May 30, 2017
World's Most Insane Dream Homes - The Hearst Mansion
This Beverly Hills mansion is one of the most expensive residential properties in the U.S. The former home of US newpaper tycoon, William Randolph Hearst, has 29 bedrooms, 3 swimming pools, tennis courts, its own cinema and a nightclub. The property has been decorated with statues brought north from his famous 'Hearst Castle' in San Simeon which is a National Historic Landmark. Mr. Hearst bought the H-shaped mansion in 1947 for about $120,000. In 1976 it was sold for $165 million and it currently sold for about $195 million. President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy vacationed at the home as part of their honeymoon and the home was featured in the movie 'The Godfather'. The home has also seen some notable neighbours such as Tom Cruise and David and Victoria Beckham.
May 29, 2017
Let it Beard! The competition is on.
With the tagline " With Great Facial Hair Comes Great Responsibility," it's obvious that the Vancouver Facial Hair Club takes its role seriously.
On June 3rd, the club hosts its 3rd annual Facial Hair Competition in support of Men's Mental Health Awareness.
Designed to raise funds that awareness for men's mental health initiative, all proceeds from the Gastown event will benefit the Vancouver based organization HeadsUpGuys, while bringing together some of the city's most prolific facial hair aficionados. They will compete in 12 catagories, ranging from best beard of 12 inches to build a beard. Open to both men and women, the latter category invites participants to craft their own fake beard.
Putting the whole thing together is the Vancouver Facial Hair Club, founded by Garrett Resler in 2013, the club's mandate includes promoting a positive image for facial hair, and fostering a sense of community among growers and beard enthusiasts.
The Facial Competition takes place on Saturday, June 3rd at 4pm, at the Lamplighter Public House in Gastown. Spectator tickets are $10 at the door, along with competitor tickets for $20.
May 25, 2017
What are the plans for Granville Island?
Maybe an elevator that would drop pedestrians from the middle of the Granville Street Bridge into the heart of Granville Island. The plan, which was released a couple of days ago by CMHC is the result of a 18 month project to explore ideas on improving accessibility, creating a market district, developing a more vibrant arts and innovation sector and enhancing the public spaces on Granville Island.
The elevator would become a destination in itself, attracting new visitors to Granville Island. It would also lower the 'effective distance' to the Island for approximately 250,000 local downtown residents. The elevetor would greatly increase the residents chances of using Granville Island for food and convenience shopping as well as restaurants, theatres and other amenities.
The elevetor proposal would also include a staircase and an elevated cycle and pedestrian greenway in the central 2 lanes of the 8 lane Granville Street Bridge.
Other ideas include building a pedestrian and cycling bridge across Alder Bay on the eastern part of Granville Island, expanding the Public Market to create space for new food stalls and public amenities, establishing a new arts and innovation hub at the vacant Emily Carr University of Art & Design and creating a central plaza at the heart of the island.
CMHC who has managed Granville Island on behalf of the federal government since its redevelopment in 1973, would like to see a decrease in private automobile traffic and parking and restore the pedetrian friendly public spaces on Granville Island. The single largest use on the island is now vehicular circulation and parking, which occupies over a 25% of current land use. What would you like to see happen on Granville Island?
May 24, 2017
Tiny homes for Vancouver?
Could you live in a portable home the size of a parking spot? That simple lifestyle was on display outside Science World this past weekend as tiny home advocates tried to sell their plan for housing affordability across B.C.
One woman was heard to say, "they're actually amazingly spacious", while another said, "It's addressing something people are kind of longing for, something sort of managable, small, elegant and more handmade".
Minimalist living is not for everyone, as one man explained, "It looks like a storage shed from Canadian Tire".
The BC Tiny House Collective was founded in 2016 to ignite a cultural shift towards tiny living across B.C.
A tiny house is defined as a sustainable and mobile housing unit, smaller then 500 square feet and includes a kitchen, washroom and sleeping area. Some of the small living spaces can be built for under $100,000 but they're currently illegal in Vancouver.
This past March, the city announced that it is looking to reset its housing strategy to better address the affordability crunch. The mayor said, "We need big moves to get the right supply of housing that meet peoples' needs and incomes...All options are on the table to keep Vancouver liveable, inclusive and affordable now and for many years to come".
Tiny house advocates are researching city bylaws and zoning to see if changes could help legalize small and mobile living spaces.
The Housing Reset's emerging direction are going to public consultation and will inform the final housing strategy being reported back to council in July.
