Queen Elizabeth Park is 75 years old!

September 2nd, 2015


Come celebrate Queen Elizabeth Park’s 75th year. Take in a free concert, enjoy our licensed area, free pitch and putt, free admission at the Bloedel Conservatory, $5.00 zipline rides, food trucks, family fun, and much more!

Queen Elizabeth Park
The park itself is located right in the middle of Vancouver and is one of the highest points of the city – the location is affectionately known as ‘Little Mountain’.
Some of the gardens are found to be a in a sunken hollow – this is actually the remnant scarring as the land was once used as a quarry, the rocks that were taken were used to lay down the new road systems for the growing city of Vancouver at the time.

The idea was to transform the ugly scarring of the Quarry into sunken gardens on top of the hill, the growth of plants that had become quite overgrown and not a very good sight to the eye was also transformed to create a larger park for the public to enjoy. The site had been turned over to the Vancouver Park Board for park and recreation purposes, and was dedicated as such by King George VI and his consort, Queen Elizabeth (the mother of Queen Elizabeth II) on their much lauded visit to Vancouver in 1939, as King and Queen of Canada.

Happy 75th Birthday QE
As this is a very big birthday there will be some great events and activities happening in celebration.

Live Music Stage schedule
Beginning at 12:00 noon to 12:30pm with Opening Speeches

12:30pm to 1:30pm Pop Junkies
1:45pm to 2:45pm Hot Panda
3:00pm to 4:15pm Patrick Nazemi
4:30pm to 5:30pm The Zolas
5:45pm to 7:00pm Delhi 2 Dublin

At 2:00pm, 3:30pm, and 5:00pm there will be an aerial show by CircusWest at the fountain plaza.

All day activities from 12:00 noon to 7:00pm with the Stanley Park Brewing licensed area.
$5.00 zipline rides
Free pitch & putt
Free admission at the Bloedel Conservatory
Face painting at the fountain plaza
Photo booth at the fountain plaza
Pickleball at the tennis courts
Free drop-in at the QE lawn bowling club

City of Vancouver QEP: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/queen-elizabeth-park.aspx

Urban Wildlife in Vancouver

August 15th, 2015

Vancouver is highly rated as one of the most stunning cities in the world to visit and it is very hard not to see why. The city is situated in a temperate rainforest that encompasses much of the Pacific Northwest and is greeted by vigorous weather systems that barrel in from the massive Pacific Ocean for 9 months of the year. Due to this and the large mountains that greet the weather Vancouver and Vancouver Island is an area that has incredible dense forests and amazing fauna that is home to some incredible wildlife.

Nature in the city – meet your fellow neighbours!
It is not unusual for a guest to come in from sightseeing and being quite surprised and astonished at some of the animals that they have just spotted in the city – to many of us it is just a normal every day occurrence, however, we really do appreciate and love the diversity of the local flora and fauna that makes up the fabric of the city. So let us introduce to you the local wildlife of Vancouver.

Skunks, Raccoons and Squirrels
These animals are everywhere and are easily spotted all year round but more especially in the Summer months and after nightfall – however, if these creatures are hungry enough you will catch them in the daytime too. It is likely you will see a skunk more regularly than a Raccoon and when you do you will probably see a few as they tend to wander around with their young.
We do not advise that you feed these animals, they are cute but there is always the possibility that they may bite and Skunks are famous for spraying an oily substance that smells like an awful strong stench of Sulphur and marijuana – not a great smell. They are harmless overall though, so if you wish to have a peak of them you can do so but give them their space as they go on their merry way.

There are so many Squirrels here it seems unreal, you will always catch them scurrying around the streets and up the trees – they are pretty tame overall and have really worked out how to live in harmony in the city.

Bald Eagles, Crows and Herons
These birds are by far the most noticeable of all the animals in the city all year round – the Bald Eagles are certainly more noticeable in the Spring and Summer months due to the Fledgling season where they have many options to hunt for food and this can easily be seen when you are out and about in the city. One of the signs that there is a bald eagle not too far above you is when you hear the Seagulls and Crows crying out a warning cry to each other as they are fearlessly protecting their young from being prey, if you hear this commotion look up – it is almost guaranteed that a large bald eagle or other type of Bird of Prey is about to swoop down and feed itself and its own chicks.

