Archive for the ‘Archive’ Category

How to see the very best of Vancouver in just a few short days.

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Its been a crazy Winter here in Vancouver as we have not seen this much Sun over the winter period for as long as anyone can remember – maybe, just maybe this is a sign of a good tourist season to come for 2014.
We are starting to notice a big upswing in reservation calls for people who are now looking ahead to the Spring and Summer season get away’s. We feel this will be a good time to give you advice on how to utilise your time in the city with the few days that you may be stopping over. So we will guide you on what to do if you are stopping by the city for just 1, 2 or 3 days…

1 DAY VISIT
One day in the city may seem like there is no time to see anything, but we feel you can actually see a fair bit of the city due to the size and geography of the area, so, if you are only making a whistle-stop tour and still want to catch some sights, here are the places to see for just one day.

BIG BUS CITY TOUR – HOP ON HOP OFF Big Bus will be the very best way to see the sights of the city while having the freedom to get around at different stops so you can experience some pretty decent areas that Vancouver has to offer. The bus stop is quite literally a 1 minute walk from the hotel on Thurlow St – we suggest that you do a full circle tour on the bus, and then once back around, its time to use the Hop on Hop off option to good use.
Granville Island is a must see area in the city, it is our own version of Seattle’s Pike Place market There are some amazing boutique shops to browse and shop in, the wonderful Granville Island Market whic is open from 9am till 7pm seven days a week. There are also some really excellent restaurants to choose from too, our suggestion is to visit The Sandbar Restaurant, this really showcases the very best Pub style dishes, Seafood and an Asian infusion twist which is very very Vancouver.

Granville Island Website: http://granvilleisland.com/

After spending some time on Granville Island we highly recommend that you take a walk inStanley Park A diamond in the rough – Stanley Park is one of the largest public parks that shows you what the area once looked like before the rapid expansion of the city. The Park is located at the Western end of the downtown peninsula and at 1,001-acres there is plenty to see. Here you are in the heart of an ‘urban Rainforest’ so to speak, there is no shortage of spectacular scenery with the various species of Plants, trees and wildlife, it is a must see area of the city, just like Granville Island.

We also recommend that you purchase your Big Bus tickets with us at the front desk as it will be a cheaper deal for you – as opposed to buying a ticket directly from their website. We will send you their link below so you know what to expect when you get here.

BIG BUS Website http://bigbus.ca/home/

Sandbar Restaurant http://www.vancouverdine.com/sandbar

2 DAY VISIT
Now that you have gotten some of the downtown area out of the way, you can now start to explore a little deeper, if you have purchased a ticket with Big Bus you will have seen that they have a 2 day Pass – this will help get you to explore some of the older areas of the city.
Gastown and Chinatown are also a must see area of Vancouver, here you will step back in time and get to see where the original and oldest areas of the city began, you can check out the famous cobble-stoned Streets, incredibly stunning architecture and historical landmarks such as The Steam Clock, the Chinatown district (which is one of the oldest in North America and Canada – including the majestic and beautiful DR SUN YAT SEN CLASSICAL CHINESE GARDENS website http://vancouverchinesegarden.com/

Gastown Website:http://www.gastown.org/

GROUSE MOUNTAIN & CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGE can be visited after spending some time in Chinatown and Gastown, you can head over to Waterfront Station where you can catch the Seabus over to North Vancouver and Lonsdale Quay (which is North Vancouver’s version of our own Granville Island, its smaller but very cute and offers some great views of the Burrard Inlet, Downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park.

Grouse Mountain overlooks Vancouver and can be easily spotted as the middle of the three North Shore mountains that overlook the city, it is nestled in between Cypress Mountain to the West and Mount Seymour to the east. Grouse is excellent for Winter sporting activities for all the family – and in the summer it has great hiking trails, the famous Grouse Grind if you are up for a steep walking challenge and entertainment at the top for all the family to enjoy, this includes a lumberjack show which is funny and breath taking and a Bird Sanctuary and Grizzly Bear enclosure.
Just one stop down from Grouse is the world famous Capilano Suspension Bridge, here you will get to experience one of the worlds largest suspended Suspension Bridges, high above the Capilano river and canyon, there is also a daring cliff walk and glass paths for the especially daring – its a stunning sight to be so high among the trees in this amazing rain-forest canopy.

