Archive for February, 2013

Celticfest and St Patricks Day Parade.

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Spring is coming, it really is, and that means that we will get to see many more fun events to choose from as the season starts to slowly warm and wake from the long Winter slumber.

One of the biggest events that has taken a life of its own is CelticFest and the St Patrick Day celebrations and parade. This festival is quite the phenomena, its funny how all of a sudden we become Irish overnight – and in all honesty, why not? The Irish know how to party, have a great Beer that some of you may know about, they know how to dance, and, if you believe the stereotype, are ‘to be sure’ to have Red hair and will ‘thank you a million’ for coming out to celebrate with them.

The Festival runs from March 9th to March 17th where the big day and Parade concludes this festive period. the festival is one of the biggest of the early Spring season and you should wear something green in solidarity. This years parade follows the same route as 2012

If you want to catch an awesome parade – click on the links below where you can see the best of the St Paddys Day celebrations around Vancouver. The festival attracts well over 300 000 visitors a year featuring dancers, stilt walkers, music, some Irish Wolfhounds and more – so get your Jig on!

http://www.celticfestvancouver.com/parade.php

Popular Irish style pubs to visit are -

Doolins Irish Bar.
A popular favorite on Granville Street right in the heart of the entertainment district (especially the younger crowd) This will be bursting at the seams during the St Paddy Weekend.

http://www.doolins.ca/

Johnnie Fox’s Irish Snug.
A small but cute bar that is opposite Doolins on Granville, this to us is by far one of the most authentic looking Irish bars and really seems to have captured the essence and flavour of what an Irish style bar actually looks like. The food here is fantastic too…!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Johnnie-Foxs-Irish-Snug/122975751089380

At the time of writing, the webpage for Johnnie Fox’s seems to be under maintenance, please look at the facebook link above as this will be just as beneficial if not more!

Ceili’s
Located a couple of blocks north from Johnnie Fox’s and Doolins, this bar also captures the imagery of what a Celtic themed bar should look like, check out the impressive display of Whisky on the walls there, so many that it takes a wee ladder to find the items.

http://www.ceilis.com/

The Irish Heather
A fantastic Irish Gastropub that has undergone some major renovations over the years. This is fine Irish dining at its best, it has a high end quality to the place without necessarily breaking the bank either, unless you choose the more expensive route. A must see dining out fixture when you are visiting Gastown.

http://www.irishheather.com/

Historical Heritage in the West End

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

When arriving in Vancouver the first thing people seem to notice about its look are the tall Glass Skyscrapers that dominate the downtown Skyline, you can easily think that this is a city that is somewhat bereft of history…but that is not simply not true. If you decide to get around the city by foot, you will be amazed at the pockets of history that are dotted all around, and there are the more obvious older areas sheltered by the tall structures, such as Gastown and Chinatown, some of the oldest areas of the city. http://www.gastown.org/

The West End where we are located is steeped in history, we highly recommend that you take a small stroll all around the district, it will be an excellent way to visit some hidden gems and to see the beauty of the West End area.

Barclay Heritage Square & Roedde House Museum
To get an idea of what Vancouver looked like in the late 1800s you should take a visit to Barclay Heritage Square and the Roedde House Museum.

http://www.roeddehouse.org

This is a great museum that lets you see what a house in the 1800s looked like, all the materials and furniture are originals from that era, and the difference in this museum is that the artifacts are not behind a rope or glass wall they are there for you to get up close with and personal, some items you can even touch!
The house is situated in an area call Barclay Square, its like an oasis of history that is on of the 9 houses heritage buildings that surround the square.

http://www.heritagecanada.org/en/visit-discover/find-historic-places/historic-sites-canada/british-columbia/barclay-heritage-square

Signs that Spring is approaching.

Friday, February 8th, 2013

After spending a great evening with a friend and reminiscing over our usual catch up on nature, (the Crows are always on top of the agenda in this conversation), it inspired that time should be spent on some walking in and around the West End. The forecast was for an improving picture as the day would go on, and judging from what we have seen so far, it indeed is improving, the conditions are certainly what is more akin to late March as opposed to where we are at the moment – February!

