Archive for the ‘Events & Festivals’ Category

Exploring our neighbourhood – Vancouver West End. Part 1 – Dining and Shopping.

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

When coming to Vancouver and especially our community be sure to make the most of the local area that is the known as The West End. In this blog we will write about what you can find when you are checking out the community – The West End has plenty of history and a unique vibrant look and vibe – from Historical Buildings with some that have been turned into cute museums, a great extensive shopping district that is Robson St, Parks and Beaches to a vast restaurant scene for your dining pleasure – The West End really does have it all.

RESTAURANTS – WEST END DINING
From Davie Village (which is where we are located) to Denman St and Robson St you will find so many choices for places to eat and be merry, some places have been part of the fabric for many many years, while some are brand new and a welcome change as some of these places you may have never tried before!

Davie Street (which is immediately adjacent to the hotel) offers a large selection of delicious ethnic, international and local dining options favored by Vancouver residents, as well as specialty shops, there is also Denman and Robson to discover for excellent food options.
Here are some of our best picks for the West End……

Banana Leaf – Malaysian 1043 Davie St.
Prepare to step out of Vancouver and into the warm heart of Malaysia at the award-winning Banana Leaf Malaysian Cuisine. Cheerful atmosphere, friendly service, colourful traditional décor, and excellent prices create a dining experience to remember.
Website: http://www.bananaleaf-vancouver.com/locations.html
They also have locations on Denman and Robson St too!

Raincity Grill – Pacific Northwest, 1193 Denman St.
Open since 1992, Raincity Grill has become a fixture in the West End, capturing the essence of Vancouver in food, wine and atmosphere. The menu focuses on seafood, game, poultry, and organic vegetables from British Columbia, Alberta, Washington State and Oregon. Dedicated to developing a menu based on local ingredients, the team behind Raincity Grill believes local resources will increase as restaurants look more and more to their own backyard and local waters for the best ingredients.

Website: http://www.raincitygrill.com/index.php?pg=home

GUU- Japanese “Izakaya” 4 downtown locations – The West End location is on Thurlow St
Guu serves home style Japanese food in a loud and electric atmosphere. Food is served from an open kitchen and the dishes are generally tapas-sized.
Website: http://guu-izakaya.com/

Cin Cin – Italian – Robson St
As Vancouver’s leading Italian restaurant, CinCin is your destination for authentic Italian flavours in the heart of downtown. A contemporary Italian cuisine, smell the wood-burning forno, and drink from the award winning wine list.
Website: http://cincin.net/

SHOPPING on ROBSON ST
With the most fashionable shopping in Vancouver, this major thoroughfare in downtown features a concentration of trendy shops and restaurants. It hosts some of the hottest names in fashion including Hermès, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Betsey Johnson, Chanel, Burberry, Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Lacoste, Coach, and Salvatore Ferragamo. Robson Street is a short walk from Sunset Inn & Suites.
For further information on Robson St: http://www.robsonstreet.ca/

April Events in Vancouver.

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

April is the time when the transition from the Winter Season to Summer starts to become more noticeable in and around the city. We will be welcoming our first Cruise Ships of the season to our wonderful city and we will be looking forward to introducing new visitors to Vancouver, we will make sure it will be memorable even if it is just for a day!

So if you are coming to Vancouver in the next few weeks, here are some events that we feel you may want to check out, and of course it is Easter time again – so lots of great events for all the family to choose from, read further below and you will know where you can get your chocolate egg fill, between the yummy chocolates and our Jelly Beans at the hotel, one things for sure you will all be bouncing off the walls……Enjoy!

WEEKLY REGULAR FAVORITES

Thursday night Jazz at the Fairview Pub.
One of Vancouver’s best venues for live Jazz, Rhythm & Blues entertainment. This legendary Vancouver pub is popular with locals and guests alike and features live music and drink specials at the full-service bar. Our popular Thursday Night Jazz features John Nolan Jazz trio followed by the house band. Visit us online for schedule of upcoming shows.