May 24, 2017
Generosity impacts your physical and mental health - be generous
Your physical health impacts your mental health and your mental health impacts your physical health. The interaction between the mind and the body is so pervasive, it's difficult to say which one is influencing which. It's all connected and it's all important. Take care of your mind, your body and your spirit.
When you are generous to your body, you nourish it with physical activity, good foods, fresh water and sleep. This will give you the energy you need to meet life's daily challenges.
When you are generous to your mind, you care for your mental and emotional health so you feel less stress, more peacfullness and experience greater focus.
When you are generous to your spirit, you connect with yourself and others in meaningful ways.
BE GENEROUS - you deserve it!
May 23, 2017
Vancouver's high real estate prices even effecting Chilliwack
Not too many people commute to Vancouver from Chilliwack, but that doesn't mean the skyrocketing homes prices in the Lower Mainland hasn't had an effect out there.
This spill over means home price fluctuations in Vancouver have an effect on neighbouring municipalities, but even communities that do not include commuters to Vancouver.
This is all according to a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) report issued last week that addressed the 'spill-over effect'
None of this should be surprising to those who have witnesssed the out migration from Vancouver to the suburbs, and that includes to the most affordable real estate board area in the Lower Mainland, namely Chilliwack. But prices are rising.
Over the first 4 months this year, the average sale price of a home in Chilliwack was $439,000, up 16.3% from the $378,089 over the same period last year.
That price jump was the highest of the 12 BC real estate boards. That compares to a 6.5% increase in price to $657,015 in the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (Abbotsford to Surrey) and an 8.8% in the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board, by far the largest market in the province.
May 18, 2017
Meet the Minions from Despicable Me 3!
Jerry and Dave, the lovable Minions are travelling to Vancouver to promote their latest movie and you're invited to join them. The Minions will bounce around several different venues in Vancouver and Richmond over the Canada Day weekend, and are happy to pose for photos and engage in all kinds of silliness. Drop by to say hi then gear up for their epic new adventure which hits the theatres on June 30.
July 1st - meet the Minions at the Salmon Festival in Richmond: Since 1945, the people of Steveston have come together annually to celebrate Canada's birthday, an event that attracts more than 70,000 people - and this year that number will increase to include 2 Minions.
July 2nd - meet the Minions at Canada Place in Vancouver: The largest Canada Day celebration outside our nations capital. This year the celebration has been expanded to 3 days and new events, exhibits and performances - and of course 2 dancing Minions.
July 3rd - meet the Minions at Playland in Vancouver: The most popular attractions at the PNE. Join the Minions here, and spend the day exploring Playlands 3 new rides, dozens of attractions an endless array of food carts and carnival games.
May 17, 2017
New Passenger Ferry between Vancouver and Victoria
V2V Vacations is a brand new, direct, passenger ferry between 2 of Canada's premium harbour cities - downtown Vancouver and downtown Victoria. The passenger-only service aboard the V2V Empress is set to launch this month and will travel once per day between the 2 cities.
In Vancouver, the boat will dock at the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre and in Victoria it will dock at the iconic Steamship Terminal Building on the Inner Harbour. The arrival and departure designations are loated near key hotels, restaurants, parks, shopping, museums, tour bus services and local attractions. Overnight mooring of the vessel will be in Vancouver and the Vessel will be available for hosted evening events, receptions, meetings and pre/post conference functions.
Fast facts about the V2V passenger ferry:
- The V2V Empress is a high-speed passenger catamaran with a capacity to hold 300.
- It will be a 3-hour journey between the cities, departing from Vancouver early morning and returning from Victoria early afternoon.
- The on-board menu will feature local food and beverages available for purchase with additional specialty products profiled which will provide customers with a “Taste of B.C.”
- V2V Vacations will offer a higher level of service by offering the feature of pre-booked seats for guests.
- The vessel will be able to accommodate guests traveling with luggage.
- Passengers will be able to access the internet on-board as well as movies, videos and educational content profiling the diverse wildlife that makes the BC coast unique.
- A concierge service will be available on board during the voyage.
- The V2V Empress will be equipped with a ride-control system to increase ride stability during rough sea conditions.
- Vessel will be fully handicapped accessible/ barrier free.
- One-way fares will cost $120, $199 and $240 (depending on the level of service).
- First Nations artist Billy Cook designed the Orca which is displayed on both sides of the vessel.
May 16, 2017
Cambie Street Bridge turned into a Projection Screen!