Grouse Mountain – The Peak of Vancouver https://www.grousemountain.com/

Capilano Suspension Bridge Website: http://www.capbridge.com/

3 DAY VISIT
if you happen to be here for 3 days or more, then we absolutely encourage you to start to explore further out to areas like Victoria on Vancouver Island.
Vancouver Island is a pretty big place – many believe that it is a fairly small place but don’t be fooled it is actually close in size to the UK!
Victoria which is the capital of BC is a very quaint and beautiful town, much smaller than Vancouver and certainly steeped in rich history of its colonial past – it too has a decent China town to explore.
We recommend that you use a Tour Operator to visit Victoria, the one way trip itself take roughly 3 to 4 hours to get from Vancouver to Victoria – this includes the stunning Ferry ride that meanders through the Georgia Strait and the Gulf island, if you are lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of some travelling Whales…..when you are in Victoria, take a visit to the Empress hotel for some High Tea!

We really like LANDSEA TOURS, they have an excellent package that will take you directly from the hotel to Victoria, they will also ship you around the town so you can get to enjoy the world famous Butchart Gardens, The Museum of Victoria and some time to walk around the downtown area, they will also bring you back to the hotel too – its an awesome tour where you can sit back, learn about the area and not have to think! We like that very much!

Victoria BC Website: http://www.victoria.ca/

High Tea at the Empress Hotel Victoria http://www.fairmont.com/empress-victoria/dining/afternoontea/

Landsea Tours http://www.vancouvertours.com/

February 2014 events to look out for….

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

FESTIVALS
WINTERUPPTION – GRANVILLE ISLAND February 14-16
Granville Island is gearing up to celebrate its ninth annual Winterruption festival. New this year, visitors can join a Meet Your Makers tour showcasing Granville Island spirits, including a stop at the newly opened Liberty Distillery. The Vancouver Fringe Festival also presents the hilarious comedy Hockey Show at the Pub & Pickle at Studio 1398, while the Coastal Jazz & Blues Society brings you We are the City, Wake Owl, Qalandar & more. Family fun is front-and-centre with appearances by stilt dancers parading down the streets, mask-making workshops & live performances by Charlotte Diamond. Discover artists’ exhibits, local food & pop-up dance performances around every corner of Granville Island all weekend long.

Website: http://granvilleisland.com/winterruption

FOOD AND DRINK
VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL WINE FESTIVAL (VANCOUVER PLAYHOUSE THEATER) February 24th to March 2nd
One of the world’s premiere wine festivals, this event is a unique opportunity to learn about & enjoy some of the world’s finest wines. The event features wine tastings & pairings, gourmet dinners & luncheons, educational seminars & culinary competitions.
Website: http://www.playhousewinefest.com/

One of our very good regular clients at the Sunset Inn Hotel HARRY MCWATTERs of McWatters Wine will have a booth at the Wine festival, please go check him out and sample some of his fantastic wines.

Website:http://www.harrymcwatters.com/

DINEOUT VANCOUVER – ends on February 2nd
The Dine Out Vancouver Festival is Canada’s largest celebration of dining out, attracting tens of thousands of local and visiting food enthusiasts annually to experience the Vancouver’s exceptionally diverse collection of restaurants. Diners will be able to select from more than 230 restaurants each offering unique three-course prix-fix meals

Website:http://www.dineoutvancouver.com

ART
RESERECT: NATIVE EROTICA AT THE BILL REID GALLERY OF NORTHWEST COAST ART Runs until February 14th 2014
RezErect: Native Erotica presents a fresh, playful, provocative insight into sensuality & sexuality, featuring works by 28 mid-career & internationally recognized First Nations artists from the Northwest Coast & central Canada.
Artists draw their inspiration from diverse sources: the natural world, oral histories, creation stories, ancient songs of love & heartbreak, dance, ceremony & traditional foods. Works range from traditional to contemporary in style & media include: wood, glass, stone, jewelry, pop art, street art & textiles.