Crows are everywhere in Vancouver and they are one of the most respected and revered creatures that many of us have a love hate relationship with. There is a fantastic phenomenon that happens daily in Vancouver which involves thousands of Crows heading to and from their roosting spot in Burnaby. The murder of crows is quite the sight to see and happens at Sunrise and Sunset every day – if you have a keen eye you will spot the spectacular ‘Crow train’.

Check out this Video of the Crows going home: https://youtu.be/IhVdcjyKdSU

The other gorgeously majestic Bird to spot in Vancouver is the Great Blue Heron. The Herons you can find wading in the shallow waters at pretty much any Beach in and around Vancouver and soaring smoothly in the skies above you. For a better sighting of these birds you need to head to Stanley Park near the Tennis courts, here, the Herons have been nesting at this site for quite a few years and there are roughly around 80 nests at top of the trees and the months of April to June are the prime time to catch them rearing their chicks.

For further Animal watching head to the Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park where you can see all the above creatures but lots of Ducks, Canada Geese, Turtles and plenty of people if you like to people watch!

For further information on Vancouver wildlife check these sites out.
Stanley Park Ecological Society http://stanleyparkecology.ca/

Vancouver Aquarium http://www.vanaqua.org/

Vancouver Pride Weekend Parade & Festival July 31st – August 1st & 2nd

July 16th, 2015

Are you ready for a ball? Vancouver is ready for some fun on the streets of the Westend and Davie village which is the designated Gay district of Vancouver. At the very end of July and beginning of August we welcome the annual Gay Pride Festival and Parade. Find out here what to expect over this lively and most colourful of all parades and festivals this city has to offer – not only that, we also host the annual HONDA Celebration of Light Fireworks display and Live music festival called Shorefest at the Sunset Beach & English Bay respectively – Read more here: http://www.sunsetinn.com/blog/?p=7593

Davie Street Block Party
Friday, July 31, 2015 – 6:00pm to Saturday, August 1, 2015 – 12:00am
facebook.com
FREE for general attendance
19+ Wristbands $5

- See more at: http://vancouverpride.ca/content/event/davie-street-block-party#sthash.yvjs9GuM.dpuf
Begin the Pride weekend with a bang with an evening bloc party all along Davie Street – Take back the streets for Pride Weekend in the heart of the Davie Street Village! Check out the beer garden with the party spilling out from the stage at Davie Street’s historic Rainbow Crosswalk at Bute Street.

37th Annual Vancouver Pride Parade
Sunday, August 2, 2015 – 12:00pm to 3:00pm
Enjoy one of the most beautiful and diverse parades in the world. The Vancouver Pride Parade was granted civic status in 2013 and is one of the city’s flagship events! Attracting crowds of more than 650,000, the Pride Parade is renowned on the international stage as one of the largest and most successful LGBTQ2+ events in the world. – See more at: http://vancouverpride.ca/content/event/37th-annual-vancouver-pride-parade#sthash.2njJXBvs.dpuf

Pride Festival @ Sunset Beach
Sunday, August 2, 2015 – 11:00am to 6:00pm
Celebrate Pride in one of Vancouver’s most beautiful waterfront parks! Browse through over one hundred exhibitors in our Pride Market, including local artisans, supporters and community organizations. A variety of bands, drag performers and speakers will be featured on the main stage, with DJs spinning in the beer garden throughout the day. See more at: http://vancouverpride.ca/content/event/pride-festival-sunset-beach#sthash.9Bfmc4VI.dpuf

HONDA Celebration of Light Fireworks

July 15th, 2015

In 10 days time our annual street parties returns once more to the Westend where we will be entertained with the annual Celebration of Light Fireworks display at English Bay, and the colourful spectacle that is the Vancouver Pride parade and festival which we will write about in our next blog.

