal of those trees that are either in poor condition or in conflict with new development and requiring the replanting of new trees. 

Trees within any urban forest are a dynamic resource - they grow, they mature, they decline and eventually die. Seeking retention where it is feasible, while at the same time ensuring there are adequate replacements, promotes the creation of a sustainable urban forest as a continued benefit to our community. 

When to Apply for a Tree Removal Permit
The City’s Tree Protection Bylaw No. 8057 generally prohibits the cutting or removal of any tree larger than 20 cm (7-7/8 inches) in diameter at breast height (dbh - measured at 1.4m or 4'7" above the ground) without a permit. 

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Click here for a summary of Richmond's Tree Protection Bylaw 8057

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Developers are hoping to give visitors a big new reason to take the SeaBus to North Vancouver.

A massive Ferris wheel built on a pier adjacent to the Lonsdale Quay is among major changes envisioned for a piece of North Vancouver waterfront at the foot of Lonsdale Avenue.

The $25-million development plan, unveiled this week at a council meeting, aims to transform a little-used, industrial shipyard into a tourist mecca and nighttime hot spot, according to an article in the Vancouver Sun. Work could begin on the project in as little as 18 months.

Apart from the giant Ferris wheel, the “Central Waterfront” area will feature a 21,000-square-foot, multi-use amphitheatre.  In colder weather, the space will serve as a skating rink that’s five times bigger than the one in Robson Square. In the summer, it will be a water park with erupting fountains.  The fountains can also be turned off, enabling the facility to be used as a open-air concert venue with a full stage.

Plans are for the redeveloped waterfront to be open as late as 10 p.m. throughout the week, offering a family-oriented nightspot after daytime attractions like Granville Island’s Public Market have closed.

The scheme, intended to lure travellers across the Burrard Inlet to the North Shore, is the vision of developer Roger Brooks. A onetime concert promoter, Brooks has earned international renown for transforming underused urban spaces and communities into must-visit attractions.  He led the highly successful initiative to rebrand Whistler into Whistler Blackcomb, a single destination and resort village as opposed to two separate, smaller resorts.

Other changes proposed along the waterfront include a new wheeled trolley that will service Lonsdale Avenue every 15 minutes, shuttling people to and from the new park.  In addition, plans are in the works to spruce up the SeaBus terminal in nearbyLonsdale Quay, which sits just west of the site and is the first stop on the North Shore for many visitors.  Specifically, the long, dark tunnel exiting the terminal will be brightened up with water walls and neon art.

An artist's rendering of the new Central Waterfront area in North Vancouver

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The Grouse Grind is one of the most famous outdoor workout spots in Vancouver. Nothing can match the full-body exercise regime that comes from hiking up a mountain. So, where can all the Grind-addicts go when the snow falls and renders the Grouse Grind impassible?

Grouse Mountain has answered your sweat-craving prayers by opening up theSnowshoe Grind, a 4.3 km snow-covered challenge that is just as rewarding as your summertime Grind routine.

 

Located at the Peak of Vancouver (with complimentary stunning views), the Snowshoe Grind promises to challenge. Starting at the relocated Grouse Grind timer, outside the Chalet adjacent the Skyride ramp and just southwest of the skate pond, the Snowshoe Grind is the perfect way to start Grouse Grind hiking season fit and strong, while enjoying the winter landscape.

 

If you don’t already own a pair of snowshoes, you can rent them from Grouse Mountain for $15 (2 hours) or $20 (full day). You’ll also need a way up there, so to get to the top of the mountain you’ll need an Annual Membership or an Alpine Experience ticket($40 for adults, $24 for youth).

The Snowshoe Grind is open from 9am to dusk every day of the week, and only takes about an hour to complete. Anyone who is reasonably fit can do the winter Grind, and it’s suggested that you bring some waterproof gear depending on the conditions.

Snowshoe Grind Grouse Mountain Vancouver

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Even after 75 years, it’s still one of the best views in Vancouver.

The Roof bar and restaurant at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, which goes back to 1939 but has been closed since the 1980s, is officially open for business once again. Situated on the upper floors of the hotel, beneath the iconic green copper roof, the revamped venue opened its doors on Valentine’s Day.

