Archive for the ‘Events & Festivals’ Category

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

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.

Santa Claus Parade, The Nutcracker Ballet and more. Plus a Christmas Cake recipe! (Christmas Events Part 2)

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Santa is getting ready for his busy work load next month and that means he will warm up by saying hello to the masses before he gets his head down, to get himself all geared up for festive season he will be paying a visit to Vancouver this Sunday for his annual Santa Claus Parade!

The parade will be happening in downtown Vancouver and it will be starting at Georgia and Broughton St, it will then travel East along Georgia to Howe St, the parade will then turn south on Howe where it will finish not too far away from the Sunset Inn at Howe and Davie St.

As always when Santa is coming to town there will be very large crowds, it is expected that at least 300,000 people will be attending this fab day, 3,500 of these people will be volunteers who will do their very best to ensure that Santa has the best welcome and send off before his duties begin.

Santa really knows how to party, so this year there will be entertainers such as Festive Floats, Choirs to get you in the Festive Cheer, 65 Marching bands and many local community groups participating.
In front of the Vancouver Art Gallery there will be a designated area that will be known as Christmas Square, here you can get your Face Painted, write letters to Santa, Balloon twisting and you can even decorate Ginger Bread men, plus live music to entertain everyone. Once the Parade has finished you should head down to Robson Square Ice Rink where the kids can get their picture taken with Santa

This is also all for a good cause too, there will be a donation drop off zone for the Vancouver Food Bank, the parade has been recognised as one of the leaders for raising fund for the Food bank and since 2004 collected $110,000 and more than 67,380 lbs. of food for families who are in need though-out the Lower Mainland.
It is encouraged that people donate at least a dollar to the Food Bank as this equals to $3 worth of Food for each $1 donation and if you wish to donate food, make sure that it is non perishable.

For further information on the Santa Clause Parade: http://rogerssantaclausparade.com/

THE NUTCRACKER (GOH BALLET)
Probably one of the most famous Ballet’s for the Festive season returns once again to entertain the masses through December.
Prepare to be dazzled by the amazing costumes, choreography and and dramatic set design that the GOH Ballet offers, all danced to the music of Tchaikovsky’s memorable score and performed live by the members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra.
The story of the Nutcracker will take you on an unforgettable journey of Clara’s dream as it comes to life, you will embark on her magical journey through the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets where she is greeted by the enchanting Sugar Plum Fairy, and you will see her battle against the evil mice along the way.

For further information, dates and times: http://gohnutcracker.com/

VAN DUSEN BOTANICAL GARDENS – FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS

From December 11th 2013 through to January 4th 2014 4:30 to 9 p.m. each evening , except December 25th when the Garden is closed. A magical experience for the whole family with 1.4 million twinkling lights all in the stunning setting of these beautiful Botanical gardens.

Check out their Video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=kF–83rIjSE

And for further information: www.vandusengarden.org

CHRISTMAS CAKE RECIPE
It may seem a tad early to bring out the Christmas cake recipe, but there is a reason! If you like to prepare the cake properly with the appropriate amount of the fine liquor then it is wise that you prepare the cake now, and over the next few weeks add the liquor to the cake between now and Christmas so it turns out great!

Cooking time
Prep:25 mins
Cook:2 hrs, 10 mins Plus cooling
Skill level is easy, Cuts into 12-15 slices
Prepare this fruit cake in advance and feed it regularly with rum, brandy or whisky to build the flavour and keep it moist over the coming weeks for maximum flavour.