HONDA CELEBRATION OF LIGHT FIREWORKS – JULY 25th, July 29th & August 1st
The Honda Celebration of Light is an annual musical fireworks competition held every summer in Vancouver, Canada since 1990. Three companies representing their country perform a 25 minute fireworks display set to accompanying music. This competition is cited as being the longest-running offshore fireworks competition in the world. The fireworks are synchronized to music which is broadcast over the radio station LG104.3 FM. http://hondacelebrationoflight.com/

This years participants are China, Brazil & Canada – we are very excited to see what they will show us as these countries have traditional dazzled and wowed the crowds in the past with excellent pyrotechnics that will amaze! The 2015 Honda Celebration of Light competition begins at 10:00pm sharp each night, rain or shine.

SHOREFEST – Sunset Beach Festival – Live Music begins at 2pm at Sunset Beach & Keg Lounge at English Bay at 7.30pm
Just a little over a 5 minute walk from the hotel you will find Sunset Beach and here is where the festivities begin in the day – this is a great family orientated event and is getting bigger and better each year.

As part of the Sunset Beach Festival, SHOREFEST showcases some of Canada’s top musical acts in one of Vancouver’s most picturesque settings on the shores of English Bay. Come down early to the Sunset Beach stage for live music all afternoon. Then move on over to English Bay to catch our feature performers on the stage in The Keg Lounge. This stage plays to the beach – to you the fans – with rock and roll starting at 7:30pm.

For a complete breakdown of the full days Schedule click here: http://hondacelebrationoflight.com/festival-info/

LOOK UP ON FESTIVAL NIGHTS! 3 amazing Airshows!
At 8:00 PM lift your eyes to the skies and watch for Super Dave, The Skyhawks, and Anna Serbinenko! These three epic air shows are sure to amaze all of you on the three festival nights.
Saturday July 25 “Super” Dave Mathieson. http://www.superdaveairshows.com/
Wednesday July 29 Canadian Armed Forces “Skyhawks” Parachute Team. http://www.army-armee.forces.gc.ca/en/skyhawks/index.page
Saturday August 1 “Skydancer” Anna Serbinenko. http://www.annaserbinenko.com/

FIFA Women’s Soccer World Cup Final – BC Place in Vancouver on Sunday July 5th

July 1st, 2015

The FIFA Women’s Soccer world cup is soon to be reaching the grand final which will be held in Vancouver at BC Place Stadium on Sunday July 5th and what an event it has been to date.

Canada had a great run – some may not agree with this, but to make it in the quarter finals in any tournament as big as this is never an easy feat – so we have to congratulate the girls on their effort and especially their fearless Captain Christine Sinclair. Christine is a local girl and both her uncles have experience playing Soccer so it is no surprise that Christine followed in their footsteps. We feel that the current squad with Christine at the helm has put Women’s soccer in the limelight now and we feel for many years to come – and it is for the very fact that women like Christine can show the world that they are an equal to the men with their skills, technical ability and thought process that makes this game such a delight to watch.

As we type this blog it is hot off the heals of the famous USA victory over Germany which has propelled them to a record 4th Final in the world cup tournament – that is a an impressive feat in itself.
It is ironic that Germany were to lose the game in the manner they did, it was as many feel assumed that if the game was to go to penalties then germany were likely to be victors as this was undoubtedly their strengtht as they had been knocking in some accurate goals under immense pressure. So you do have to feel for the German striker Celia Sasic who missed her penalty shot. As in many games of Soccer – it takes a moment of chaos to turn a game on its head and this seems to be the case in this instant.

So the next game coming up is a huge one – England versus Japan – we will love to know who you think will be the victors? Japan has the massive task of getting through to the final knowing that there is a chance of winning back to back tournaments which is hard to do in any sport! England have made 4 appearances in this tournament in the past and have made it only as far as the quarters – so their tails will be up as they feel they have a chance to go all the way – the team had a very good run leading up to this moment with 10 straight wins on the bounce in the qualifying stages that lead to entry into the world cup.

This tournament has been a boon to the economy of Canada and especially Vancouver – we have witnessed immense interest and pleasure in this world cup and have certainly seen the benefits of all the tourism that has inflated the city this past month – the weather has been exceptional too – warm, dry and perfect for Soccer!

We are looking forward to the final and who knows it could be a very good Independence day for the USA?!?!?!

Popular Vancouver events that are FREE!