Inside, visitors have a chance to step back into Vancouver’s swanky – and steamy – past. Originally dubbed the Panorama Roof, the bar and restaurant was once the hottest spot in town for getting down with big-band music and seriously boozy cocktails. Legendary Vancouver band leader Dal Richards got his start there back in 1940 and helmed the house band for the next 25 straight years.

The new Roof pays homage to those glory days, with a few twists.  The airy, light-filled space on the 15th floor of the hotel is divided into a lounge with banquettes and classy wingback chairs on one side and a seated dining room on the other. Windows offer panoramic views (sliced up here and there by newer high-rises) both north to the Coast Mountains and south across downtown to English Bay.

The menu is heavy on the classics – strong drinks and red meat. Classic cocktails include the Negroni (gin, vermouth, campari) and Grand Sazerac (made with Remy Martin Louis XIII cognac).

The dinner menu reads much like one at a venerable old steakhouse, starting with staples like oysters and French onion soup and progressing to a signature prime rib with Yorkshire pudding and a selection of certified Angus steaks served with retro sides like creamed spinach and cauliflower gratin.  In a nod to more contemporary West Coast fare, the restaurant also has fresh local seafood, including wild salmon and halibut.

And, of course, there’s live music.  Bands will grace the Roof’s stage from Thursday to Saturday evenings – whether they’ll be able to get dancers moving like Dal Richards and his 11-piece orchestra is anyone’s guess.

Photo credit: vancityhotshots | Flickr

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Written by by REMY SCALZA

Lots of outdoors lovers I know in Vancouver, the kind who wouldn’t think twice about doing the Grouse Grind during the summer, tend to avoid winter hiking.  The usual complaints: It’s too technical and requires specialized equipment.

Not necessarily.  There are a number of relatively easy, accessible winter hikes for beginners around the city, offering access to pristine alpine scenery and plenty of snow without a lot of headaches.  In Part I of this two-part post, I profiled a great trek to Dog Mountain, near Mount Seymour.

Another one my favourites is the hike up Black Mountain at Cypress Mountain Ski Area, which I did over the weekend. The route is approximately 4-5 kilometres and takes around 2.5 hours to complete.  But in that relatively short distance, you’re rewarded with great views and even a frozen mountain lake.

The hardest part might be finding the trailhead.  After driving up winding, Cypress Bowl Road, I parked in the ski resort parking lot. Because the trail crosses some of the ski area’s terrain, you have to make a quick stop inside the Black Mountain Lodge (the smaller of the mountain’s two lodges) to pick up a free pass.  Pass in hand, I headed past Cypress’s big green Olympic rings and toward the Eagle Express chairlift (just ask someone if you get a little lost).

The trail snakes into the woods just beyond the chairlift.  Almost immediately, you encounter a fork: Stay to the left for the climb up Black Mountain.  I quickly found myself in thick forest, walking along quiet paths with a foot or two of snow on them. Just a quick word about footgear here: Because the snow had been hard-packed, I was just wearing ordinary hiking boots.  If you want a bit of extra grip, you can purchase lightweight crampons at an outdoors store.  Alternately, if there’s been a lot of fresh snow, a basic pair of snowshoes might be in order.

After a few hundred metres, the trail up Black Mountain begins to ascend quite steeply, roughly paralleling one of Cypress’s ski runs.  I worked my way up a series of switchbacks, pausing to catch my breath and admiring the view of Howe Sound, visible just over the tops of the trees.  There’s nothing technically challenging about the trail here, but it is quite a workout – a kind of wintry version of the famous Grouse Grind.

After roughly 45 minutes of continuous ascent, the trail finally begins to level off.  I reached a junction and followed a small sign pointing towards Cabin Lake.  A minute or so later, I found myself all alone at the frozen lake on top of Black Mountain.  It looked like a stage for some kind of enchanted winter performance: perfectly flat and dusted with snow, surrounded on all sides by towering evergreen trees with snow in their boughs.  Sun cut through the trees and cast long shadows over the frozen surface.

I did a quick circuit of the lake (It’s generally frozen solid at this time of year, but always use caution.), then trekked back a bit to that trail junction.  Easy to miss, a small trail leads about 250 metres to a spot called the Yew Lake viewpoint.  It’s definitely worth taking.

