Friday, July 30, 2010


Until September 6The Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia has brought a new First Nations experience to downtown Vancouver’s Stanley Park, transforming a section of the park into Klahowya Village and the park’s miniature train into the "Spirit Catcher" train experience. "Klahowya" is a common and universal greeting that means ‘welcome,’ ‘how are you?’ or ‘goodbye’ in the Chinook Jargon of the Pacific Northwest. Attractions in Klahowya Village include a 40-foot teepee; a traditional canoe carving area (where a 20-foot canoe is being carved in the traditional Coast Salish style); a stage featuring daily Aboriginal performers (live dancing at noon, 2pm and 4pm); an artisan village with live demonstrations such as weaving and carving; a totem and sculpture park; and a food concession that includes Aboriginal fare such as BBQ salmon, bannock, pemmican and soapberry beverages. Admission to Klahowya Village is free, with the Spirit Catcher train costing just $11 for adults and $7 for children. The village will be open for visitors until September 6 with plans to be open again next summer.

This summer, The Fish House in Stanley Park is offering a special three-course Aboriginal-inspired "Klahowya Menu" in honour of the new Klahowya Village. Priced at $48 for three courses, the menu pays homage to the ingredients and cooking techniques used by the native peoples of this region. The menu, offered until September 6, includes a cold-smoked bison carpaccio appetizer (with mountain cranberry compote and pickled milkweed pods), a cedar-planked wild sockeye salmon main dish, and an elderberry swirl cheesecake for dessert. The meal can be paired with wines from British Columbia’s Nk’Mip Cellars, North America’s first Aboriginal owned and operated winery.
Thanks to the City of Vancouver’s street food pilot program (running July 31, 2010 to April 30, 2011), 17 new food-vending locations and concepts have been announced for Vancouver’s streets. The city received close to 800 applications with food offerings from an estimated 21 countries and cultural backgrounds. "We’ve got a world-class city and people want a world-class street food scene to match," said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. "As we head into the heart of the summer season and welcome visitors to Vancouver, our city will be more alive and inviting with the new foods vendors will bring to our streets," Mayor Robertson added. The city’s plan stipulates that vendors should begin operations by July 31, menu offerings should be nutritional and healthy, and vendors should have a plan to manage waste. While not all details are confirmed, options may include a dim sum cart, burritos, Southern BBQ and Korean food.
Five new bee hives have been created by the students of Emily Carr University of Art & Design and Capilano University’s IDEA Program for the 400,000 honeybees that reside in the Fairmont Waterfront’s rooftop garden. The art hives are entitled: Bee Dance (incorporating Coast Salish style and reminiscent of a ritual bee dance); Hive Amber (with an original concept of encasing a bee motif in amber); A Bee’s Experience (designed to echo an Emily Dickinson poem, an apple tree and the artist’s concept of the existence of bees); Flight of the Bumblebee (inspired by the intricate flight path of bees); and Beauty and the Bees (a creative take on a garden theme with bright florals). The Fairmont Waterfront anticipates over 600 pounds of honey will be produced by their bees for the 2010 season. Unlike many parts of the world where "colony collapse disorder" is a concern, the hotel’s resident bees are thriving. Guests of the hotel are invited to join weekly garden and hive tours conducted by the hotel’s director of housekeeping and resident beekeeper, Graeme Evans. The hotel’s rooftop garden has over 60 varieties of herbs, edible blooms, fruits and vegetables, and the hotel’s executive chef, Patrick Dore, harvests the fresh produce and honey for use in the hotel’s restaurant and bar. Guests can book a "Birds and the Bees" package that includes one night, breakfast, a honey-themed welcome amenity and a personalized herb garden/beehive tour. Package starts at $269, based on double occupancy.
National Geographic has named Vancouver in their "Top 10 Beach Cities" list. According to the magazine’s website, "Canada's most adventurous metropolis [Vancouver] is home to 10 beaches, from the family centric Jericho to the clothing-optional Wreck Beach, many of which offer commanding views of the Vancouver skyline and majestic North Shore Mountains." The magazine ranked Vancouver 10th after Barcelona, Cape Town, Honolulu, Nice, Miami, Rio, Santa Monica, Sydney and Tel Aviv.
British Columbia is blessed with an abundance of locally grown and produced fruit, vegetables, honey, meats, seafood, mushrooms, wine and craft beer. Local chefs, farmers, artisans and diners all value the importance of celebrating this local bounty. The following three festivals are just a sample of culinary events held during the harvest season.Lower Mainland Feast of Fields – August 29Feast of Fields is a gourmet wandering harvest festival and fundraiser that highlights the connection between farm folk, city folk and chefs. With wine glass and linen napkin in hand, visitors roam the farm sampling the best of British Columbia from chefs, vintners, brewers, farmers and food artisans from around the province. Tickets are $85 and must be purchased in advance (proceeds go towards the Farm Folk/City Folk Society). The event will be held at Wellbrook Winery on Bremner Farm in Delta from 1pm to 5pm.
Fort Langley Cranberry Festival – October 9Did you know that British Columbia is the third largest producer of cranberries in the world? The village of Fort Langley hosts the annual Cranberry Festival featuring cranberry vendors, live music, entertainment, prizes, a pancake breakfast, food vendors, a market, and a canoe regatta on the Bedford Channel. The festival is a free community event and is attended by approximately 15,000 to 20,000 visitors each year.
UBC Apple Festival – October 16 and 17The UBC Apple Festival celebrates one of British Columbia’s favourite fruits. Held at the University of British Columbia’s Botanical Garden each October, this is a family event for all ages. With many heritage, new, and "tried and true" varieties available, one of the most popular activities at the festival is apple tasting. For a $3 tasting fee, you can taste up to 60 varieties of apples, such as "Grimes Golden" and "Ambrosia". There are also demonstrations of grafting and cider-pressing, a children’s corner and the chance to enjoy apple pie, cider and other apple treats. Entrance fee is $2 for adults and free for anyone under 12.
September 9 to 19; September 23 to 26 (Pick of the Fringe)Most performances at the Vancouver International Fringe Festival are anything but mainstream. More than 80 groups from around the world present 600 shows over 11 days on a variety of indoor and outdoor stages (most of the venues are on Granville Island; however the festival takes over interteresting venues all around the city). The big attraction is that few, if any, of these works will make it to the big stages in town, so it’s best to get out and see them while you can. Following the main festival, catch the "Pick of the Fringe" from September 23 to 26 on Granville Island, a round-up of the festival’s most popular acts.
September 30 to October 15Both in terms of admissions and number of films screened (149,135 and 379 respectively in 2009), the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) is one of the five largest film festivals in North America. VIFF screens films from 80 countries on 10 screens at four Vancouver theatres. The international line-up includes the pick of the world’s top film festivals and many undiscovered gems. There are three main things that make Vancouver’s film festival unique: 1) the largest selection of East Asian films outside of that region; 2) one of the biggest showcases of Canadian film in the world; and 3) a large and important non-fiction program (42 per cent of feature films were documentaries in 2009). Attracting a large, attentive and enthusiastic audience of film lovers, the festival remains accessible, friendly and culturally diverse. The full program will be available online as of September 12.