Website: http://www.fairviewpub.ca/

Friday Late Night Movies at the Rio Theatre
Check out The Rio Theatre’s late night movies on Friday nights.
Friday Late Night Movies Rio Theatre
It’s got everything you could ever want:
- Cheap tickets
- Booze
- Hyper-into-it hipsters in costume
- Yummy, delicious, buttered popcorn
The Rio Theatre hosts late night movies for adults (19+ only), so you won’t have any kids kicking the back of your seat and crying (that’s just that annoying drunk guy). The movies shown are classics, the kind that you haven’t watched since you had a VCR and a non-HD TV.
Tickets are only $6 in costume or $8 without. So, if you’re looking for a fun, cheap way to please your date, the Rio Theatre Friday Late Night Movies are where it’s AT.
Check out the full schedule of movies on the Rio Theatre

Website: http://riotheatre.ca/events/

FORBIDDEN VANCOUVER PRESENTS PROHIBITION CITY WALKING TOUR
Every Thursdays and Saturdays

On Prohibition City you explore the strange, corrupt and colourful history of prohibition-era Vancouver. Hear of the unlikely alliance of temperance campaigners and anti-saloon activists who together convinced the province to go dry back in 1917. Discover what life was like under prohibition, with stories of blind pigs, private members clubs, corruption, bootlegging, and free-flowing medicinal liquor. And learn the stories of the city’s most notorious mayor, LD Taylor, its most beautiful showgirl and its greatest rum-runners.

Website: http://forbiddenvancouver.ca/home/prohibition-city/

Yoga At The Aquarium – April 25th – VANCOUVER AQUARIUM in STANLEY PARK
The Aquarium is excited to offer a unique experience to stretch, strengthen and breathe into a more peaceful state of body and mind in the Aquarium’s Arctic Gallery. Accompanied by the Aquarium’s aquatic life, you will enjoy the serenity of the underwater calm. This gentle Hatha yoga class is for all levels and will include movement and postures for all levels. Come join us for this incredible opportunity to see just how these peaceful surroundings will support you in finding your own stillness and calm.

Website: http://www.vanaqua.org/experience/events/annual-and-upcoming-events/yoga

EASTER IN VANCOUVER
Vancouver Easter Egg Hunts
Get the kids out and start hunting for those Easter Eggs, this will be so much fun! Here is where you can do this and get your fill of yummy chocolate!

The 6th Annual Great A-Mazing Egg Hunt at the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens – Saturday, April 19th
Limited Tickets on Sale starting Monday, March 31st, in-person only at the Visitor Centre, Admissions Desk.
Choose from four different sessions: 9 am – 10 am, 10 am – 11 am, 11 am – Noon, Noon – 1pm.
Join us on the Great Lawn for activities, games, and bring your basket for a good old fashion egg hunt. Enjoy live music by Razzmajazz and a magic show by Bell E. Button’s the Clown. Fun for children between the ages of 2 to 10 years of age.
Pre-purchased tickets required. Ticket Prices: Child $7.00, Adult $10.75, Senior $8.00. Member Adult and Member Senior Free with Child ticket purchase. All sales final, no refunds. Rain or Shine.

Website and events: http://vandusengarden.org/visit/whats-happening/events-calendar/archive/2014-04

Easter Train – The Stanley Park Miniature Train April 16-21..
Adults: $3.50; Child/Youth (3-17yrs): $8:75; Toddler (0-2yrs): $5.25
Hop on by the Stanley Park Easter Train. Enjoy a fun-filled day of activities, including a ride on the miniature train, egg hunts, crafts, games, a bunny ear workshop, and more.

Website: http://vancouver.ca/news-calendar/Stanley-Park-Easter-Train-March-20-2014.aspx

Grouse Mountain – Easter Brunch
This year’s Easter festivities will feature delicious brunch classics for all ages and an exciting Easter Egg Hunt led by the Easter Bunny himself.
Between 10am and 2pm, we will be offering a 3-course prix fixe and a children’s prix fixe menu. Call 604.998.5045 to reserve your table.

Website: http://www.grousemountain.com/events/easter-brunch-2014

Its a great weekend to be Irish! Come and along join them this St Patricks Day weekend…

Friday, March 14th, 2014

There are a lot of events coming up this weekend for the celebration of St Patricks Day which falls on Monday March 17th, not only will there be a great parade to attend, great live music to get your ‘Jig’ on, there is also the finale to the European rugby tournament called the ’6 NATIONS RUGBY’ we have a sneaky feeling that Ireland will be title holders this year.