I scrambled up the trail, through rocky, heavily forested terrain, and suddenly emerged at a snowy clearing on top.  The view was spectacular.  To the north, loomed the dramatic profile of the Lions – Vancouver’s two iconic peaks – under a brilliant blue sky.  Beyond, Howe Sound threaded its way into the mountains.  I could even make out a tiny strand of silver which turned out to be the Sea to Sky Highway.

I turned around the opposite direction.  Squinting through the bright sun, I was able to make out the Georgia Strait in the distance and even (if my geography is right) the rugged outline of Mt. Baker in Washington.  All in all, not too shabby after just about an hour of hiking.

The Black Mountain Trail on Cypress Mountain is approximately 4-5 kilometres roundtrip and takes about 2.5 hours to complete.  While the hike is not technically difficult, it is rated as intermediate and caution should be used while on the trail.  For more detailed trail information, check out the great resources on Vancouver Trails.  

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Western Canada’s premiere Aboriginal arts fest, the Talking Stick Festival, returns to Vancouver February 18-March 2 for it’s 13th year. This year’s festival menu includes some electric powwow, theatrical explorations of Canada’s Aboriginal and Chinese cultures, boundary-pushing contemporary dance and slam poetry face offs.

“Nurturing the talents and providing opportunities for our people to share their stories and have their voices heard has been my objective and passion,” stated Margo Kane, Artistic Managing Director.

Attracting performers from far and near and audiences young and old, this year’s Talking Stick Festival promises to get your mind and body moving. 

First up is the opening gala event at the Roundhouse Community Centre, February 18 at 7:00 p.m. Entitled Wax hoks en Shqulawin (Open Your Hearts), the gala acts as a teaser for the Talking Stick performances to come. Quebec based Metis Jazz quartet Kawandak will open the festival as well as Innu singer Kathia Rock and other Vancouver based musicians.

At the newly renovated York Theatre on Commercial Drive, Talking Stick matriarch and artistic director Kane will perform the comical and heart-warming play For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again by Michel Tremblay.

Another of Talking Stick’s theatrical highlights include Raven meets the Monkey King, a kid-friendly play by Louise Moon and Axis Theatre Company about a young girl who finds a First Nations Raven mask wrapped in an original Chinese Opera Poster. The story focuses on the two cultures sharing their stories and traditions. The Raven and the Monkey King will offer two performances a day at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. at the Culture Lab on February 19 and 20 plus February 25-28.

One of the most popular shows will likely be the live electro set by Ottawa’s best electronic music exports: A Tribe Called Red. The trio of DJs will perform their completely addictive brand of dance beats dubbed “electric powwow” at the Commodore Ballroom February 21 and 22 during Salish Coast Live.

Combining traditional First Nations singing and drumming with dance floor friendly baselines, A Tribe Called Red is kind of like Canada’s version of Major Lazer and has spurred on a whole movement of traditional First Nations/dub/hip hop/dancehall mashups. A Tribe Called Red’s show promises to one of Vancouver’s hottest February tickets. Local beat mavericks Mat the Alien, Ostwelve and VJs Kintropy and Heidrogen are also on the ticket for a night that promises to shatter your musical boundaries and make you dance.

Other performances not to miss during the Talking Stick Festival include Convergence: Currents of Contemporary Aboriginal Dance II on February 27 and Ch’odza (she is dancing), Raven Spirit Dance celebration on February 28.

Aspiring poets can look for local inspiration at Cafe Deux Soleils on February 21 at slam poetry event From Talking Stick to Microphone. Hosted by East Van poet Zaccheus Jackson, the night promises to be a whiplash fast evening of slam poets going head to head.

A Tribe Called Red will perform at the Commodore February 21 & 22 Photo Credit: Athena ANASTASIOU

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During the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, bars were full of cheering fans during Canadian hockey games.

Recreating that same excitement during the Sochi Olympics won’t be easy, but several local pubs are giving it their best shot.

The Donnelly Group’s Vancouver pubs will be opening bright and early at 8 a.m. much of the rest of this week, so fans can watch Canada’s men’s hockey team face off live in Sochi. Participating pubs in Vancouver include the LamplighterLibrary Square, the Academic, Metropole, Blackbird and other Donnelly Group pubs across the city.

And, in case you’re wondering, you can get your first beer with breakfast at 9 a.m., when the games start and the pubs will begin serving alcohol.  Specials vary from location to location but include a $1 breakfast wrap and $3.75 Baileys and coffee at the Metropole and brunch and $5 Caesar specials elsewhere.