June 19th, 2015

There are many events and festivals to enjoy and it all starts this weekend as Summer is really here folks, plus the weather is playing ball too! Get out there and enjoy it as these events are FREE!

CAR FREE DAYS – VANCOUVER June 20th & 21st.
West EndSaturday, June 20th, Noon-6pm from Davie to Robson on Denman Street: Fun for young, old, families, couples and single folks, which includes music, artists, artisans, and lots of local community groups.

Commercial Drive – Sunday, June 21st, Noon-7pm from Venables to Grandview on Commercial Drive: Roller disco, parading drummers, healing gardens, DJs spinning beats, and all your friends and neighbours hanging out.

Main Street – Sunday, June 21st, Noon-7pm from Broadway to 30th on Main Street: Mini-festivals, community-supported stages with dozens of bands, multiple kids zones, artisan markets, roller derby, skateboarding, parkour and more!

Website: http://www.carfreevancouver.org/

National Aboriginal Day Celebrations – June 21st
Saturday, June 20, 2015 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Join us for a day of celebration that kicks off with a traditional Coast Salish welcome, followed by a variety of Aboriginal performances, including traditional dances, storytelling and more. National Aboriginal Day is officially designated on Sunday, June 21, 2015 to coincide with the summer solstice. This is a special opportunity to celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.

Website: http://www.canadaplace.ca/Events/National_Aboriginal_Day_Celebration

Vancouver International Jazz Festival till July 1
While not all of the events are free, a majority of them are, giving you access to some of the best jazz acts in the city! There are endless options for free performances, including Blue Moon Marquee, Rumba Cazalda, and Karin Plato Ensemble.

Website: http://www.coastaljazz.ca/

Vancouver Buskerfest – Friday, June 26 to Sunday, June 28
Featuring astonishing and Diverse Street performers from all around Vancouver and all around the globe deliver comedy, circus, music and mayhem on Downtown Vancouver’s main entertainment area that is Granville Street.

Website: http://www.vancouverbuskerfest.com/

Canada Day at Canada Place – July 1st
Canada Day at Canada Place is a celebration that brings communities together to share our special bond of living in one of the greatest country’s in the world and celebrating our freedom, values and diversity. It all ends with a fantastic spectacular Fireworks display.

Website: http://www.canadaplace.ca/

Canada Day at Granville Island July 1, 10 a.m. to midnight
Canada Day on Granville Island is an all-ages event that goes from morning until late! This year, they’ll start with a pancake breakfast, then continue with jazz festivals, a street festival and a parade. The team at Granville Island encourages you to bring your kids!

Website: http://granvilleisland.com/top-things-do-kids-summer-granville-island

Stanley Park Free Outdoor Movies July 7 to August 25
The Evo Summer Cinema Series at Stanley Park is back for another year from July 7 to August 25. Expect classics like Jurassic Park, The Breakfast Club and Harry Potter. Don’t forget to arrive early to get a good spot since upwards of 5,000 people attend each screening

Website: http://www.freshaircinema.ca/summercinema/index.html

Happy 30th birthday LANDSEA TOURS & ADVENTURES!

June 5th, 2015

When you are visiting Vancouver for a few days it is likely that you will be interested in a day trip to Victoria on Vancouver Island and Whistler in the interior of the BC Mountains, it can be difficult figuring out which tour company to use to make the day-trip worth its while. So let us introduce to you Landsea Tours and Adventures.

Landsea is 30!
This year marks 30 years since Landsea Tours & Adventures began. They are an Canadian family owned and operated company that has been pleased to offer a variety of half-day and full-day sightseeing excursions around Vancouver, the Sea to Sky highway and Gondola, Victoria, Whistler and Vancouver’s North Shore. Landsea Tours & Adventures offers year round daily tours that will show you the best Southwestern British Columbia has to offer. They are a boutique tour company that utilizes the flexibility of mini-coach touring to bring you a personalized tour that a big motor coach can’t.

The staff are really what makes this particular touring company special – they are incredibly passionate about what they do and are a wealth of information in regards to the local surroundings. Like us at the hotel, the staff appreciate the area so much that they want you to see the city and the natural ecology as we do and will make sure nothing is missed. They will happily stop the vehicle if there is something significant to see and if you want to take a moment to take a picture of the area.