Before we delve into the sports, lets us fill you in on the upcoming events over the weekend…

CELTICFEST
There are some excellent events to attend with the grand finale of Celtic-Fest, here is a free event you can attend with all the family.
Celtic Village & Street Market
Free for all the family!
Saturday, March 15 | 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday, March 16 | 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Granville Street from Robson to Nelson & Robson Square

Just follow the sounds of laughter and music…Celtic culture and spirit lights up downtown streets & squares all weekend long!
Sunday March 16 |12:30 – 4:30 pm – Featuring a live bands on the Mahony & Sons Music Stage
Further Information: http://www.celticfestvancouver.com/schedule-tickets/2014/mahony-sons-stage.php

Celtic Circles
Special on-the-street locations where you can come upon Medieval sword-fighting and song and dancing olde worlde style!

CelticFest Community Stage at Robson Square
Delight in Irish and Scottish community dance groups, pipe up at the Penny Whistle Party, feel the beat at the Bodhrán Drum Circle, and groove to some hip Gaelic rap!

Celtic Street Market
Wander through happy crowds and shop! Artisan and craft booths offer everything from woven goods to jewelry, face painting and more. As we get closer to the festival, check the Street Market page for a list of market vendors.
Wander through happy crowds and shop! Artisan and craft booths offer everything from woven goods to jewelry, face painting and more. As we get closer to the festival, check the Street Market page for a list of market vendors.

Website: http://www.celticfestvancouver.com/

IRISH BARS
Doolins Irish Pub – 654 Nelson Street @ Granville Website: www.doolins.ca
Doolins will be showing the 6 Nations rugby Live – read further below for more details…..

Ceili’s Modern Irish Pub (Granville) – 670 Smithe Street @ Granville Website: www.ceilis.com

Johnnie Fox’s Irish Snug – 1033 Granville St Website: http://www.johnniefox.ca/

Irish Heather Gastro Pub 210 Carrall St Gastown Website: http://www.irishheather.com/

ST PATRICKS DAY PARADE
The 10th Anniversary St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the festival’s largest and most popular free event, drawing people from all cultures, backgrounds, ages and all walks of life. This colourful (very green) display of fabulous sight and sound takes to the streets on Sunday, March 16th at 11:00 AM.

6 NATIONS RUGBY – Live @ Doolins.
The finale of the 6 Nations rugby will be happening on Saturday March 15th – it will be an early morning event, but if you are keen and eager get yourself down to Doolins where they will show all 3 games. This finale will have an extra bit of Spice as not only are Ireland likely to clinch the title due to an excellent points difference, and if they get the win over France it will absolutely be theirs! It will also be quite an emotional occasion for the Irish fans as their hero and now legendary player Brian O’Driscoll (who is the most capped played in Rugby union history to date) will be playing his very last game – so we anticipate it will be huge!
6 nations Website: http://www.rbs6nations.com/en/home.php

Just for a bit of fun here is the Big Bus team having some St Patricks Day fun!
http://havefunwithus.ca/stpaddys2014.html
Big Bus are awesome they are one of the best ways to see the city and they have sweet deals with the hotel, so come to the front and purchase your 2 day for the price of 1 ticket with us.
Website: http://bigbus.ca/home/

Events to enjoy in March 2014

Friday, February 28th, 2014

The event season is really beginning to to get going during the month of March, here are some of the highlights to look out for that we feel you will enjoy, we welcome back some regular annual events that are staples of the Vancouver calender, and as always March brings with it a Celtic twist for you all to enjoy and get your Jig on!

CELTIC FEST 10th ANNIVERSARY
When? March 8th-16th
Yes it IS that time of year again when many of us look to our Celtic roots and immerse ourselves in the Celtic culture with Song, Dance and an extra special amount of frivolity as it is done Celtic style.
Celtic Fest is celebrating its 10th anniversary so we are in no doubt that this years shenanigans will be big and you will be treated to 9 days worth of great Music, Theatre and a great Parade to really get you in the swing of things…….it promises to be the biggest and best this year around and we are sure it will be awesome. There will be more details on the big parade down below under the St Patricks Day celebrations….