Donnelly’s pubs opened their doors at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13, so fans could watch Canada’s men’s team face off against Norway.  On Friday, Feb. 14, they’ll also be opening at 8 a.m. as Canada takes on Austria.  And on Sunday, Feb. 16, they’ll open at 8 a.m. as Canada battles Finland.

The lineup and schedule for next week’s quarter- and semi-final men’s hockey rounds won’t be finalized until after this weekend’s action. When (not if!) Canada advances, the pubs will almost certainly be open for fans who want to watch the games live.

The gold medal game, however, may present a bit of a challenge.  It’s scheduled to air live on Sunday, Feb. 23, at 4 a.m. Vancouver time – which means either one heck of a late night for hockey fans or one heck of an early morning.  Either way, the Donnelly Group is looking at ways to be open for the final, according to the Vancouver Sun.

Know of other bars and pubs that plan to open early for Olympic hockey? Let me know.  

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Granville Island presents the 9th annual Winterruption, a unique Vancouver winter festival. From February 14th to 16th, head on down to Granville Island to celebrate the West Coast through music, food, art, theatre, dance and film. With beer tastings, capoeira performances, French films, pop up dances, and performances by We are the City and Wake Owl, Winterruption promises to entertain and delight the masses.

Vancouver’s Coastal Jazz and Blues Society presents the Performance Works Music Series, with Vancouver-based indie band We are the City and indie-folk group Wake Owl. Both headliners are $15+ for tickets, but there are also a number of free performances. Quebecois singer Saint-Pierre, Thelonious Monk tribute Monk’s Music, jazz pianist and singer Jillian Lebeck Trio, and Arabic and Persian music group Qalandar will all perform two free shows each.

 

New this year at Winterruption is “Meet Your Makers”, a tour showcasing Granville Island spirits. Hosted by travel writer John Lee, the tour visits Dockside Brewery, Granville Island Brewing Company, Artisan Sake Maker, and Liberty Distillery for tours and tastings of beer, sake, vodka, gin, and whiskey. Also on the menu: watch Olympic Winter Games at Edible Canada, take a walking seafood tour, try specialty Winterruption donuts at Lee’s Donuts, taste wine at Liberty Wine Merchants, and take a tour of the Granville Island Market.

You can also get your creative juices flowing with art workshops. Try glassblowing at New-Small & Sterling Studio Glass or make arts and crafts with up-cycled materials at Make. Or, if you prefer to observe, there will be a number of art exhibitions and tours, including an innovative idea exchange between Granville Island artists, artisans, architects, designers, directors, actors, producers, and curators.

In addition, Winterruption will be full of theatre and film. The Francophone Film Festival will celebrate its 20th anniversary at Winterruption this year, while the Fringe Festival presents Hockey Night at the Puck and Pickle Pub, a play that takes place during a Canada-Russia hockey game. You can also find free shows at The Revue Stage and pop-up dancers will be appearing all over Granville Island.

Winterruption will also be in full swing at the Kids Zone, with performances by children’s entertainer Charlotte Diamond, Axe Capoeira, French-Canadian group Alouest, stilt performers Duh Hockey Guys, and Mardi Gras characters Chix on Stix. Kids can also try making maple taffy, get their faces painted, and dance in the street with the Mardi Gras Procession.

Music

We are the City | Feb 14 | 9pm | $15
Wake Owl | Feb 15 | 9pm | $15
Saint-Pierre | Feb 15 | 12:30pm & 1:45pm | Free
Monk’s Music | Feb 15 | 3:15pm & 4:30pm | Free
Jilliam Lebeck Trio | Feb 16 | 12:30pm & 1:45pm | Free
Qalandar | Feb 16 | 3:15pm & 4:30pm | Free

All shows at Performance Works, 1218 Cartwright Street. Tickets for We are the City and Wake Owl available at Northern Tickets.