Website:
http://www.billreidgallery.ca/

VALENTINES DAY CRUISE AND MEAL
Treat your loved this valentines day on a special meal aboard a breath taking Cruise-ship. Enjoy the romance of the sea in the true cruise ship tradition aboard our luxurious Pride of Vancouver. You will be impressed by our gourmet buffet and ever-changing spectacular waterfront views.
At your romantic candle lit table for two, we’ll treat you to a complimentary glass of champagne. Dance the night away on this memorable Valentine’s evening. Call now!

MENU
Baron of Beef
Finest Alberta beef carved by the Chef
Baked fresh salmon
BC Coho salmon with a lemon dill sauce
Slow roasted chicken
Oven roasted, local seasoned chicken
Penne pasta
In a fresh basil tomato sauce
Garden fresh vegetables
In season vegetable medley
Rice pilaf
Long grained seasoned rice with peppers and onions
Classic Caesar salad
With garlic croutons and our own special dressing
Seasonal micro greens
With carrots, celery, cucumber, cherry tomato and red onion
Mediterranean salad
With garbanzo beans, bell peppers and balsamic dressing
Dinner Rolls
Assorted bread with butter on the side
DESSERT
French vanilla cheesecake with berry coulis & dark flaked chocolate
Tea & Coffee

*Menu subject to change
*Ask about customizing your menu
$64.95 plus 15% gratuity and gst per person.

We are Located at 450 Denman St, V5G 3J1, Vancouver BC
Phone: 604 687-5533
Toll Free: 1 888 987-5533

Website: http://vancouvercharters.com/

6 Nations Rugby – Where to watch Europe’s major Rugby tournament.

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

We know that the Ice Hockey is by far the biggest draw in Canada when it comes to Contact Sports, and as far as contact sports go it is certainly all the rage out here, it was also all ‘the rage’ in the literal sense as it seems that lately there has been a bit more fisticuffs as opposed to the actual game being played once the puck has been dropped.

For anyone who is not sure what we are referencing, take a look up the last Vancouver Canucks game versus the Calgary Flames, this game certainly had it all when it comes to drama and a little dust up between players.
Check out the link and you will see what we are writing about: http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2014/01/canucks-flames-fight-line-brawl-tortorella/

So on the subject of Contacts Sports, in a weeks time, Europe’s major Rugby Union tournament kicks off for the opening round of the RBS Six Nations. It is sure to be a great one this year as many see this championship as a wide open affair with many not sure who will take the title this year.

If you are from Europe or just a Rugby fanatic in general, then we will help you find where you catch the games live and enjoy the very best of Northern Hemisphere rugby.

DOOLINS BAR
Doolins Irish Bar/The Cellar will be hosting the games live in action and will show the replays later if the time of day is too much for you to watch live….but hey, its just not the same atmosphere on repeat. Either way, you will have the chance to watch the games in real time and with a bunch of Rugby Fanatics who love this particular tournament, it is usually a lively and boisterous crowd so the experience of watching the Europeans get a little feisty of fun on its own!

To see what time Doolins are opening and what the RBS 6 Nations Schedule looks like click here: https://www.facebook.com/events/727464030600045/

Admittedly there is some Bias here as the writer of this particular blog is very excited about the event, due to the Welsh roots and the fact the the Welsh Boys in red are chasing a Third Consecutive championship title, something a team has never achieved in the history of the entire tournament. This tournament has more weight to it as it is the penultimate showdown before the 2015 Rugby World Cup – so for the next season or so, the teams really want to step up as this is the start of the long campaign to the ultimate tournament in Rugby Union.

For more information on the Rugby World Cup 2015 click here: http://www.rugbyworldcup.com/

Here is a look at the highlights from last years celebrations after Wales played England with in the final match of the 2013 6 Nations championship – it was a memorable winners take all game and showcases some very good Rugby!

1st Half highlights
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PWr_QCR7n4

2nd Half Highlights
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJMuEDuVi58

Arrival of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Vancouver YVR Airport

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

The much anticipated arrival of the Dreamliner 787 aircraft to be rolled out by Boeing will be coming to Vancouver YVR Airport as of Monday February 2014 under operation with Japan Airlines.

If you are an aviation enthusiast this will be an exciting day for you to check out this brand new Aircraft on its arrival, a special occasion as this will be the very first Boeing 787 to ever land on Canuck soil, a moment in history that we are sure Vancouver International Airport and the city itself will be delighted and proud to be holding this inaugural event.