The Festival will be occurring at various venues throughout the city, please click on the link below for further information…
Celtic Fest: http://www.celticfestvancouver.com/

STANLEY PARK HISTORICAL WALKING TOURS
When? Sunday March 9th, 2014
In memory of E. Pauline Johnson (also known in Mohawk as Tekahionwake –pronounced: dageh-eeon-wageh, literally: ‘double-life’) was a famous Canuck writer originally from the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation in Ontario. In later life she was a West End resident in Vancouver until her death on March 7th 1913. She was widely known for her written works of poetry and her performances that celebrated her First Nations heritage. While living in Vancouver – she was well known here for her appreciation of Stanley Park and had written various stories regarding the Park, specifically on Deadmans Island and the famous Siwash Rock where her Ashes were scattered after her untimely death to Breast Cancer at the age of 51. Her funeral was noted as one of the largest seen in Vancouver at that time and was held on what would have been her 52nd birthday.

Pauline Johnson will also be remembered at the 17th annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner, we have written more about this event further along the page….

To commemorate her life and works, there will be a walking tour in Stanley Park in her memory and the walking tour will happen come rain or shine – all you need to do is show up with a cash donation of $10 which will go towards the Stanley Park Ecological Society.

Stanley Park History: events, walking tours, exhibits & programs: http://stanleyparkhistory.wordpress.com/

Stanley Park Ecological Society: http://stanleyparkecology.ca/

ST PATRICKS DAY
When? March 16th
With Celtic Fest bowing out on March 16th – this can only mean one thing, a finale to end all finales and an excuse to be Irish on the one and only St Patricks Day!
A huge Parade as always will be making its way through the streets of Vancouver with Green and lots of Shamrocks, Green Beer and plenty of Guinness all courtesy of the Celtic Fest Finale and of course St Paddy!

There are some great Irish Bars in Vancouver for you to choose from that will of course be taking part in the celebrations, here is a little information on each of the downtown Irish bars…
The Blarney Stone

One of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Vancouver, the Blarney Stone throws a huge St. Patrick’s Day party on March 17 with green beer, Irish Dancers, full Irish menu, and live music.
This year, the entire street closes down for an all-day party that runs from 9am to 2am on Tuesday, March 18. The event is all ages until 6pm.
Website:http://blarneystone.ca/

Doolin’s Irish Pub
Doolin’s teams up with Vancouver CelticFest for five days of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, March 12 – 17, and includes live bands, Celtic Folk Singers, dancers, Irish food, and more.
Website:http://www.doolins.ca/

The Irish Heather
One of Gastown’s favourite neighbourhood bars, the Irish Heather is a classic location for tossing back Guiness and Irish Whiskey on St. Patrick’s Day!
Website:http://www.irishheather.com/

Ceili’s Irish Pub & Restaurant
Vancouver’s largest Irish pub and eatery, Ceili’s celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with live music, Irish dancers, bag pipers, and a huge crowd.
Website:http://www.ceilis.com/home?sid=63178

St. Patricks Day Club Crawl 2014
Aimed at students–tickets are $25 and include transportation between venues–this St. Patrick’s Day Club Crawl starts at downtown Vancouver’s famous Roxy Nightclub or the Blarney Stone and gets you “front of the line” entrance to three more nightclubs (all entrance fees are included in the $25 ticket), plus party favours, prizes and contests.
Website:

Now in its 10th year Gung Haggis Fat Choy is now happening on March 16th.

GUNG HAGGIS FAT CHOY
When? March 16th
A familiar event with an unusual connection – this event marries the Chinese New Year and the celebration of the famous Bard Robert ‘Rabbi’ Burns. Now running in its 17th consecutive year the dinner will not only mark and ring in the Chinese New Year (the year of the Horse), there will be poetry read over dinner not only from the great Bard himself but will pay homage to Pauline Johnson.
Website:http://www.gunghaggis.com/2013/12/24/2014-gung-haggis-fat-choy-dinner-tickets-now-on-sale/

TEDtalks
When? March 17th-21st
The infamous TEDtalks come to Vancouver this month and they are in celebratory mood, TED talks are 30 years old and will be welcoming the masses at the Vancouver Convention centre, we expect the city to be pretty busy for just this conference alone.
Website:http://conferences.ted.com/TED2014

Springtime in Vancouver……Part 2 – Activities to explore.