Food

Meet Your Makers Tour: Spirits, Sake and Hand Crafted Beer | Feb 15 & 16 | 3-4pm | Granville Island Brewery | $12
Edible Canada House: Festival Under the Bridge | Feb 14, 6pm-1am | Feb 15, 11am-1pm | Feb 16, 11am-Midnight | Edible Canada | $25-$30
Winterruption Donut Spectacular | Feb 14-16 | 9am-7pm | Lee’s Donuts | Market Price
Valentine’s at Liberty Wine Merchants | Feb 14 | 2-5pm | Liberty Wine Merchants | Free
Sustainable Seafood Walking Tour | Feb 15 | 11-12pm | Granville Island Public Market | Free
Granville Island Market Tour | Feb 14-16 | 9-11am | Edible Canada | $40 for 2 people

Arts

Granville Island – An Innovative Idea Exchange | Feb 15 | 8-11pm | Net Loft Shops | $15
I Heart Art | Feb 1-28 | Fridays 10am-6pm, Saturdays 12pm-6pm, Sundays 12-5pm | Ainsworth Custom Design | Free
Haida Carver: Clarence Mills | Feb 14-16 | 11am-4pm | Ocean Artworks | Free
Ikebana at Winterruption | Feb 14-16 | 10am-6pm | Net Loft, Crafthouse, Railspur District | Free
Works on Paper | Feb 14-16 | 10am-4pm | Federation of Canadian Artists Gallery | Free
Mark Lewis Exhibition | Feb 14-16 | 12-5pm | Charles H. Scott Gallery | Free
Circle Craft Student Scholarship Exhibition | Feb 14-16 | 10am-7pm | Circle Craft Co-Op | Free
Crafting at Make | Feb 14-16 | 11am-4pm | Make | Free
Mini Glassblowing Workshops | Feb 15, 11am-5pm | Feb 16, 12-4pm | New Small-Sterling Glass Studio | $35 | Call 604-681-6730 for reservations

Theatre, Dance & Film

Francophone Film Festival 20th Anniversary | Feb 14-15 | 11am, 2pm, 7pm, 8pm | Waterfront Theatre | $5.50+
The Massacre | Feb 14 & 15, 7:30pm, 9:30pm & 11:15pm | Feb 16, 7:30 pm | Ticket prices vary | Call 604-738-7013 for tickets
Hockey Night at the Puck and Pickle Pub | Feb 14-15 | 8pm | Studio 1398 | $25
Stories from Hogan’s Alley | Feb 15 | 3-4pm | The Revue Stage | Free
Tippi and Stan | Feb 15 | 7pm | The Revue Stage | Free
Pop Up Dances | Feb 15-16 | 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm | Various locations | Free

For Kids

Charlotte Diamond | Feb 15-16 | 11-11:45am | Kids Zone | Free
Axe Capoeira | Feb 15-16 | 3-3:45pm | Kids Zone | Free
Alouest | Feb 15-16 | 1-1:45pm | Kids Zone | Free
Maple Taffy – Canada’s Original Candy! | Feb 15-16 | 10am-4:30pm | Kids Zone | $5
Maskerade Workshop | Feb 15, 10:30am | Feb 16, 4:30pm | Kids Zone | Free
Face Painting | Feb 15-16 | 10:30am-4:30pm | Kids Zone | Free
Duh Hockey Guys | Feb 15 | 12:30-4:30pm | Kids Zone
Parent & Tot Gym and Gogo Bonkers | Feb 16 | 9:30am-Noon | False Creek Community Centre | Free
Mortal Coil Performance Society’s Chix on Stix | Feb 16 | 10:30am-4:15pm | Kids Zone | Free
The Brotherhood of Brass | Feb 16 | 12pm & 2:30pm | Kids Zone | Free
Winterruption Mardi Gras Procession | Feb 16 | 12-12:30pm | Kids Zone | Free

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit the Winterruption website.

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Music fans know that it can sometimes be a challenge to find places to catch live bands in Vancouver.  The bars and restaurants in the city that do specialize in live music often either charge a hefty cover or wait until the wee hours of the morning to bring bands on stage.

All of which is why a new music series in the heart of downtown Vancouver on Granville Street is such a find.  Every Saturday afternoon, from 2 p.m.-7 p.m., New-Orleans’-style supper club Vancouver FanClub hosts Saturday Jams.  I checked out the free event on a recent weekend and it was, well, music to my ears.

The FanClub opened about a year ago as a new project from the owners of the Yale, Vancouver’s venerable and now defunct blues music club.  They’ve tried to recreate the look and feel of New Orleans music hall – and spared little expense doing it.  French colonial doors lead to an large open bar and performance space.  Wood floors and paneling and antique light fixtures give the room a warm feel, and a second floor balcony looks down on all the action below.