It feels more like an island retreat than a big city suburb. The tiny community of Deep Cove, built along the rugged shores of a Pacific Ocean inlet, is only a 30-minute drive from downtown Vancouver. In that short drive, however, a cityscape of high-rises and busy streets gives way to snow-capped mountains, glacial fjords and a pristine and largely untouched wilderness.The town of Deep Cove itself is little more than a picturesque Main Street – complete with ice cream parlours and fish ‘n’ chips shops – and a small cluster of surrounding homes and apartments. The big draw is the waterfront. Main Street dead-ends at a grassy complex of parks bordering the calm blue waters of Indian Arm, a fjord that extends more than 20 kilometres into the Coast Mountains.Surrounding the small downtown are thousands of hectares of alpine forest, spilling down from mountain peaks to the shores of Indian Arm. Several trails wind their way into the wilderness, including a branch of British Columbia’s famous Baden-Powell trail that starts near town and climbs to a lookout point known as Quarry Rock. The hike takes 1.5 hours round-trip and offers stunning views.Another way to explore the area is by boat. Deep Cove Canoe and Kayak offers rentals by the hour or day, as well as lessons and guided tours. Out on the water, you can see seals, uninhabited islands, towering waterfalls spilling from the cliffs along the shore, and colonies of translucent jellyfish. Paddling up to a raging river, surrounded by nothing but pines, it’s hard to believe you’re a mere 13 kilometres from the city.


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