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

NORTH SHORE MOUNTAINS AND ACTIVITIES IN SPRING
Some of you may have heard that Vancouver just received a considerable amount of snowfall over the weekend although accumulations were at a premium in the downtown area, this was not the case for the rest of the greater Vancouver area. This comes as welcome relief for the Ski hills of Cypress mountain, Grouse mountain and Mount Seymour as the snow pack was looking a little thin up till this point, but with 3 days of constant snowfall it was the giddy up that the Ski hills sorely wanted.
This makes for excellent news for anyone who wants to see us in the Spring, and like we had mentioned in the first installment of this blog, in the Spring season you can get a few hours of Winter sports in – whether that be skiing, snowboarding or Snowshoeing, and then back down to sea level, you can enjoy a walk around the sea wall without feeling too cold, that sounds like a win win situation for us. It may also increase the chances of a late season for the hills, if we are to look at how last years season transpired, the hills were able to keep open until the first week of May, we are keeping everything crossed that this will happen again this year!

Grouse Mountain
This is one of the best seasons to visit Grouse and its not just for the Sporting activities which of course is the big draw up here. Grouse Mountain is home to many animals that cannot live in the wild due to injury or that fact that they were unable to learn the skills required to survive in their natural habitat. Grouse is home to many creatures who are now in a safe and comfortable environment where they are well looked after – you too can visit them when you are up there and as it is the spring season if they are the hibernating type of critter, they will be ready to wake up. The animals that you will get a chance to see are Grizzly Bears, Gray Wolves, Owls and the visiting Hummingbirds to name but a few.

Grouse Mountain endangered wildlife refuge: https://www.grousemountain.com/wildlife-refuge

Grouse Mountain Website: https://www.grousemountain.com/

Whale Watching
Whale watching season begins in March and typically runs till October. The Georgia Strait is in the direct path of these large mammals and have been wowing people for many many years. The various types of Whales that you can expect to see are Orca’s (Killer Whales), Gray Whales and various Dolphins which are the most common sightings. IOn some occasions we may even be treated to a visit from these amazing animals close to the Vancouver shoreline itself a very rare occurrence! A few years ago a single Gray Whale decided to meander its way up False Creek for a few days at a time, our guess is that there was a great deal on Fish at the Granville Island Market and the Whale wanted to see what was happening, and who can blame it?

There are various ways to watch the Whales with guided tours, we recommend Wild Whales Vancouver down at Granville Island, you can also make a reservation at the Front Desk at the Sunset Inn and Suites.

Wild Whales Vancouver: http://www.whalesvancouver.com/

VANCOUVER GARDENS
As you will have read in the previous Blog article before we wanted to share with you the sights that Vancouver has to offer when the plants and trees start their blooms. If you are into trees and plants then we highly recommend that you visit the local gardens in the area, and even take the trip over to Victoria to see what they have on show.
Queen Elizabeth Park – Van Dusen Gardens
Queen Elizabeth Park is located in the central area of Vancouver, its location is fantastic due to its elevation, you will find the park is on a hill that overlooks the entire city with unobstructed views of the Mountains and beyond. Van Dusen Gardens is such a delight for all plant lovers, the gardens are to be found among an abandoned quarry with some interesting geological features.

Van Dusen Gardens: http://vandusengarden.org/

Queen Elizabeth Park: https://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/queen-elizabeth-park.aspx

In our next post we will inform you of all the major events that will be happening in Vancouver during March

Spring time in Vancouver – Part 1…Gorgeous Wildlife and Plantlife

Monday, February 24th, 2014

For many of us who live in Vancouver the Season of Spring is by far one of the best, with the longer days becoming more noticeable and the weather slowly but surely warming it is a time where the city and nature start to wake from the long long nights of Winter.

There are many reasons to come to Vancouver between March and June not just because is it still a relatively cheaper time to stay in the city. The tourist season will generally start to really kick into gear during the latter half with the volume of Cruise Ships increasing, Spring break and so on, so if crowds are not your thing then very likely this season should really appeal to you as the city is not too too busy.

Many of us love Vancouver in the Spring for one thing overall and that is for the blooming of the plants and the explosion of colour because of this. As the leaves begin to unfold and the increase of the local wildlife who are during their rounds, where they will be getting ready for the mating season and need to fill their hungry bellies – so much to choose from that will no doubt grab your interest.