The aircraft is by far one of the most advanced aircraft of its day to date with great detail at the design of the engine technology and its composite structure which is unique to this particular aircraft. The idea is to deliver a big jet plane in a mid sized body, with a cool speed of Mach 0.85 that is also fuel efficient. The Aircraft aims to give you maximum space, comfort, with larger seats, aisles and windows all topped with excellence in service to make the trip between Canada and Japan memorable.

For the first month there will be just one scheduled flight, however, come March 2014 there will be daily non stop flights to Japan courtesy of the Dreamliner.

Please keep a check on the Vancouver Website as there will be events and other news postings leading up to this big day, so please watch this space.
YVR BLOG http://www.yvr.ca/en/Blog/Posts/Aircraft_of_the_Month_Boeing_787-9_Dreamliner.aspx

As we know many of you who are reading this blog will be at some point using Vancouver International Airport, while you are there we do encourage you to explore the surroundings as it is quite a gorgeous facility and has plenty to offer so you an occupy your time with great comfort.

Public Observation Area
One of the main attractions at YVR is the Public Observation Area here you will be able to see the aircraft coming and going while overlooking the spectacular scenery of the North Shore Mountains that overlook Vancouver, a huge Panoramic view of the central belt of Vancouver Island and the waters of the Georgia Strait, and if you are there at the right time you may even catch a dramatic Sunset.

For further details click here: http://www.yvr.ca/en/community-environment/community/community-engagement/Public-Observation-Area.aspx

Further information regarding the Boeing 787 Dreamliner: http://www.boeing.com/boeing/commercial/787family/

If you need help getting to and from the Airport and The Sunset Inn, read the following information:

TO AND FROM VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (YVR)
To Vancouver
This Route involves 1 transfer. 2 ZONE TICKET
AT YVR SKYTRAIN
Purchase a 2 Zone ticket to Yaletown Station.
Transfer to Bus C23 to Davie and Thurlow St. Walk 1 block South along Thurlow – turn your first right onto Burnaby St and we are the 2nd building along heading West.
Adults $7.75 Concession $6.75

Chinese New Year 2014 – Year of the Horse

Monday, January 20th, 2014

This coming Chinese New Year is the year of the Horse and there are plenty of events to entertain the whole family in Vancouver and in the neighbouring city of Richmond which has a very large Chinese community, definitely worth a visit if you are looking to celebrate the Chinese New Year in style, this is the real deal!

Historically, the Horse is the symbol of power, so it is only natural that the Year of the Horse has been chosen as one of the symbols of the Chinese Zodiac. Seventh in the cycle of the Zodiac, the Horse years are: 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990 and 2002 and 2014.

There is much to understand about the amazing Horse. When he decides to kick up his heels, it can be a fantastic ride for everyone within range. Friends and strangers alike will easily fall under the sway of the Year of the Horse individual.
If you are acquainted with any Horse people, be sure to recognize their skills because they love flattery. Generally Horses display many contradictions of personality, so you will have to study them for a while before understanding them completely. They are proud, but sweet tempered, conceited yet humble. The trick is in the knowing.

VANCOUVER EVENTS & NEW YEAR PARADE
Once again the New Year will kick off in Chinatown in Spectacular style with a huge colourful Parade that includes traditional Chinese dancing, 50 lions costumes, Music with the help of multiple ethnic dance troupes and much much more
PARADE: When: Sunday, February 2, 2014, 12pm – 2pm
The 1.5km Chinese New Year Parade route starts at the Millennium Gate at Pender St. and heads east, turning south onto Gore St., then west onto Keefer St.

The Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver Website and Festival details: http://www.cbavancouver.ca/index.html

Parade Route

After the parade, festivities in Chinatown continue with the free Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival & Cultural Fair at Sun Yat-sen Plaza (50 East Pender Street), from 11am – 5pm.
These gardens are stunning and are a must see visit no matter what the time of year or the occasion…

Chinese Gardens celebrations link: http://vancouverchinesegarden.com/calendar/the-year-of-the-horse-temple-fair/

End the day at the Chinese New Year Banquet at Floata Seafood Restaurant. Tickets to the banquet are $35 and include both dinner and live entertainment, lion dances, greetings by the fortune god and a variety show with singing, cultural dances and more. Further details: http://floataseafood.com/home-page/

RICHMOND EVENTS
Chinese New Year at the Lansdowne Centre
As spring approaches each year, Richmond pulls out all stops to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year, one of the most important annual events for the city’s large Asian community. Giant dragons & lions twist & dance to drums, cymbals & cheering crowds. Restaurants introduce special menus for the holiday & quickly fill their reservation books for extravagant New Year’s feasts.

