Vanier Park is the home to 3 major museums: the Museum of Vancouver, H. R. MacMillan Space Centre and the Vancouver Maritime Museum.  It also hosts the annual Bard on the Beach Shakespeare fest and is home to the City of Vancouver Archives and the Vancouver Acadamy of Music.

And this Family Day Weekend you can visit all 6 of these Vancouver attractions for just $5.  Winter Wander returns on February 7 from 10am to 5pm.  Pick up your ticket at the Museum of Vancouver, Space Centre or Maritime Museum and you're free to explore all that Vanier Park has to offer.  You can also take in some live performances by the Vancouver Academy of Music students and the Bard on the Beach's Young Shakespeareans.  A terriffic value for what should be a lot of fun!

Photo credit: popejon2 | Wikimedia Commons

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Would you like a vending machine in your complex lobby where you could go and get your eggs, milk and fresh fruit?  Starting this month we will start to see specialized vending machines make an appearanc in some select Vancouver high-rises.  These futuristic machines will be installed by a local company called Happy Vending and their aim is to provide condo dwellers with some basic groceries, from breakfast staples like bacon and eggs to personal items such as diapers and Band-Aids.

These machines are capabale of carrying from 50-70 items and are meant to function as a mini convenience store, sparing patrons a trip to an actual store.  The machines are paired with a special smartphone app that allows bulding residents to instantly see the inventory, prices and expiration dates of items being offered.  The machines are also equipped with an elevator mechanism so that fragile items such as eggs get a soft landing when dispensed.

Happy Vending is hoping to expand form its 2 pilot buildings whose locations have not yet been disclosed, and install more machines in Vancouver and across Canada.  Will one of these machines be coming to a building near you?  To be financially viable, the machines should be installed in buiildings with at least 250 residents.  Interesting idea?? Let's see if it catches on.

Photo sourced from Happy Vending

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A local Vancouver history buff has recently put together a very interesting website which shows the dramatic differences that many locations have undergone in the Vancouver area.   It shows you how we have come form virgin forests to high-rises in just 130 years.  This fascinating website called On The Spot feature a 5 part 'Then and Now' series looking at the history of Downtown Vancouver and some of the surrounding areas.  You will be able to view historical photos from the Vancouver Archives and see them transposed to the exact same location in present day. Check out the caption that follow a photo of the intersection of Cordova, Richards, and Water Streets in Gastown. Very interesting.  

Vancouver archives granville street

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Ten Ten Tapas, a tapas restaurant located on the False Creek Seawall near the Burrard Street Bridge is inviting area residents in for a free monthly made-from-scratch meal.   The monthly lunches, which have been held twice so far attract appoximately 50 people.  The most recent meal consisted of grilled cheese sandwich made on homemade sourdough bread and struffed with asiago, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, paired wtih a choice of mushroom or tomato soups or seafood chowder.  The logistics are handle by the non-profit Gathering Place, a community centre near Yaletown that serves the local population.  What a creative way to feed the cit'y's homeless and low-income population.  Wouldn't it be great if other restaurants rose to this challenge.  Vancouver is a great place to live - for eveybody!

Photo sourced from Tourism Vancouver

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Anyone that knows me, knows that I love my tea - especially Earl Grey Tea.  You have heard of  wine-pairing dinners, beer-pairing dinners or even whisky-pairing dinners. Well have you ever tried and entire 8 course meal paired with tea??  The Urban Tea Merchant is offering something unique for this year's Dine Out Festival and is open later for 6 evenings to offer you a Tea Gastronomy Experience. Sounds like a a great idea.  Might have to try this one.

Dine Out Vancouver, Tea Gastronomy

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The pursuit of cheese stretches back thousands of years where apparently the first cheese was created via sheer happenstance, the product of an Arabian merchant who stored his milk in a sheep's stomach, only to find days later that the milk had separated into curds and whey.  The oldest recorded cheese making enters the record books around 7500 years ago, from archaeological remains found in an ancient cattle-rearing village in what is now Poland.  The Romans spread the concept of cheesemaking north to Europe, where the practice flourished under the watchful eye of monks.  Today there are some 1400 varieties of chees in the world.

Did you know that 4% of the world's cheese is stolen each year, making cheese the number one stolen food item on Earth. Let's celebrate National Cheese Lover's Day.  Enjoy!!!

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The Northwest Comedy Festival is back from February 12th to the 21st at various venues around town.  This year the Festival boasts a stellar line up, including former talk show host Craig Ferguson, the controversial Hannabal Curess and the twisted Maria Bamford and many more.

New to the festival this year organizers have partnered with the Vancouver International Film Festival to present a series of films at Vancity Theatre, including a tribute to Robin Williams. 