We will break down this blog into 2 parts so that there is something for everyone to be interested in, and, as always we will have further blogs that will keep you up to date on all the major events over the coming months.

CLIMATE
The Climate in Vancouver is very well known as soggy, mild with lots of rain! However, this year has been different, admittedly this particular Winter has not played ball as normal as it has been predominantly dry, it has had the odd blast of the Arctic air licking our shores (albeit brief) and its snowing as I type so we are still reminded that it is still the Winter season.

It has also been a remarkably sunny winter so therefore that means it has been very very dry. This area of the world is known as a temperate Rain-forest and we do normally average quite a few inches of rain each month during November and May respectively, in fact, the crazy weather that has been occurring in Europe and more specifically the UK is what we would call typical. So in a year that has been anything but normal we have to admit – it has has been quite nice to be able to get outdoors when we normally bunker down.

So what remains for the rest of 2014? Of course we will never really know, but many are predicting that it could be a year when we may get water advisories due to the lack of the precipitation, it could also mean that for all the visitors coming here in the Spring and Summer it could very well be an outstanding season to come. Meteorologists who are looking at the El Nino and La Nina fluctuations in the Pacific are seeing a possible transition to a mild El nino pattern which we has not been present in the last few years, if and a big if as always this is the case, this area of the world could expect a dry and warmer pattern -top that with the effect of this dry winter Summer 2014 may seem warmer than usual, only time will tell.

Spring in Vancouver is typically changeable with the rains becoming more showery with the odd brief cold spell, there is always an outside chance that snow may fall even as late as the end of March and at a push April – due to its topsy turvy nature, either way the great thing about Vancity is that you can get some late season skiing in on the slopes and then come back down to earth for a nice stroll down the beach – the Sun is starting to have an influence so it may be pleasent and warm down at sea level. In turn that means the world around us is waking up so the next section will explain about the blooming of the Plants and what wildlife to expect here.

TREES AND PLANTS
It is fair to say that the Spring season is one of the most colourful and stunning of all seasons and in Vancouver it is very visible- what you will also notice is the many varieties of Plant-life that hail from areas such as the Far East Asia with the main feature dominating are the Cherry Blossoms, they seriously show off what they have got especially during late April and May – there is a great Festival and Website that is dedicated to the Cherry Blossoms it gives you a comprehensive guide as to where the blooms are occurring around the city, what kind of blossoms they are, and what to expect over the next few weeks as they progress.
A major highlight of the Cherry Blossom blooms are the trees that line the square at Burrard Street Skytrain station – here there are so many Blossoms in bloom that they create a stunning pink and white canopy ceiling above you, its gorgeous.

Although the Cherry blossoms tend to take the most accolades in the area there are more amazing plants and trees to check out.

Cherry Blossom Festival: http://www.vcbf.ca/

Deciduous Trees
Vancouver is also home to some pretty stunning Deciduous trees in the area and in the Spring they really show off the very best of their Spring Blooms, trees such as Magnolia Vulcan this tree dazzles with a brilliant ruby-red 20-cm flowers. It thrives in every soil type and has sturdy upright growth. You can find this on the Corner of Beach Ave and Burrard St nearby, Magnolias are found all throughout the West End and vary in size and shapes.
Found all over but you can see it in the Rose Garden in Stanley Park The Prunus ‘Akebono’ (ornamental cherry) its pink blossom slowly turn to a soft pink-white from mid-March to early April.

Just around the corner from us is a wonderful Magnolia tree that is getting ready to put on its own Spring show, take a left turn from the Hotel and Burnaby Street onto Thurlow St and you will see this gorgeous tree!

WILDLIFE and STANLEY PARK
Spring is also the season when you notice the influx of the migrating birds and of course the critters that are now waking up from their deep winter slumber.
We recommend that when you do visit the parks (Its our stunning oasis in the city) we really do encourage you to keep your eyes peeled as there is plenty of wildlife to spot on the ground and in the skies.

The Great Blue Herons.
These majestic creatures have made a small area in Stanley Park their natural home for nesting and it is in surprisingly large numbers – it seems that in many other areas of the world the Herons are found to be dwindling in numbers, thankfully this is not the case in Vancouver, we hope that this is a healthy continuing trend.
During March we will see the return of the male Herons, the best place to see them are down by the Tennis Courts on Beach Avenue (Which is not too far a walk from the Sunset) the male herons will return to their designated nests where they will hope to attract the females whom arrive a short while later.