The best part: FanClub has a proper stage.  A large elevated platform in the corner is outfitted with the latest sound and lighting equipment.  When I sat down at the bar over the weekend, that stage was being put to good use as part of the Saturday Jams.

The Jams are hosted by the FanClub’s house band, a cast of veteran blues musicians on guitar, drums and organ.  They provide the backing for a series of short performances by local blues and rock enthusiasts.  In open-mic-style, anyone can sign up for a slot and play three-four songs with the band.

While in other venues this might be a recipe for mediocre, aimless jamming, the level of talent on display at the FanClub seemed pretty exemplary.  I watched as one act after another – from soulful female vocalists to old-time blues guitar players – took the stage and rocked the house.

The bar menu also deserves mentioning.  Not only does FanClub have a fair selection of local craft beer, it also offers an exceptionally cheap happy hour food menu on Saturdays. For $3.99, you get decently-sized portions of the club’s New-Orleans-influenced cuisine, from pulled pork sliders to shrimp fritters, mac-and-cheese and jambalaya chicken flatbread.  The quality of the food is pretty outstanding, especially considering the price is less than you’d pay for a beer at many bars in the city.

Each session of the Saturday Jams culminates at 6 p.m. with a headlining act, a showcase band brought in to cap off the afternoon and bring down the house.  By the time they took the stage on Saturday, the club was packed, with an energy you don’t often find on Granville Street until much later in the night.

Photo courtesy of Vancouver FanClub

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Museums and galleries are great, but for a real taste of First Nations culture in Vancouver how about a night in the Water Suite?

Sculptures of salmon crafted from wood and steel swim above the headboard, while works of aboriginal art hang alongside handwritten lines of poetry inside the suite, part of a brand new hotel experiment in downtown Vancouver.

Visitors interested in learning more about Canada’s First Nations will soon have the option of staying in an entirely aboriginal-themed hotel. Opening in May, the 18-room Skwachays Lodge will be the first example of an “aboriginal boutique arts hotel” in Canada, according to an article by Kevin Griffin in the Vancouver Sun.

Situated on West Pender and Taylor Streets near the edge of Chinatown, the hotel will cater to travellers seeking higher-end accommodation that offers a cultural twist, with rooms going for around $225 a night.  And the aboriginal connection is more than just a marketing ploy.

The new facility is located inside the Vancouver Native Housing Society complex, a $10.5-million structure that was opened in 2012. The bulk of the complex is dedicated to social housing suites. But it was also built with an extensive art gallery and healing lodge, a place for out-of-town First Nations patients to stay while in hospital.

The healing lodge never really took off, however, so the society opted to redevelop the spare rooms into boutique hotel suites.  Developed by a team of six aboriginal artists working with six separate interior design companies, the suites will have entirely different themes, complemented by original pieces of native art. Examples include a room with birch-bark wallpaper that evokes powwow scenes from the Prairies and a room with a round bed under a ceiling decorated to look like the moon, according to the Vancouver Sun.

Plans are also in the works to allow visitors to participate in hands-on First Nations experiences.  Options may include carving, weaving or painting classes where guests are able to take home the works they make. It’s anticipated that significant traffic will come from cruise ship passengers, who stop over in Vancouver and often seek a quick glimpse of native culture.

Aboriginal art will be on display at the Skwachays Lodge. Pictured here: a totem pole in the Museum of Anthropology at UBC. Photo credit: Hendl | Flickr

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Today, the Winter Olympics officially launch in Sochi. It will also mark nearly four years since Vancouver held the honours of hosting the largest sporting event in the world. We’ll no doubt be watching with trained eyes to see how our successors handle the task. It will also be a good time to take inventory of how the city of Vancouver has changed since those monumental two and a half weeks. Let’s have a look at some of those changes.

Sea to Sky makes a beautiful ride

Just 10 years ago a trip up to Whistler always inspired an anxious wish: I hope we make it there in one piece. Since the expansion of the Sea to Sky highway, the trip up not only takes half the time to get there, there’s also a lot more take in, with several viewpoints along the way. The white knuckling has since been replaced with head turning.

Canada Line does our city just fine

There aren’t many cities that can boast a transit system so efficient, it’s more convenient – and often faster- to use than driving. Thanks to the addition of the Canada Line, it now takes 22 minutes to get from Vancouver International Airport to heart of downtown, an impressive and applauded feature our city has to offer both tourists and residents.