So if you fancy taking a day trip to Whistler or Victoria or any other excursions you should really take these guys on – the tour begins directly at the hotel where they will pick you up and so it begins, they will chaperon you around your destination and will drop you back to the hotel once done.

Landsea website: http://vancouvertours.com/

Landsea Blog: http://vancouvertours.com/blog/

Landsea TV: http://vimeopro.com/user14669313/landsea-tv-season-one

Swimming in Vancouver – The best outdoor Pools and Beaches near to the Sunset

June 3rd, 2015

When the BC bank Holiday known as Victoria Day passes in May we know for sure that this is where Summer begins in earnest and that marks the beginning of the activities for the late Spring and Summer season. The Patios at many restaurants and bars are open for the patrons, Farmers Markets pop up all over the various and varied districts of Vancouver, the best part for us is the opening of the many outdoor swimming pools and the freedom to swim on the many beaches of Vancouver.

Kits beach with North Vancouver in the distance

The best Beaches and Swimming Pools.
One thing you will notice with Vancouver is that it is quite literally surrounded by Beaches, with a great Sea wall hugging the downtown core all the way around False creek to the South and then ending at the Kitsilano district which is where we will begin our tour.

Kitsilano Beach.
Kits Beach as it is more commonly known with the locals is our version of ‘Venice Beach’ in California, it is an appropriate title considering Vancouver is literally known as the Hollywood north of Canada and this Beach certainly fits the bill. It has glorious views of the downtown core, Stanley Park and the North shore cities and mountains, and has no shortage of people getting some serious tans playing Frisbee and beach Volleyball, but don’t be perturbed by the beach loving sun soaked buff bodies – everyone is welcome here and so you should as it is a stunning place to visit.
There is more – Kits Beach is home to Vancouvers largest outdoor heated swimming pool.

Kits Outdoor Swimming Pool
This is the daddy of all outdoor pools in Vancouver at a length of Length 137m which means it is almost three times the size of an Olympic pool. It also features 3 Slides, a Café and is accessible for all as it is wheelchair accessible has aquatic wheelchairs and is fitted with an aquatic pool lift.
The pool is filled with salt water and is heated, this year Windbreakers will be installed as this will benefit the pool in many ways, it will prevent heat loss from the heated pool and it will also reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 220 metric tonnes which equates to removing 46 cars from city streets. This was proven the case last year when the city installed windbreakers at other pools, it is anticipated the drop in these emissions will be much more.

Sunset Beach, English Bay & Second Beach
English Bay is undoubtedly the most popular & well known Beach in Vancouver due to its prime location in the downtown Vancouver area and is sat at the entrance to the popular Stanley Park.
A great way to get to English Bay will be to walk south from the Sunset Inn hotel and in a little over 5 minutes you will reach our namesake beach Sunset Beach. Here you get gorgeous views of the Burrard Bridge and False Creek – start waking west along the Seawall and you will be greeted by the famous Inukshuk stone monument which is located at English Bay. Keep following the Sea Wall and after 10 to 15 minutes you will reach Second Beach – it is called this as English Bay is the ‘first beach’.

Second Beach Pool
Second Beach Pool is a heated, outdoor pool located near the beach & sea wall, trails, and forest of Stanley Park.
The summer pool is open May to September. It features a a sloped entry and gradual depths for families, and separated lanes for lap swimmers. The pools Length is 80m with a 50m section for some serious swimming lengths -like the Kits pool it is wheelchair accessible.

West End Farmers Markets returns and it is 20 years young!

May 30th, 2015

This stunning spell of dry and Sunny weather that Vancouver is happily basking in could not come at a better time for the return of the annual Farmers Markets.
We have a market that is close to the hotel and it is a perfect opportunity to purchase the very best Fruits and Vegetables right from the Farmers themselves.

Farmers Markets are an excellent way to bring the various communities together all over the city, the benefits of such markets is that they bring to your table the most fresh produce than what you would find at a regular supermarket, it also has a great impact on the local community by directly helping them economically so it is a win win all round for us.