In 2014, Richmond marks the start of the Year of the Horse in the week leading up to January 31!

Richmond Chinese New year website: http://www.richmond.ca/discover/events/chinesenewyear.htm

Great events to look for in January 2014

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Here are some great events to check during January…

ROBSON SQUARE ICE RINK
Ongoing until February 28th 2014.
This is a great place to hang especially after visiting the Vancouver Art Gallery or a long shopping spree on Robson St. This rink is a huge hit among Vancouverites and tourists alike. You can come along with your own skates but if you don’t have a pair, fear not, you will be able to rent them at the rink too, there are also walking bars for kids who need a little help with balance.

800 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 3B7
(604) 646-3554

• SUNDAY to THURSDAY: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
• FRIDAY and SATURDAY: 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM
*Skate rental ends 30mins prior to close
*Cash only
*Helmets are manditory for Children 12 years and under
*Check back for holiday hours
Skate and helmet rentals, and a concession stand are available on site.

Skating is free if you bring your own skates.

Rentals are available for a cost of $4. Check out the video of the rink here…https://www.youtube.com/v/oXIe1hCu0l0?fs=1&showinfo=0&rel=0

Website: http://www.robsonsquare.com/en/

PuSh FESTIVAL – Vancouver’s performing Arts Festival – January 14th to February 2nd
The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival is one of Vancouver’s major events. a production that lasts over three weeks each January, the PuSh Festival presents incredible and groundbreaking work in the live performance arts.

The PuSh Festival expands the horizons and thinks beyond the box of Vancouver artists and audiences with work that is visionary, genre-bending, multi-disciplined, startling and original. The Festival showcases acclaimed international, Canuck and local artists and mixes them together with an alchemy that inspires audiences, rejuvenates artists, stimulates the industry and forges productive relationships around the globe

Website: http://pushfestival.ca/

The VANCOUVER HOT CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL
Is back for its fourth year, and this time, even more chocolate makers have come together to spike their hot chocolate drinks with the wildest, most delicious flavours you can imagine, this event is for charity and the proceeds will be donated to The Downtown Eastside Women’s Job Training centre.

Website: http://www.cityfood.com/hotchocolate/

DINE OUT VANCOUVER 2014……Read about the restaurants that are taking part in the West End and more….

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Hello everyone, Happy New Year from us all once again – and as it is January 6th it is now business as usual again for us all as life returns to normal.

January maybe a quiet month for some around the world, however, in Vancouver we are welcoming the first festival of 2014 and being a foodie city it is all about dining out!

DINE OUT VANCOUVER – JAN 17 – FEB 2, 2014
Dine Out Vancouver returns to the city once again and it is such a great way to check out new restaurants at a very reasonable price. We point you in the right direction for some of the participating restaurants in the area.

Canada’s largest restaurant festival, produced by Tourism Vancouver, and presented by American Express dishes up unlimited ways to enjoy the flavours of the city. Choose from hundreds of restaurants, a 17 day calendar of culinary events and dozens of hotel options to create your own delicious dining experiences.

For further details at Tourism Vancouver: http://www.tourismvancouver.com/

West End Participating restaurants.

THE BANANA LEAF
Step out of Vancouver and into the warm heart of Malaysia at Banana Leaf, where we serve the finest of Malaysian flavours. Malaysian cuisine is a celebration of the best that Southeast Asia has to offer, a sample of culinary inspiration from Indonesia, India, Thailand, and China. This restaurant is by far one of the most popular destinations for great food.

All three West End locations are taking part in Dine Out and are accepting reservations.