Playing host comes to us naturally

After hosting an event of, well, Olympic-sized proportions, it opens a city up to take on nearly anything. A good example of this is the upcoming TED2014, which Vancouver will have the pleasure of hosting. A bit further down the line, in 2025, Vancouver will also produce the largest conference the city will have seen: Alcoholic’s Anonymous, which is expected to draw 48,000 attendees.

We’ve upped the ante for eating and drinking

Vancouver has always been known as a culinary destination, and the Olympics helped boost that status. In the last four years, there hasn’t been a shortage of award-winning new cuisinebarsfood trucks and even distilleries. Add to that a slew of food and drink festivals, and you’ve got a city that thrives on keeping bellies full.

“Best of” is something we’ve become familiar with

Vancouver’s always had a pretty comfy spot on the top of “Best of” lists. That certainly hasn’t slowed down since we hosted the Olympics. Some of the recognition we’ve received over the last few years from prestigious outlets  include Best City in the Americas by Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards, World’s Most Liveable City by the Economist Intelligence Unit, and Top Canadian Destination by Travel Weekly magazine.  All things we already knew, but hey, we’ll gladly take it.

Photo: adrian8_8 via Flickr, creative commons

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This Saturday, Grouse Mountain is hosting its annual 24 Hours of Winter all-nighter that has guests snowboarding, skiing, and dancing the night away until the sun rises the next morning.

Back for its 4th consecutive year since its introduction during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, 24 Hours of Winter is a unique Vancouver event that runs from Saturday evening until Sunday morning (February 8-9, 2014) with skiing, snowboarding, dining, and plenty of family-fun activities!

 

While our Canadian Athletes battle it out at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, gather at the Peak of Vancouver to rally in support and enjoy a few fun activities while you’re at it, including:

  • After Dark Party (8pm – 4am Saturday night) DJ Flipout and Zak Santiago spinning your favourite tracks throughout the night.
  • Torch Parade (9pm Saturday night) skiers carving their way down the mountain with glow sticks, illuminating the night and offering an amazing spectacle for those below.
  • Park Jam (11pm Saturday to 1am Sunday) for both skiers and snowboarders to have fun and win prizes.
  • Snowshoe Grind Challenge (10am Sunday) that will take competitive snowshoers on a trek through the Snowshoe Grand or the Blue Grouse Loop, with an apres celebration.
  • Junior Pond Hockey Tournament (Saturday/Sunday) Cheer on these young local hockey dynamos as they represent the countries competing at the Sochi Winter Olympic Games.24 Hours of Winter Vancouver 2014
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Where can you see Bill Gates, astronaut Chris Hadfield, Sting, tech visionary Nicholas Negroponte and an ensemble of intellectuals, pop culture icons and game-changers all on the same stage?

TED2014 in Vancouver, of course.

The lineup for TED2014, the first instalment of the wildly popular conference to be held outside of California, has just been announced.  TED – which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design – premiered 30 years ago and has since become a global phenomenon.  At its heart are brainy, 18-minute mini lectures, delivered by some of the world’s smartest people on just about every topic under the sun.  (To date, TED talks have attracted more than 1-billion views online.)

This is the first of at least two consecutive years that TED will be held in Vancouver, at a special auditorium constructed inside the Vancouver Conference Centre.  If you’re hoping to score tickets to the March 17-March 21 shindig, however, you may be out of luck.  Just 1,200 seats are available and they’re going for $7,500 a pop.  Not to mention, before you even think about buying, you first have to submit a written application explaining why you deserve to attend.