Other notable interests this year include a special edition of Paul Anthon'y's Talent Time, Vancouver's favorite local live variety show, at the Rio Theatre on Feb 12 as well as Comedyfest Society events.

So stay up to date, or to buy your tickets to one of the already announced shows check out the Northwestcomedyfest website.  Enjoy!

Comedian Ali Wong.

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Yes, that's right. Vancouver is hosting Canada's largest Gluten Free Expo this weekend.  As interest has skyrocketed in the glutenfree lifestyle in the past few years, and more and more products have been developed, some of which even taste good you might want to try some of them for yourself.

This expo started small in 2012 and has grown exponentially since then.   It attracts tens of thousands of people-largely because it offers an opportunity to sample a wide variety of gluten free products.  This year there will be 120 exhibitors on site.

It all takes place at Canada Place this weekend, January 17 and 18 from 10am to 5pm.  For more click here. Enjoy

Hippie Foods will be exhibiting at the Vancouver Gluten Free Expo. Chocolate cashew cookies photo from Hippie Foods website.

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If you are viewing a condo in a building where there are several other units for sale - is this a red flag?  My colleague, Barry Magee with Sutton West Coast Realty recently wrote an interesting article on this subject.  Whenever you are buying a strata, it's very important to be diligent and ask the tough questions.  When there are several units for sale in a building, it does raise some concerns about the health of a complex - but while the is no real rhyme or reason as to why anyone sells at any given time - if 5 listings come up just after the annual general meeting, this can be a sign of trouble.  Finding a suite that you love can be tricky, but making sure you are in a healthy building with a proactive strata council is essential.  Most strata complexes are run well by dilegent owners and this is often the key to a healthy building.  Tackling the issues head on is always better than attempting to avoid them.  A building will almost always pay more in the long rung if issues are avoided.  Be certain to always have a realtor on your side when purchasing a strata - be diligent.

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Tickets are officially on sale for the 37th instalment of the Vancouver International Wine Festival - one of the biggest on the continent and putting Autralia's wines in the spotlight.

It's a 8 day event and comprises of more than 50 separate wined themed events totalling 1750 different wines from around the world.

This year 25,000 wine lovers are expected to attend with the Australian wine enthusiasts in for a special treat.  This year Australia is the 'theme country' which means about 55 Australian wineries from 20 distinct regions will be pouring at various events.   In total you will find more than 220 different Australian wines offered. 

Please click here for full event descriptions and ticket information.  Be safe and have fun.

Photo from Vancouver International Wine Festival

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Reservations are officially open as of 9am this morning for the 2015 Dine Out Vancouver Festival.  This is the biggest restaurant festival in all of Canada with a record 277 restaurants participating.   You will find some of the biggest names in Vancouver' to some ethnic eateries as well as a few brand new restaurants.  A great way to check out some of the city's tops restaurnants without breaking your budget.   See all the dine out menus and make reservations on the Dine Out Website.  Be quick - some of the more popular restaurants can book up fast.  Happy eating!

Image sourced from Dine Out Vancouver Festival

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Tomorrow the list of restaurants paricipating for the 2015 Dine Out Vancouver Festivial will be revealed - then comes the rush to reserve at  some of the hundreds of restaurants offering set menus at $18, $28 and $38 price points from January 16 to February 1.

And if you are in to taking culinary photos  there is an event just for you.  Food-tography: A culinary photography tour which promises to improve your skills no matter what your level = from Smartphone snappers to SLR pro.  And what makes this tour even better is that you get to eat what you shoot along the way.  Sound interesting?  Click here for more info.  Have fun!

Photo credit: Andy Scheffler | Vancouver Photowalks

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There is a lot happening in Vancouver this week - some of the more interesting events might be:

 

#SINGITFWD 2015 (www.singitfwd.com)  which is an Annual charitable concert featuring Canadian acts such as K-OS, Hey Ocean!, and July Talk benefitting the Saint James Music Academy. Tickets are $25 for students and $35 for non students at the Vogue Theatre on Thursday  Jan 8 at 7pm


Vancouver Symphony Orchestra POPs Series is a new side of the VSO with a concert all about melody and soul with great arrangements of songs from Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Neil Diamond and more at the Orpheum on Jan 9th and 10th at 8pm


Vancouver Art Gallery's FORBIDDEN CITY: INSIDE THE COURT OF CHINA'S EMPERORS. with nearly 200 treasured objects from collections of Beijing's  Place Museum on display at the Vancouver Art Gallery to January 11th.


Winter Farmers Market at Nat Bailey Stadium where you can shop locally grown produce and enjoy hot food trucks and live music every Sunday from 10am to 2 pm


Get out and enjoy!!

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