1043 Davie Street. 1096 Denman Street. 1779 Robson Street.

http://www.bananaleaf-vancouver.com/

THE BOATHOUSE
In English Bay on Vancouver’s famous beach enjoy great seafood & steaks with lively outdoor dining, the place to meet for cocktails, or watch the sunset with a bottle of BC VQA wine and fresh-shucked oysters.
Distinctively Westcoast, the extensive wine list, freshest quality seafood, premium steaks and great service make Boathouse a BC coast favourite.

1795 Beach Ave (English Bay and close to Davie and Denman Streets)

www.boathouserestaurants.ca

THE CACTUS CLUB CAFE – ENGLISH BAY BEACH FRONT
Proudly Canadian owned and operated, Cactus Club Cafe leads through innovation while remaining true to its Vancouver roots. Committed to delivering a unique experience, Cactus Club Cafe blends the worlds of fine and casual dining through inventive design, unparalleled food quality and a personalized approach to service.

Beach Avenue – English Bay Waterfront

http://www.cactusclubcafe.com/

CENTRAL BISTRO
A West End landmark, the Central is located in a turn of the century refurbished home & boasts a fun flirtatious vibe, “gourmet food for everyday people” and mind-blowing cocktails. It’s where the locals go It also features live Jazz every Sunday evening!

1072 Denman Street

www.centralbistro.com

TOP 10 RESTAURANTS IN CANADA WORTH SPLURGING ON – 2 OF WHICH ARE IN VANCOUVER ARE WORTH THE MENTION!
And finally, throughout the country you can find some extra special dining experiences, among the top 10 restaurants in Canada, the number 1 and 3 spots are given to two restaurants that are here in Vancouver. These are higher end restaurants so will be a perfect dining experience for a birthday, romantic excursion or just a good old fashioned splurge where you can dress up and go fancy for an evening…..

Reservations are recommended and a topped up savings account too – but trust us, you will not be let down!

This list is courtesy of The Readers Digest http://travel.ca.msn.com/10-canadian-restaurants-worth-splurging-on?page=3

HAWKSWORTH RESTAURANT
Named restaurant of the year in 2012 by Maclean’s magazine, Hawksworth is the streetside jewel of Vancouver’s revamped Rosewood Hotel Georgia. Come for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner to sample chef David Hawksworth’s extensive menu; selections might include an appetizer of pan-seared scallops with green apple and sesame ($17), an entree of Pacific sablefish with pickled shiitake and soy-braised daikon ($38) or ‘ if you feel like sharing ‘ a 30 oz heritage Angus bone-in ribeye for $125. The seven-course seasonal tasting menu is $84 or $134 with wine pairings.

801 W Georgia St, Vancouver

www.hawksworthrestaurant.com

C RESTAURANT
It seems every major restaurant in BC’s largest city participates in Ocean Wise, the Vancouver Aquarium’s sustainable seafood identification program, and C was the one who started it all. Come here for locally sourced seafood and other ingredients prepped with flair by executive chef Lee Humphries. Dishes might include an appetizer of seared Qualicum Bay scallops ($19), a main of poached lobster with gnocchi ($38) or a seafood tower to share ($95); for a truly special occasion, splurge on “caviar with a conscience,” at $225 for one guest and $400 for two.

1600 Howe Street

www.crestaurant.com

Looking for Winter sports gear?…….Try SPORTS JUNKIES!

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Around Vancouver you will notice more and more of the locals and visitors will be all bundled up with a big Snowboard or Ski’s under their arms as they make their way up to the local Ski resorts. The Season has begun with a flying start with colder temperatures than what we are usually accustomed to at this time of year, which has been great news for hills as they have been able to get a head start with the Snow making machines. At the time of writing, the majority of the runs at each resort is now open or will be ready and running very very soon.

If you are interested in any of the Winter activities such as Snowboarding and Skiing you may want to find out where the best places are to purchase Winter Sporting Gear, so please check out the list below as these will help you find the best places to purchase or even sell Snow gear for the season.

SPORTS JUNKIES
Sports Junkies have been in operation for 20 years now and are known as one of the most reliable and popular stores in the city that will specifically suit your needs for Winter Sporting Goods.