But there’s always YouTube.  The five-day Vancouver conference, titled The Next Chapter, is organized around a series of broad overarching topic areas.  Speakers are grouped into themes ranging from Retrospect to Reshape, Wish, Wired, Hacked, Passion, Unstress, and more.  Here’s a look at the complete lineup at this year’s TED:

Session 1: Liftoff (Monday, March 17)

  • Nicholas Negroponte – MIT tech visionary
  • Chris Hadfield – Canadian astronaut
  • Geena Rocero – model and activist
  • A to-be-named education reformer

Session 2: Retrospect (Tuesday, March 18)

  • Bran Ferren – technology designer
  • Marc Kushner – architect
  • Raspyni Brothers – jugglers
  • Yoruba Richen – documentary filmmaker
  • Mark Ronson – music producer and DJ

Session 3: Reshape (Tuesday, March 18)

  • Michel Laberge – fusion scientist
  • Amanda Burden – New York City’s urban planner
  • David Kwong – cruciverbalist
  • Matthew Carter – type designer

Session 4: Wish (Tuesday, March 18)

  • Bill Gates – philanthropist
  • Melinda Gates – philanthropist
  • Gavin Schmidt – climate scientist
  • Zak Ebrahim – peace activist
  • Sting – singer, actor, author

Session 5: Us (Wednesday, March 19)

  • Nancy Kanwisher – brain researcher
  • Rob Knight – microbial ecologist
  • David Epstein – sports science reporter
  • Jon Mooallem – writer

Session 6: Wired (Wednesday, March 19)

  • Chris Kluwe – punter and author
  • Margaret Gould Stewart – user experience master
  • Randall Munroe – cartoonist
  • Avi Reichental – 3D printer

Session 7: Why (Wednesday, March 19)

  • Jason Webley – musician
  • Wendy Chung – geneticist
  • Helder Guimaraes – magician
  • Hugh Herr – prostheticist
  • Allan Adams – theoretical physicist
  • Jim Holt – writer and philosopher

Session 8: Hacked  (Thursday, March 20)

  • Keren Elazari – cybersecurity expert
  • David Chalmers – philosopher
  • Marco Tempest – techno-illusionist
  • Ed Yong – science writer

Session 9: Emergent (Thursday, March 20)

  • Deborah Gordon – ecologist
  • Sara Lewis – firefly specialist
  • Del Harvey – security maven
  • Will Marshall – space scientist
  • Andrew Connolly – astronomer

Session 10: Passion (Thursday, March 20)

  • Mellody Hobson – investment expert
  • Masarat Daud – rural education campaigner
  • Ben Saunders – Arctic explorer

Session 11: Unstress (Friday, March 21)

  • Simon Sinek – leadership expert
  • Jennifer Senior -writer
  • Sarah Jones – polymorphic playwright
  • Kevin Briggs – Golden Gate guardian

Session 12: Onward  (Friday, March 21)

  • Joi Ito – relentless mind
  • Andrew Solomon – writer
  • Julia Sweeney – actor, comedian, playwright
  • Photo credit: pixbymaia | Flickr
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Love outlet shopping but hate that long trip to Seattle Premium Outlets in Washington?

You may be in luck.  Construction is now underway on B.C.’s first luxury outlet mall … and it happens to be conveniently located along the Canada Line.

The mall is situated on a parcel of land owned by Vancouver International Airport, next to the Templeton SkyTrain Station on Richmond’s Sea Island, according to an article in the Vancouver Sun. Plans call for 100 stores in an initial phase, ultimately growing to 35,000 square feet of retail space.

The layout will be familiar to anyone with outlet shopping experience.  The mall is designed as a kind of open-air village, with pedestrian-only streets linking up different stores. It will be a partnership between the U.K.’s McArthurGlen Group and the Vancouver Airport Authority.

As for the proposed name for the new complex, it’s a bit of a mouthful: McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Centre Vancouver Airport. (Here’s hoping they come up with a catchier name than that. Maybe a crowd-sourced contest is in order?)

But now onto the important stuff: Which luxury stores are going to set up shop in the new outlets?

The official list of tenants hasn’t been announced yet.  But we can infer a few possibilities by looking at McArthurGlen Group’s existing European outlets.  Brands across the pond include such familiar high-end designers as Gucci, Boss, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Prada, Armani, Michael Kors and Salvatore Ferragamo.

It’s hoped that the outlets will turn a relatively undeveloped section of Richmond’s Sea Island into an international shopping destination, frequented by international travellers going to and from Vancouver’s airport. Because the mall is a joint venture with the airport, revenue from the project will flow back to YVR.  Around 1,000 jobs are also expected to be created.

Outlet shoppers will have to be a bit patient, however.  Opening for the new McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Centre Vancouver Airport is scheduled for spring 2015.

A McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Centre, like this one in Athens, Greece, is coming to Vancouver.  Photo credit: Tilemahos Efthimiadis | Flickr

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