Once they do arrive the usual courtship ritual begins, you can spot this when the couples are in their nests and will cross their bills regularly, together they help maintain their nests (some return to the existing ones and like to modernise and spruce them up too).
Come the end of April and early May you will start to see the chicks hatching from their nests, it is quite a sight to see. At the last count there are around 165 to 170 nests, this location has been a regular home since 1921 there were many nests across the creek in Vanier Park, but now, only a handful remain.

Heron Colony of Stanley Park: http://www.greatervancouverparks.com/StanleyHeronColony01.html

Here is a video of the Herons in the Park
Blue Herons of Vancouver

The Elusive Coyote
Coyotes breeding season occurs from January through April and there is always a chance that you will catch a quick glance of them as Spring progresses to Summer. Cubbing season will be well under way by then so the Coyotes will be busy looking for food not only for themselves but for their new offspring too. If you do manage to see them – just let the Coyotes be, they may look a little under nourished but don’t be tempted to feed them as these critters are more than capable and happy to forage by themselves.
An interesting fact about the Coyotes, they were introduced into Vancouver in the 1980s and very quickly established themselves into the urban setting. They are a little fearful of humans when they are not treated or respected as the animals that they are, however, this is not a cause for alarm, just leave them be and they will carry on their merry way as long as they are not distracted – it is not unusual to find them wandering the street or even venturing deeper into the city, Coyotes live where ever they can get comfortable, they only make Dens for the purpose of bringing up the cubs, otherwise, leaves and shrubs will be more than fine for a home sweet home.

Living with Coyotes: http://stanleyparkecology.ca/conservation/co-existing-with-coyotes/

Migrating Birds
A sure sign of Spring is the sound of the Birds that are making their way around the globe and at this time of year start to make their presence known in the city, this is really noticeable by their chirping, whistles and regular songs that become more and more familiar, and of course the plumage, they really do begin to get more and more colourful!
The birds that arrive come in all shapes and sizes of course and there are far too many to mention here, but we will note a few to look out for, and please click on the link below so you can read in depth of the many other species not mentioned here. Keep an eye out for Hawks, Bald Eagles, Chickadees, Hummingbirds and of Canada Geese – easily spotted by their famous flying V formation!

A cool occurrence that happens everyday is when the Species of Gulls and Crows make their way home to their respective nests and roosts, if you look up at the skies roughly an hour before and up to Sunset you may get to witness a very large Murder of Crows heading east to their roosting spot in Burnaby, its is quite a sight to see – at the very same time, you will see the Gulls making their way home from inland out to the coast where their nests are.

Birds of Vancouver: http://birdvancouver.com/blog_april12.html

Vancouver Events that you should see during February and March!!!

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Check out some great events that are coming to Vancouver over the next few weeks.

CHUTZPAH! Saturday, February 22, 2014 – Sunday, March 09, 2014
Come along and see the very best of performance Arts from the Jewish community of Vancouver. You will be treated to a vast array of diverse performances that the whole family can enjoy showcasing the very best of Jewish talent, the Festival is now in its 14th year in Vancouver and held at the Norman Rothstein Theatre .

Website: http://chutzpahfestival.com/

Norman Rothstein Theatre: http://www.normanrothsteintheatre.com/

36TH ANNUAL VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL WINE FESTIVAL – Monday, February 24, 2014 – Sunday, March 02, 2014
This is a massive event for all you Wine lovers out there, come and experience some fantastic Wines from the region and around the world. There are also some tables there that we think you should check out such as Marquis Wine Cellars which is our local Wine Store around the corner from us on Davie St, and Harry Mcwatters collection, harry is a good friend and guest of ours at the Sunset Inn, he produces some fine fine wines, check them out!

Wine Festival Website http://vanwinefest.ca/

Mcwatters Collection www.harrymcwatters.com

Marquis Wine Cellars www.marquis-wines.com

2014 COASTAL FIRST NATIONS DANCE FESTIVAL – Friday, March 07, 2014 – Saturday, March 08, 2014
Produced by the Dancers of Damelahamid in partnership with the UBC Museum of Anthropology The 2014 festival returns to the UBC Museum of Anthropology.