The list below covers most but not all of what is sold at SJ
Used skis, new skis, used snowboards, new snowboards, used ski boots, new ski boots, cross country skis, cross country ski boots, ski helmets, ski gloves, new ski jackets, used ski jackets, new ski pants, used ski pants, new snowboards, used snowboards, new snowboard boots, used snowboard boots, ski poles, new road bikes, used road bikes, new mountain bikes, used mountain bikes, new hybrid bikes, used hybrid bikes, new commuter bikes, used commuter bikes, new kids bikes, used kids bikes, bike helmets, bike locks, bike parts, bike accessories, bike shorts, bike jackets, and more and more!

SJ will also buy used goods that you would rather sell and leave behind for cash if it is too much for you to take home, a lot of their supplies are purchased from around the globe via closeouts, old inventories, samples, demos and more – anything to get you a great price on gear.

They also offer rentals and leases of skis, snowboards and snowshoes. They also have a busy bike service center as well as a Ski and Board service center in the winter months.

Mount Pleasant
102 Broadway W
Vancouver, BC V5Y 1P3
Phone number (604) 879-6000

WEBSITE: http://sportsjunkies.com/

Where to capture the very best Christmas lights in Vancouver…

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

December is here, the Snow has arrived and the festive cheer is in full swing on the streets in the West End. We have already seen and listened to some great Brass Bands and Christmas Carols being sung on Davie St and Bute St near the new Park and Rainbow Crosswalk, it is just a few minutes walk away so keep an eye out for the Christmas cheer here…

This is the time of year when all the festivities focus their attention on outdoing each other with the very best lights to dazzle all the family, so here we will tell where to go to get the very best Christmas Light displays…

St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation’s Lights of Hope
The St Pauls Foundation of Light has been dazzling spectators that walk past the Hospital since 1998 and it is all for a very very good cause.
The aim of the lights is to help raise funds for the hospital itself, so it can purchase the very best medical equipment that it needs, it will enable them to increase funds towards better research and of the course enhanced Patient care for all those in need at St Pauls.
The lights are all assembled by Volunteers and my oh my are they beautiful….If you wish to check out the lights, head down towards Burrard and Davie and walk North on Burrard, it is just a 5 minute walk or so away from the Sunset Inn and Suites.

The hospital has a target goal to reach of $2.2-million – If you wish to help you can make a donation towards the campaign’s fundraising goal, call 604-662-HOPE or visit www.lightsofhope.com.

Festival of Lights at the VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver
It may not seem the best time of year to visit Gardens in the deep of Winter, but wait, we think you should consider this one……The Festival of Lights creates the Gardens into quite a stunning wonderland, it is something that should be on your list when you come here especially as the Van Dusen Gardens are world famous and for good reason!
What is even better, you will be in the company of Elves, Candy-Canes and Hot chocolates to guide your way around this most serene settings.

vand dusen festival of lights map

Website: http://vandusengarden.org/

Bright Nights Christmas Train in Stanley Park
We have written about the excellent Christmas train and the bright lights before, but it is that good that we feel it should be recommended a visit to come on down…
Check out Stanley Park like you have never seen before, the kids especially will love this trip out to the enchanted Rain-forest that we are proud to show off in the city.
Partial proceeds from the sale of Bright Nights tickets go to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, which helps burn survivors and their families. $1.4 million has been raised over the past 14 years.

Website: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/bright-nights-train.aspx

Capilano Canyon Lights
A very popular attraction that is a must see location no matter what time of year, Capilano is quite incredible when all lit up on these very dark nights, it also boasts the largest lit up Christmas Tree too, Standing 46.4m (152 feet) tall the Douglas-fir will be adorned in thousands of sparkling lights…..Woohoo!

Website: http://www.capbridge.com/explore/canyon-lights/

Coal Harbour/Canada Place/English Bay
Although not on an official list a very good idea is to head down to the water as there will be trees, boats and yachts all decorated and decked up for the festive season, a great opportunity to see how the locals dazzle at Christmas time.

December is a busy month for Celestial Sky watching….

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Time to geek out again!

There has been a lot of talk in the media as of late about the possibility of a Comet of the Century making a grand appearance this month, yet, as it happens it seems like this particular celestial visitor for many was an incredible dud as it didn’t transpire to be the X factor Comet many had hoped for. However, all is not lost as since the confirmation of Comet ISON‘s demise after it passed perilously close to the Sun there is another Comet to take a look at if you are keen enough!