We were also debating and comparing predictions about the weather as it had been pretty mild for this time of year, we were wondering if this is game over for Winter, the clues are there, such as the sound of the Spring birds arriving during their migration, it does seem that there is a good chance that it will be a Green Winter, or are we being fooled? Will there be chances of brief snapping stabs of Winter like conditions at the turn of Spring?

The next afternoon was spent sitting in one of the small Inner city Parkways that are used by Pedestrians and Cyclists to pass through, a nice place to take a break and have a moment. This small little Oasis is one of many dotted all around the West End and the rest of Vancouver, they are really cute spots to use and enjoy, you can easily be occupied by all the trees and plant life that have been cultivated around you. There is also no shortage of wildlife to entertain and enthrall as they go about their lives (you will be no stranger to Squirrels, and overnight Skunks and Raccoons), it is easy to actually hear the wildlife even as the city noise buzzes near by, it is really actually not that audible and more of a quieter background hum, the birds conversations really are the dominant sounds of this environment at this time of listening.

On a really beautiful Spring day as today, in this small park alone you can see and hear the hints of a spring stirring up, it is waking the hibernating plant life and other creatures from their long slumber. The sounds of the birds are beginning to change, it is a sure sign that the first birds of Spring are arriving in the city, the area of Canada and the US that is known as the Pacific North West is their regular stop at this time of year. It seems like their migration is a never ending cycle, its almost unfathomable to comprehend at how large the distances some of these birds cover – some spanning the whole globe. The noises of their language is really fascinating to hear, some are like songs, some have the sound that is spoken as if in some Science Fiction setting -as if it came out of the mouth of a robot. Others are not so glamorous, some sound threatening, some sound horrifying and kind of scary, its certainly not dull up there and is a life that is constantly on the go.

It really is quite the sight to see the abundance of trees and plant species around the West End, there is quite the variety to take in. On days like these it is a good time to absorb the colours of the plants as they become illuminated by the sun, marking a vivid contrast among the colours of brown and green. The mountains are also awash with colours that the Sun is beaming its light upon and in between the towering columns of cloud. It seems like an age since Vancouver last saw the sun, yet, when it does make an appearance it has this uncanny effect on us in the city. People seem to have this extra skip in their step and a grin on their faces, with the seawall beginning to get busier with the leisure walkers and joggers making the most of a beautiful day, its quite nice to get a glimpse of Spring in the winter time. Hopefully this is a sign of a good things to come.

So if you are staying at the Sunset Inn and Suites this Spring, make sure that you have a nice stroll around the streets of the West End, it maybe the city, but the nature is all around us, and Spring Season is quite stunning in this area.

Click on the following link from Tourism Vancouver, it explains what you need to do in Spring in Vancouver
http://www.tourismvancouver.com/do/explore/sightseeing/7-ways-to-enjoy-spring/

Chinese New Year – Year of the Snake.

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

The Chinese new year is soon to be upon us, and Vancouver has an extensive Chinese history that you will see etched into the fabric of the city.

The year of the Snake.
This is the year of The Black Snake, this new year is meant for steady progress and attention to detail, with focus and discipline a necessity in order to achieve what you intend to create.
The Snake is the Sixth Sign of the Chinese Zodiac out of the 12 Zodiacal signs. It is the enigmatic, intuitive, introspective, refined and collected of the Animals Signs. Ancient Chinese wisdom says a Snake in the house is a good omen because it means that your family will not starve.

The Chinatown area is certified as an historical area of the city and is located in the North East side Vancouver, just touching the down town core. It is very easy to reach the area, you can just hop on the Number 6 Davie St Bus (a couple of minutes walk from the Sunset Inn and Suites) ride the bus to its very last stop, then you will walk just a couple of blocks east to reach the Chinatown gateway Arch.
There is also the city of Richmond which is an area where many of the Chinese immigrants have settled….between Chinatown and Richmond you will get to experience the very best of the Chinese culture that Vancouver has to offer. During the summer months you can enjoy the Chinese night markets in both locations.