Also while you are down there, you really should check out the Museum of Anthropology which features exhibits, collections, calendars, and programs from the museum specializing in First Nations culture, it is a great place to visit and the surrounding of the UBC campus are incredibly stunning.

Website: http://damelahamid.ca/coastal-dance-festival/

Valentines Day in and around Vancouver…..

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

BUY SOME YUMMY FOOD AND GROCERIES FOR A ROMANTIC MEAL AT THE GRANVILLE ISLAND MARKET
Granville Island public market has an amazing amount of variety of produce, fine artisan foods and delicacies for you to enjoy. If you want to do something special and romantic – head down to the Island where you can purchase some really amazing food items and you can prepare the meal here at The Sunset Inn using our fully equipped en-suite kitchen.

WINE AND DINE YOUR LOVED ONE
If you decide to make the small trip to Granville Island you should also check out Liberty Wine Merchants, here they have an excellent selection of Wines for you to splurge and enjoy with your loved one. Valentines day needs to have a nice tipple – so here you can find a yummy Champagne or Sparkling WINE, or how about a nice Rose to accompany your romantic meal together.

Liberty Wine Merchants – Granville Island http://libertywinemerchants.com/

Closer by to the hotel is MARQUIS WINE CELLARS – they have a very large selection of high End wines for you to enjoy. Website: http://www.marquis-wines.com/

JUMPING THE BROOM – GRANVILLE ISLAND BROOM SHOP
While you are down there – is there a chance that you may be popping the question to your loved one? You can always follow the tradition of Jumping The Broom, which, on a personal note is a tradition that is closely connected to my Welsh Roots – This is an old age custom that has its roots in the United Kingdom and more specifically in Wales where it would take place at the wedding ceremony. The term derives from the expression of a ‘Broomstick marriage’ it basically implies that the ceremony is being used for reasons that make the marriage seem illegitimate – so it is custom to ‘jump the broom’ as a way of expressing that the marriage is not null and void. If you were known to have performed a broomstick marriage it would likely mean that your wedding was not performed within the Anglican church and therefore classed as an illegitimate marriage – oh the Welsh!

So on that note, please check out this awesome cute Shop called The Granville Island Broom Company. They make their own brooms on site and come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and many of these cute artsy brooms have a very Pacific north West Vibe to them. A perfect and cute gift that may well be the biggest moment of the day…..if they get the hint that is!
Granville Island Broom Co http://broomcompany.com/

GO AND SEE A QUIRKY VALENTINES DAYS SHOW – THE TRUE HEROINES VALENTINES DAY CABARET
TWO NIGHTS ONLY.
FEBRUARY 13th & 14th 2014 @ 8 PM

IT’S THE SAME CABARET YOU KNOW AND LOVE, BUT SEXIER…
After playing to a sold-out house last March at The Rio Theatre & again in August at The Anza The True Heroines are back with a brand new show at a brand new venue.
In this episode of the True Heroines live cabaret; you’ll think you’ve taken a step back in time to Paris 1946. Immerse yourself into the secret lives of these wartime entertainers as they infiltrate the Corporation in order to save one of their own. The leggy ladies of this classic cabaret combine burlesque moves, Fosse-style choreography and story lines from their web-series, to put a shiny new coat of gloss on their classic romp.

FOR TICKETS TO THE FEBRUARY 13th SHOWhttp://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/555750
FOR TICKETS TO THE FEBRUARY 14th SHOWhttp://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/560637

The True Heroines are best known for their online Podcast series, they do not do many performances live so it is something we highly recommend you see, check out their website for further information: http://thetrueheroines.com/

VALENTINES DINNER AND DANCE CRUISE
Enjoy the romance of the sea at this dinner and dance cruise, including a gourmet buffet and a complimentary glass of champagne. Sail the Pride of Vancouver, 450 Denman St $64.95/person, 604-687-5533, vancouvercharters.com

ROMANTIC STROLL IN AND AROUND STANLEY PARK
Stanley Park is a really nice place to visit for a romantic stroll, If you like, you can even get a tour using the Horse and carriage tours around Stanley park – and for an extra romantic vibe take a nice wee stroll down the Lovers Walk in the Park.

Horse and Carriage: http://www.stanleypark.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/

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