Each year, thousands of visitors come from all over the world to experience the wonder that is a B.C. salmon run.
This summer, we won't even have to leave the city to see this natural phenomenon.
Beginning June 23rd and running until late September, 5 nights a week, digital imagery of migrating Pacific salmon will be projected on the undersurface of the kilometre long Cambie Bridge. The installation "brings the heart of the BC river right into the heart of the city", as the media release puts it.
Viewing is from Coopers' Park / Marinaside Crescent at the north end of the bridge, for a standing capacity of 800 people. It's free and family friendly, and there is an accessibility viewing area.
'Uninterrupted' runs Tuesday - Saturday (except during Celebration of Light fireworks) and starts at 10pm and then, beginning August 15, at 9pm. Each projection lasts 25 minutes, with original score (no narration).
A companion website at uninterrupted will extend the experience by connecting site visitors with stories of people working to restore salmon habitat, places to see salmon in the wild, and ways to get involved.
Vancouver filmmaker, Nettie Wild, was inspired to do the project by a visit to the Adams River during a peak salmon run. Joining Nettie on the project are producers Betsy Carson and Rae Hull, who have earned international accolades for their innovative work in media.
May 15, 2017
Save time at YVR thanks to new primary inspection kiosks
Filling in paper customs declaration cards before landing is now a thing of the past for international passengers bound for Vancouver.
As of this past April, international travellers arriving at YVR will use one of 90 new Primary Inspection Kiosks (PIK) in the YVR customs hall to scan their travel documents, take their photo and complete an on-screen declaration before seeing an officer. This is part of the Canadian Border Service Agency's decision to modernize Canadian borders.
Or, for an even speedier entry process, travellers can complete their declaration on the new CanBorder-eDeclaration smartphone app and scan their quick response (QR) code at a kiosk.
Primary Inspection Kiosks will improve border security while streamlining service and reducing wait times at Canada's busiest airports. To learn more watch the video here.
May 11, 2017
Is a minority government going to be good for real estate in BC?
Do you think that a minority government in BC might not be a bad thing?
Will this opportunity force all three parties to make a concerted effort to improve the supply of all forms of housing, just because that's what voters want?
Even though this minority government will likely be short lived, like most, they are going to have to look at how to go about getting re-elected to a majority.
This may also be what will influence the housing policy moving forward over the next short period of time.
Maybe now the provincial government will lead the discussion with municipalities and the federal government to take real action on housing supply.
There should be a real concerted effort on the part of our provincial government to lead the discussion in this area, to bring the municipaliities to the table, to include the federal government with overall policy. Well here's hoping!
May 10, 2017
All aboard! It's time to ride the miniature trains at Burnaby Central Railway
If you have never made it out to Confederation Park to ride trains with the Burnaby Central Railway Association, you will have to check it out.
And if you are brave enough, it is worth going on a grey/rainy day. The crowds are non-existent and the kind engineers tend to give extra long rides as there is no line-up of waiting guests.
At Confederation Park you will find over 2km of tracks with 70 switches combined with an ever changing selection of locomotives which guarantee a new adventure everytime you visit. The trains are 1/8 scale, which in layman's terms means big enough for kids and adults to ride on. The tracks wind through a 7 acre plot of land which has been landscaped to entertain kids. Around every corner and tucked in amongst the grass and trees are little critters: Mickey Mouse, a parrot, a family of geese, Humpty Dumpty, turtles and more. The tracks wind through tunnels and over bridges.
Burnaby Central Railway is celebrating their 20th year at Confederation Park; they were at Burnaby Heritage Village for 17 years before that. The actual club is 85 years old.
Visiting the model trains is free, riding the big trains cost $2.50 per ride for anyone over the age of 3. There is a package deal for $25. which gets you 12 rides. The rides are generally 10 minutes in length. There are cover and uncovered picnic tables so you can make a day of it. The trains run from 11am to 5pm Saturdays, Sunday & holidays until Thanksgiving.
May 9, 2017
Our new mortgage rules have hit the wrong parts of Canada
Oops! It seems the federal Liberals' tougher new mortgage rules, meant to cool down Canada's more overheated housing markets, seemed to be having little impact.
And to the extent that they did impact the markets, they seem to have impacted the wrong ones.
Sales have fallen in many areas that already had the weakest economies and weakest housing markets in the country. While the rules introduced last October were meant to cool off Vancouver and Toronto with little effect, it appears that Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and Saskatchewan all saw home sales fall in the 7 months following the new rules.