Ingredients
1kg mixed dried fruits (use a mix of raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries, cranberries, prunes or figs)
zest and juice 1 orange
zest and juice 1 lemon
150ml brandy, Sherry, whisky or rum, plus extra for feeding
250g pack butter, softened
200g light soft brown sugar
175g plain flour
100g ground almonds
½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
100g flaked almonds
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Buy Ingredients

Put the dried fruit, zests and juice, alcohol, butter and sugar in a large pan set over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 mins. Tip the fruit mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool for 30 mins.
Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Line a deep 20cm cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment, then wrap a double layer of newspaper around the outside – tie with string to secure.
Add the remaining ingredients to the fruit mixture and stir well, making sure there are no pockets of flour. Tip into your prepared tin, level the top with a spatula and bake in the centre of the oven for 2 hrs.
Remove the cake from the oven, poke holes in it with a skewer and spoon over 2 tbsp of your chosen alcohol. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.
To store, peel off the baking parchment, then wrap well in cling film. Feed the cake with 1-2 tbsp alcohol every fortnight, until you ice it. Don’t feed the cake for the final week to give the surface a chance to dry before icing.

Recipe courtesy of the Good Food Magazine (UK)

Read about the Festive events happening during November and into December. Its never too early to think about Christmas…Part 1

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Ok ok so its still November and we are about to talk Christmas, but for very good reason. Although we all know that the Christmas Season really gets going around the mid December mark in Vancouver the festivities begin to get underway come Mid November.

If you are planning to visit us between now and the end of the December then this blog will hopefully help you plan some festive activities for all the family, we do hope that you get to visit some of these awesome events.

NOVEMBER EVENTS

4th ANNUAL VANCOUVER CHRISTMAS MARKET
Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6B 2P1
Fri November 22, 2013 – Tue December 24, 2013

Now running in its 4th year, this is a fun market to get you all revved up and in the full festive spirit of Christmas. At this market you will get to experience the feel and vibe of a traditional German styled Christmas Market with all the goodies you can expect, with lots of delicious foods, drinks and festive items for you to enjoy!

Website: http://www.vancouverchristmasmarket.com

CANDYTOWN – A YALETOWN HOLIDAY FESTIVAL
Throughout the Yaletown District
Saturday November 23 from 12pm – 9pm

Candy Candy Candy all around! Check out the Yaletown district and experience Candy treats like you have never done before, after the success of the Candytown of 2012 the event is returning again this year. At Candytown you will be able to buy some delicious items that will sweeten your mouth-buds you will be able to make your own Candy treats, enjoy sleigh rides, listen to great live music and much much more!!!!

Website: http://yaletowninfo.com/events/candytown/

THE PEAK OF CHRISTMAS – GROUSE MOUNTAIN
At Grouse mountain Ski Hill
Sat November 23, 2013 – Tue December 24, 2013

A host of activities will welcome you at this stunning location right at the very top of Grouse Mountain, here you will get to see Reindeer’s, Santa Clause, outdoor Ice Skating, Sleigh Rides, Carol Singing and Christmas Movies.

Website: http://www.grousemountain.com/

LUMINESCENCE AT THE VANCOUVER AQUARIUM
845 Avison Way
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6B 3X8

Thu November 28, 2013 – Wed January 22, 2014

Get into the holiday spirit by exploring this celebration of aquatic light. Gaze at a display of 100-plus origami jellyfish, marvel at an electric eel-powered holiday tree & learn how sea creatures create & reflect light. Take a virtual tour through the depths of the ocean with a deep-dive installation & don’t miss the exhilarating 4-D film Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas. Afterwards, continue the journey to a winter wonderland in Canada’s Arctic Gallery & meet Scuba Claus. Admission is $25 for adults, $18 for students, youth & seniors & $14 for children (ages 4 to 12).

Website: http://www.vanaqua.org/

CHRISTMAS AT FLYOVER CANADA
999 Canada Place
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6C 3C1

Fri November 29, 2013 – Mon January 06, 2014

Enjoy the ride of a lifetime from the comfort of your chair at Flyover Canada – here you will get to see Canada as you have never before with a Christmas twist!

Website: http://www.flyovercanada.com/

CANYON LIGHTS AT CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGE
3735 Capilano Rd
North Vancouver, British Columbia
V7R 4J1

Sat November 30, 2013 – Sat January 04, 2014

Come visit the worlds tallest Christmas tree at the world famous Capilano Suspension Bridge. Prepare to be dazzled by the thousands of lights glittering throughout the rainforest, across the Suspension Bridge & on CLIFFWALK, the Park’s newest attraction. Also part of the fun – a children’s scavenger hunt, gingerbread cookie decorating, sing-a-long carols with the holiday band & glass blowing.