Move over ISON – Comet Lovejoy is in town!
Comet ISON was clearly the star attraction over the last few weeks, and in all the excitement and attention that was being paid to ISON many astronomers were also paying attention to Comet Lovejoy which is currently gracing our skies in the early hours of the morning very close to The Big Dipper (or otherwise known as The Plough).
For any visitors who come here from the Southern Hemisphere the name Lovejoy may seem to be quite familiar – this is because the Australian and amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy has been pretty good at spotting new Comets over the last few years…notably this one back in 2011 which wowed people in the South with an amazing display before its own ultimate demise – C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy).

Video and pictures of the 2011 Comet Lovejoy.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/comet-defies-death-brushes-up-to-sun/story-e6frea6u-1226228904311

This has no connection to the current Comet that has a similar name, the current Lovejoy Comet and its official Scientific name is C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) and as we have mentioned before, if you have a keen eye and know your constellations you will find the Comet to be very close to the ‘handle’ of The Big Dipper which is one of the most recognisable constellations to spot.

Please look at the links below to see the final passage of Comet ISON and current pictures and information for Comet Lovejoy.

The last hurrah of Comet ISON: http://www.space.com/23803-comet-ison-fate-visibility-uncertain.html

Comet Lovejoy most recent image


Its location in relation to the Big Dipper

Take a look at Planet JUPITER and the Planet VENUS which are both now shining at maximum Magnitude and at its most striking!
Our Sister planet and the Second Rock to the Sun is now performing a truly stunning display before it slowly starts to move its way pass the Sun and start to fade.

Jupiter which is the ‘daddy’ of all our planets and is now rising higher in the overnight sky, and, as the seasons move by it will be the most dominant feature second only to the Moon. If you are looking at Jupiter on the right day and you have sharp vision, there is a slight chance you will be able to make out some of the Planets largest ‘Moons’ a pair of binoculars will greatly increase your chances of seeing this.

Venus has been gracing our Skies for most of this year and if you look South to South West not too long after Sunset you will see the planet at its most dazzling. Venus is about to start to move towards the Sun as it Orbit brings about the transition from Venus being the ‘Evening Star’‘ where it will wander during the early part of next year to become the veery bright ‘Morning Star’.
As the nights have been unbelievably clear around Vancouver, we do suggest that you wrap up and take a look above you, with the New Moon at its current phase – this means for anyone who loves astronomy will get to see the stars brightly without the Moon stealing the show.
If you are looking at Venus from the open country that is away from any kind of Light pollution, the planets light and glare is so bright that it can actually cast shadows, its over the next few weeks that you may be lucky enough to witness this incredible phenomenon.

The Mighty ORION Constellation and the PLEIADES Star cluster
Now that the darkest days of Winter are well and truly upon us, we do get to witness some of the most stunning and most recognisable structures of the night sky – the most obvious of them are the Constellation of ORION THE HUNTER and the PLEIADES Star Cluster also known to many as the SEVEN SISTERS

Orion is very famous due to the 3 stars that form a straight line and are imagined to be Orions Belt. This is a great constellation to view especially if you are just getting interested in Astronomy. It is also a great chance for you to spot a Nebula with the naked eye. A Nebula is the remnants of a Star that previously died in an explosive fashion, what you are left with is the Gasses and other Elements that the former star stripped away before succumbing – with the Nebula that is located just below the belt of Orion and is the middle fuzzy Star that forms Orions Dagger, f you take a closer look at this object with a decent pair of binoculars you will see that it is in fact not a living Star but a a ball of Red Gas and new baby stars that are have been created from the original material of its expired parent Star. Once you have spotted this, it is easily noticeable with the naked eye alone….pretty cool.

ORION CONSTELLATION

PLEIADES STAR CLUSTER

If this is a subject that you like and would like to visit some tourist destinations with a flare for Science then you really will enjoy visiting SCIENCE WORLD and the H.R MACMILLAN SPACE CENTRE…click on the links below for further information on Exhibits and events…

SCIENCE WORLD: http://www.scienceworld.ca/

SPACE MUSEUM: http://www.spacecentre.ca/

We will finish this blog with some of the latest stunning footage from the International Space Station:

http://sploid.gizmodo.com/the-best-space-station-time-lapse-yet-has-an-incredible-1475534367