Information on the 18th Downtown Chinatown Night Market – 2013 Season.
http://www.vcma.shawbiz.ca/home_e.htm

The Richmond Night Market 2013
http://www.richmondnightmarket.com/

Chinese New Year celebrations in Vancouver/Richmond.
This year the Chinese Benevolent Association hosts the 40th Chinese New Year celebrations, and as always we anticipate that this event will be spectacular as always.
The festival will be held on Sunday February 17th and it will feature many Chinese Dragons, cultural Dance Troupes, amazing Martial Arts spectacles, with live music and much much more…

http://www.cbavancouver.ca/parade.html

Click on the route map below to see where you can catch the Parade.
http://www.cbavancouver.ca/map.html

The official beginning of the festivities for the Chinese New Year begins on February 10th.

There will also be a celebratory festival occurring on February 16th and 17th. The Fair will be located at the Sun Yat-Sen Plaza (50 East Pender Street) on both days. This celebrative fair will feature multicultural performances, special lion dance grand finale, martial arts demonstration and more.

The Sun Yat Sen gardens are a must see when you go to Chinatown.

http://vancouverchinesegarden.com/

6 Nations Rugby Tournament begins February 2nd

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Europe’s biggest Rugby Tournament the RBS 6 NATIONS RUGBY kicks off tomorrow at 1.30pm GMT.

Various Bars in Vancouver may be showing the game live if you can stomach the early morning start. The first game to kick off will be Wales V Ireland at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales – kicking off at 5.30am (Pacific time). Followed by Scotland V England at Twickenham in London – kicking off at 8am. (Pacific time)

On Sunday it will be Italy V France at the Stadio Flamingo in Italy – kicking off at 7am (Not too sure if this will be shown live in the bars)

You can catch the games on http://www.tsn.ca/rugby/

We have searched and searched what bars are showing the games in Vancouver, and at this time we are not too sure whom or where…however, if you happen to be in Victoria, you can catch the games at The Strathcona Hotel http://www.strathconahotel.com

Chutzpah! Festival – February 7th – March 3rd

Friday, February 1st, 2013

No sooner is the PuSh festival out of the way there is another regular feature festival that is hot on its heels!

PuSh is still happening, check it out

http://pushfestival.ca/

Chutzpah! Returns to Vancouver and is now in its 13th year – this is a festival that began with humble beginnings, and over time, it has grown considerably into one of the most important cultural festivals of our winter calender within the local Jewish Community….it is also designed for everyone to enjoy and you really will have a blast at this festival.

The Festival is primarily based at The Norman Rothstein Theatre where many of the shows will be performing, the theatre is also one of the main hubs for the Jewish community within Vancouver. Take a look at the link below to read more about the theatre and what is going on there.

http://www.normanrothsteintheatre.com/

This year the Festival will be dedicated to the memory of Lisa Nemetz (1955 – 1997) Lisa was a performance dancer, lawyer and a lover of the Arts. She was also known for her tireless advocacy work for the treatment of women with breast cancer. This year the festival will be named in memory of her under the banner of Chutzpah! The Lisa Nemetz International Showcase of Jewish Performing Arts.

The actual meaning behind the word Chutzpah (pronounced: ho’ots-pä) is Imprudence, or in other words offensively bold behavior….this sounds like our cup of tea already! The word originates from the Yiddish language and had quite a negative meaning in Hebrew in the sense that it equates to mean ‘Impertinence’. In the modern English language is has a more positive vibe to it, it is now used to mean as a sense of admiration, that is non conformist and gutsy…..in our mind that is very very Vancouver!

For further information on the shows, times and tickets, please see the link below.

http://chutzpahfestival.com/daily-schedule/

The Jewish community within Vancouver is quite vibrant too, maybe not as large as say the New York community but it is a presence none the less. For further information on the community and tourism please follow the final link below.

http://www.jewishindependent.ca/tourism/index.html