Website: http://www.capbridge.com/

The mountains have a dusting of snow…Time to think about the North Shore Mountain Ski Resorts!

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Earlier in the week Vancouver witnessed the very first dusting of snow high up on the peaks of the North Shore mountains that overlook the city. It’s a nice change to see first hand the beginnings of the impending Winter that will be soon upon us in over a month and half’s time, and we do not complain, when the wet stuff is falling on our heads down here, the White fluffy flakes of snow will be falling in abundance guaranteeing the locals and visitors alike some Winter Alpine fun.

In this blog we will give you a detailed look at the 3 popular Ski Resorts of the North Shore Mountains that dominate the Vancouver Skyline and bring in various visitors from all over the world who love to Ski, Snowboard and more….

CYPRESS MOUNTAIN
A popular resort for Skiing and especially for those who prefer the more challenging runs then this will be the place for you. Cypress Mountain Ski Area is located in the West Vancouver area and is part of the Cypress Provincial Park which is avery popular area for Hiking in the Summer and long distance Skiing in the Winter.

Cypress mountain was also used for certain events during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games that was hosted between Vancouver and Whistler Mountain resorts, the climate leading up to the games had some worried as the weather was unusually warm leading up to the games which had an impact on the amount of Snow on the hills, as the pack was very very low, it was decided that snow would be transported in and extra time was given for the Snow Making machines to salvage the events due – and thankfully it was a success…huzzah! Cypress hosted all of the Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding competitions (Moguls, Aerials, Ski Cross, half-pipe, snowboard cross and parallel giant slalom)

The Ski hill have 53 different Alpine Runs and 19 km cross country of trails which are extremely popular for Snowshoeing. Tours are available for many of these activities.

For further information: http://cypressmountain.com/

GROUSE MOUNTAIN
Probably the most well known of all 3 Ski hills, Grouse Mountain sits directly above the city of North Vancouver and is just one Bus Stop away from the Capilano Suspension Bridge.

Grouse Mountain is a very popular destination all year round due to its well known hiking paths such as the Grouse Grind and its Summer activities at the top of the peak such as the Lumberjack shows, Eye in the Sky (Wind Turbine) Theater & Restaurant.

Skiing on Grouse is certainly the most popular for all ages and abilities, so if you are a complete newbie then this will be the ideal location for you to fin your feet so to speak, some runs are much more gentle than others.

The resort has 26 runs, half of which are lit for Night Skiing and Snowboarding The most prominent run on the mountain is the Cut, one of two beginner runs, which is easily visible from the Vancouver area. It runs alongside the Screaming Eagle chairlift. East of the Cut are several intermediate runs, which take skiers and snowboarders down to the Olympic Express, which accesses the mountain’s easternmost expert runs, most of which originate from the mountain’s 4,100-foot (1,200 m) peak. Grouse Mountain features three green (beginner), 15 blue (intermediate), six black diamond (advanced) and two double black diamond. There is also an Outdoor Ice Rink located in the Village.

For further information: http://www.grousemountain.com/

MOUNT SEYMOUR
Located above North Vancouver, Deep Cove (a popular area for kayaking in the Summer season) and the Burrard Inlet and Indian Arm waterways The resort has 4 lifts, the Mystery Peak Express quad chairlift, Brockton, and Lodge double chairlifts, and the Goldie Lake covered magic carpet. Seymour also offers great Snowshoeing trails that are very popular with groups or just as a solo excursion.

For further information: http://www.mountseymour.com/

Events to look out for in Vancouver this November 2013

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Here is a look at some of the events to delight us during November….tis the season to be Jolly as the festive season begins to influence us at the end of the month….enjoy!

