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

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

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!!!

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…..

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/

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

February 5th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 2014 events to look out for….

January 29th, 2014

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

Website: http://granvilleisland.com/winterruption

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

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

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

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

Website:http://www.dineoutvancouver.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

Website: http://vancouvercharters.com/

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

January 25th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arrival of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Vancouver YVR Airport

January 22nd, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chinese New Year 2014 – Year of the Horse

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

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/