B.C. saw the largest decline in sales, down 21.5%, but Greater Vancouver's housing market was already in the midst of a slowdown when the rules were announced, and Toronto's market has taken off.
May 8, 2017
The first North American location of L'Eclair de Genie - Vancouver
Imagine sinking your teeth into a crisp puff pastry - freshly baked, oozing with a sweet custard and topped with crunchy caramelized pecans and vanilla cream. As the flavours hit your taste buds, you can taste its authenticity, as though you're enjoying your confection in a patisserie in Paris - the birthplace of the coveted eclair.
Well, you don't have to travel to France to make this foodie fantasy a reality. Thanks to the recent opening of the very first North American location of L'Eclair de Genie - the haute Parisian-based patisserie which has just opened its doors in Vancouver.
A visit to Vancouver wouldn't be complete without a stroll along Robson Street, Vancouver's premier fashion destination. Now the promise of a sweet treat will energise your walking and window shopping as you approach the new shop.
While 257 kinds of eclairs have been created by L'Eclair de Genie, only 10 will be available at the new Vancouver shop to start, with 2 new flavours introduced each month.
May 4, 2017
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo this weekend!
iDos cervezas, por favor! The mariachi bands are warming up and the Luchador wrestlers are flexing their muscles to get ready for this weekend's Cinco de mayo at the Casa de Amigos fiesta in Vancouver. On Friday, May 5th and Saturday May 6th, you're invited to take part in the largest outdoor party to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Vancouver.
Whatever your tastes, there's something for everyone at this year's event, including a street market, live music, traditional folk dancers, Luchador wrestlers and more. The event is also fully licensed, so you can celebrate with your favourite cerveza.
It all takes place at Robson Square from 5pm -11pm on Friday and 3pm - 11pm on Saturday. Tickets start at $18.95.
May 3, 2017
Plan a 'Jane's Walk' for your area
From May 5th to 7th, you are invited to lead a free Jane's Walk in the area you live, work or play in to discuss matters important to you. Anyone can lead a walking tour! Through the simple act of walking in a group and chatting about your neighbourhood, Jane's Walks integrate people into strong and resourceful communities. The globally celebrated festival is inspired by urbanist and author, Jane Jacobs, who believed in walkable neighbourhoods, urban literacy and cities planned for the people.
Since a Janes' Walk is meant to be a 'walking conversation' about neighbourhoods and how people use cities, the choice of conversation and places you choose to visit are really up to you! Past tours have highlighted everything from community gardens and publc art works to archeological sites and historic homes.
Here are a few simple steps to get started:
Choose a topic of discussion
Plan out your walking route
Enter your walk on janeswalk.org
Spread the word to your social network.
Walks typically run for 1.5 hours with anywhere from 6 to 10 stops along the way. When planning your walk, keep accessibility in mind, such as transit, public washrooms and parking. The website has a number of walking tips to help you plan your walk. Good luck and have fun!!
May 2, 2017
Richmond is getting a new Illumination Summer Night Market
The summer is looking a lot brighter in Richmond this year with the introduction of the new "Illumination Market" that will replace last year's Panda Market. The Illumination Night Market will feature the first ever, largest summer lighting show in North America with 9 different themes, copious lanterns and unprecedented scale. Various exquisite dazzling lanterns will be displayed throughout the market, weaving a colourful sparkling world.
The new market will debut this Friday, May 5th, marking the start of night market season in Vancouver! The Illumination Night Market will be held behind Home Depot, just west of Knight Street Bridge in Richmond. For the first weekend, May 5-7, you can enjoy free admission to experience the new market for yourself.
The market will run from May 5th to September 10th, Friday and Saturdays from 7pm to midnight, Sundays from 7pm to 11pm and long weekends from 7pm to midnight. $3.00 general admission.
May 1, 2017
Westcoast Motorcycle Ride to Live
Help fight prostate cancer by taking part in the Westcoast Motorcycle Ride to Live on May 28th in support of the Prostate Cancer Foundation BC. Riders will start at Trev Deeley's in Vancouver, head out on a scenic 2 hour poker ride, then come together for a big end celebration at the Univeristy of the Fraser Valley - King Road Campus in Abbotsford.
This will include a BBQ lunch, Classic Car Show & Shine, live music and other entertainment - non riders are welcome to join in! All funds raised through the ride will support prostate cancer research and education in BC, and help provide resources, mentorship and support to those living with the disease.