DIWALI FESTIVAL
This annual event that happens in October and November is more commonly known as ‘The Festival of Lights’ Diwali also Deepawali to many has its roots that hark back to ancient India, the festival is a celebration of light and life!

When: October 29 – November 8, 2013.

Website: http://vancouver.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=vancouver&cdn=citiestowns&tm=1339&f=00&su=p284.13.342.ip_p554.23.342.ip_&tt=2&bt=8&bts=0&zu=http%3A//diwalifest.ca/

CHARLES EDENSHAW AT THE VANCOUVER ART GALLERY
One of the most celebrated artists from the Pacific Northwest and recognized as one of the most prolific artists of his day and now in history. Through his Art you will get to see the Haida peoples culture as it is and as it was, you will learn to see how the lives were shaped and hardships that the Haida peoples endured through his creations.

When: October 26, 2013 to February 2, 2014

Website: http://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/the_exhibitions/exhibit_edenshaw.html

CHOR LEONI – MEMORY ETERNAL at ST ANDREW’S WESLEY UNITED CHURCH
In commemoration of the fallen during the World Wars this musical and theatrical tribute will lead you on a journey in memory of these terrible events that cannot be forgotten. This journey will inform and unite everyone together.

When: November 11th (Remembrance Day)

Website: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/events/details/6738

VANCOUVER CHRISTMAS MARKET
The Vancouver Christmas Market is back for its fourth year at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza!
Enjoy our expanded offerings of delicious food items and find your unique Christmas gift! Enjoy seasonal music and a great entertainment program of authentic folk groups!

When: November 22nd to December 24th

Website: http://www.vancouverchristmasmarket.com/

PEAK OF CHRISTMAS at GROUSE MOUNTAIN
Celebrate Christmas in this wonderfully snowy setting at the top of Grouse Mountain, this is a great time to bring the family young and old to kick off the Christmas festivities with plenty on offer to entertain everyone, some features to look out for….SOS Children’s Gingerbread Village, Santa’s Workshop, Visit Prancer, Outdoor Ice Skating, Mountaintop Sleigh Rides and much much more….

When: November 23rd to December 24th

Website: http://www.grousemountain.com/events/the-peak-of-christmas-2013

BRIGHT NIGHTS – STANLEY PARK CHRISTMAS TRAIN
During the holiday season, Stanley Park sparkles with two million twinkling lights, decorating the darkness that comes early at this time of year.

When: End of November till Early January (Closed Xmas day)

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

Indulge yourself at the Festival of Chocolates, and make some Brownies too….

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

On these cold foggy fall days that we are currently experiencing in Vancouver, its time like this when its just nice to curl up with a Hot Chocolate as the fog drifts by. As it happens, this is also the time when the annual ‘Festival of Chocolates’ festival comes to the city, what can be better than a festival that lets us indulge in one of the most popular delicacies around. We do not know many that do not enjoy chocolate.

This festival showcases the very best chocolates around, you will get to experience a wider range of varieties and will also get to learn how to make various chocolate recipes and more…..if you are interested in the Culinary world and specifically the sweeter side of cooking, then this will be the festival for you!

For more information, please check their website to see what is happening
http://www.festivalofchocolate.ca/

And to get you into that chocolate mood, how about trying out this recipe…

Ultimate Chocolate Brownie
3 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons golden flax meal

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda

7 Tablespoons cocoa powder
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into ½ inch pieces
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
¾ teaspoon salt

¼ cup boiling water

1 ½ cups sugar
6 Tablespoons (80 grams) Regular Butter or non-hydrogenated stick margarine, melted (not tub margarine)
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

½ cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

1) Prepare the flax meal, your oven and your baking dish
In a small mixing bowl whisk together the water and flax meal. Let it sit for about 10 minutes so the mixture gets goopy. Place your oven rack on it’s lowest position and preheat your oven to 350F. Line an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with parchment paper allowing excess parchment paper on opposite sides so you can pull the brownies out of the baking dish later.

2) Whisk together the four and baking soda
In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the all-purpose flour and baking soda. Set aside.