Farmers Markets 20th birthday!
The farmers markets began in 1995 and they want you to enjoy their birthday too. To celebrate their birthday they are inviting the public to take part in an Instagram photo competition where you can win $100 in market money. Please click on the link for further details of this Instagram competition http://eatlocal.org/20th-anniversary/ #VFM20 CONTEST

Westend Farmers Market
Every Saturday, 9am – 2pm
from May 30 to Oct 24, 2015 West End Farmers Market, Comox Street

The opening ceremony will be at 8.45am on Saturday May 30th with the Executive Director, Tara McDonald, board member, Eric Patelwith our local MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert running the ceremony. If you have a sweet tooth at that time of day you are in luck – Stick around to enjoy sweet treats one of the earliest West End vendors, John from Cookies by John.

The markets not only sell food but they also sell arts and crafts from local vendors – and here is something new that we are sure will be a huge hit – You can now Sample beer, cider, wine & spirits! This will be provided by BC Wine Studio, Bomber Brewing & Odd Society Spirits handing out samples for opening day. Pick up your favourite bottle or 6-pack!

So if you planning on staying with us, remember that all this yummy produce that you can purchase at these really awesome markets can be brought back to the hotel, we have fully equipped kitchens for you to use and will add to the experience of our Suite hotel, and the true full flavour of the West End!

Farmers Markets: http://eatlocal.org/
BC Wine Studio: https://www.bcwinestudio.ca/
Bomber Brewing: http://www.bomberbrewing.com/
Odd Society Spirits: http://www.oddsocietyspirits.com/

FIFA Women’s world cup soccer comes to Canada and Vancouver #Canada2015

May 23rd, 2015

As the hockey playoffs get closer to the final that is the Stanley Cup we will turn our attention to another very popular event that is Soccer. Vancouver and Canada welcomes the FIFA Women’s Soccer World cup in June where Vancouver will be one of 6 other cities taking part.

The Women’s world cup tournament has been running since 1991 and like the Men’s tournament returns to the world stage every 4 years, it had been 61 years that the first Men’s Soccer world cup tournament preceded the women’s – which was won by Uruguay in 1930, certainly it was long overdue for the ladies to show us their footballing skills!

The FIFA Women’s World Cup is recognized as the most important international competition in women’s football and is played amongst women’s national football teams of the member states of FIFA, the sport’s global governing body. The current format of the tournament involves 24 teams competing for the title at venues across the host nations country over a period of about three weeks. The grand final game of this tournament will be held in Vancouver at BC place on Sunday July 5th 2015.

Full countrywide schedule of the tournament: http://resources.fifa.com/mm/document/tournament/competition/02/03/96/71/fwwc2015_matchschedule_09122014_en_neutral.pdf

To date only a couple of teams have won the tournament twice – these were Germany in 2003 & 2007, and the USA in 1991 & 1999.

The event in Vancouver will be staged at The BC Place stadium which is the home of the Vancouver Whitecaps (Who incidentally are playing not a bad game these days considering how young the squad is) and the BC Lions CFL team. During June it will be turned into a Soccer haven for probably the best sport of all time.

Just outside BC Place there will be a Fanzone section to enjoy the festivities that this tournament will bring, read the excerpt below taken from the FIFA website.

Fanzone Vancouver at BC Place.
In celebration of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015TM, the City of Vancouver is hosting FIFA Fan Zone in the heart of downtown Vancouver. The FIFA Fan Zone is just steps from BC Place Stadium and will serve as the main gathering place for fans outside of the stadium.

The Vancouver FIFA Fan Zone will feature talented Canadian bands, a large viewing tent, sponsor activations, and a wide selection of food and drink! It will provide fun and enjoyment for people of all ages, and give the public a chance to experience the excitement of Canada 2015!

FIFA Fan Zone Schedule*:
DATE HOURS OF OPERATION (PST)
Saturday June 6 12:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Monday June 8 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Thursday June 11 12:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Friday June 12 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Monday June 15 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Tuesday June 16 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Sunday June 21 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Tuesday June 23 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Saturday June 27 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Wednesday July 1 12:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Saturday July 4 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Sunday July 5 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM
* Schedule subject to change

FANZONE: http://vancouver.fwwc2015.ca/fifa-fan-zone/