3) Mix the vegan brownie dough
In another medium mixing bowl add the cocoa powder, semi-sweet chocolate, espresso powder and salt. Add the boiling water and using a spoon, mix in the ingredients into a paste, making sure that all of the chocolate pieces are melted. Add the sugar, Vegan Butter, vanilla extract, flax meal mixture from Step 1 into the chocolate mixture and mix with an electric mixer until smooth. Stir in the walnuts if you’re using them. Using a spoon, mix in the flour until well combined. The mixture will become extremely thick and you may need to use your hands to mix. Refrain from mixing this dough with an electric mixer at this point; this will overwork the dough and activate too much gluten, negatively affecting the texture of the brownies.

4) Transfer the brownie batter to a baking dish and bake to perfection
Transfer the batter to the baking dish. You may need to use your fingers or a spatula to press the thick dough into place. Bake for 35 minutes on your oven’s lowest rack. Transfer the baking dish to a wire cooling rack and allow it to cool for about an hour.

5) Allow the brownies to cool completely
Transfer the brownies to the wire rack by lifting them out of the baking dish by taking hold of the exposed parchment paper on each side. Allow them to cool completely before slicing into squares.
This recipe makes one 8 x 8 inch baking dish of Ultimate Vegan Brownies.

THE ‘WILL-O’-THE WISP & the JACK O’ LANTERN – Why we Carve Pumpkins at Halloween…

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

As Halloween is fast approaching it is time for us to get creative with the Pumpkin carving! At the hotel, we are putting our heads together to think of cool images to carve into the pumpkins – we will also love for you to help us out -what kind of cool imagery do you want us to carve into our own Pumpkin? If you have any ideas please let us know and even better, share your photos of the cool carvings you have created for this occasion!

In this blog we will discover the origins of pumpkin carving and as to why we continue this tradition every year.

THE ‘WILL-O’-THE WISP & the JACK O’ LANTERN Connection
The tradition of carving pumpkin has various origins and the most popular in well known folklore are the stories of The Will-O’-the Wisp and Jack O’ Lantern.
The ‘Will-O’-the Wisp’ was created by a natural phenomena that happens to occur when plants are decaying over Swampy or Peat Bog areas and are in the process producing a Phosphorescence Glow .
During the 18th Century tales of folklore were created to personify this ghostly apparition and tales of Pixies and Sprites were soon born to explain what was happening. The Sprite was said to form wispy flames of light around it and would lead foolish travelers astray by luring them towards the swampy bogs – where ultimately some may have gotten themselves stuck in the dark murky swamps.
In Latin the light is known as “Ignis Fatuus” which translates “foolish fire.” The reference of the name “will-o’-the-wisp” has been extended to any impractical or unattainable goal.

On the subject of the Phosphorescence Glow there are many common occurrences of this that you can see for yourself, materials such as Paints, Glow in the dark toys and Clock dials are all examples of a man made material that presents the Phosphorescence glow processes in opposition to the chemical states happening naturally.

The Jack O’ Lantern is related to the Wisp, but in modern times when we follow this tradition the Lantern seems to be a more common phrase that comes to mind.
The origins of this are from Irish and Scottish Myths and Legendary Folklore that come in various incarnations. In short, the tales usually involves a man ‘Jack’ Who has an undesirable trait wether he be stingy or a thief and has played a trick on the devil which never bodes well for his Soul. As punishment, Jack’s Soul after passing is generally to be found in Limbo as the devil agrees too spare it, yet, unbeknownst to Jack it means the soul cannot be entered into Heaven nor can it be let into Hell in part due to his lifestyle decisions and as well as the experience with the devil itself!!!

The images portrayed into the Pumpkins are of a ghoulish nature for these reasons, and over the years that we have traditionally celebrated the tradition, there have been many pranks played into the custom too – so the evolution of some of these Lanterns portray humorous looking Ghouls and imagery.

Below are some Lanterns that were created with some friends on a Halloween excursion to Seattle…..what do you think of them? Cool eh!