April Events in Vancouver.

March 26th, 2014

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

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

WEEKLY REGULAR FAVORITES

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

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

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

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

FORBIDDEN VANCOUVER PRESENTS PROHIBITION CITY WALKING TOUR
Every Thursdays and Saturdays

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In just a matter of weeks the Bears begin to wake up from their hibernation.

March 21st, 2014

When you come to visit British Columbia you are not only visiting some incredible terrain that encompasses impressive mountains, deserts and a stunning coastline, you are also visiting Bear country.

BC is home to the most populous of bears in all of Canada, roughly half of all Black Bears and Grizzly Bears that are in Canada actually reside in BC, in fact, the majority of the world’s Grizzlies live in Russia and this corner of Canada and of course neighbouring Alaska.
If you are thinking of coming to visit this part of the world at the end of Spring and into Summer, than there is a very good chance you will get to see some of these stunning creatures as they forage for food after their long slumber. These bears will be mighty hungry and probably looking a little thin due to their long period of inactivity.

The bears typically are in deep hibernation during the dark winter months of November and April, it is not the same sleeping time for all the bears as this depends on their location and habitat, that will dictate the length of rest they need to undertake, for example, the bears that live on Vancouver Island and the more southerly coasts of BC will likely have a shorter hibernation period, this is due to the weather not being half as cold or severe and therefore food is more accessible for a longer period of time.

The Hibernation process for the bears is quite an incredible feat. The bears generally make Dens within or close to trees, leading up to the hibernating time the bears will eat as much food as they can so they can pack on the weight so they are able to shut down for the winter. Many of the bears will not even eat, drink, urinate or defecate for a few months and their heart rate can even drop as much as 50 beats a minute to as little as just 10 beats, (which seems pretty crazy), so of course their oxygen intake will drop dramatically and they will likely lose around at least a quarter of their weight due to abstinence of eating and drinking, which again seems crazy, but that is how these creatures roll!!!!

So come May and certainly June and July the bears will likely be out in force ready to fill their hungry bellies on Berries, Salmon and whatever else they can get to sustain themselves. As these are quite cute looking we must also take due care as these creatures as cute as they maybe are an apex predator and all due respect must be given to them, so we advise that if you want to witness the bears in their natural habitat, there are some tours that will specifically help you out with that.

Watching Bears in the wild – Tour Operators
The habitats of the bears in the wild is actually surprisingly close to us, from the North shore mountains of North and West Vancouver you are beginning to live in bear country. If anything, we have been imposing ourselves to their homes hence the reason we see them wandering around the north shore suburbs! So there are a few ways that you can see the bears in person….

Grouse Mountain – Vancouver
A popular destination just a 45 minute journey from downtown Vancouver – in the summer months this is a great place to visit for incredible scenery, hikes and more……they are also home to a couple of bears in their long term home, the poor things are not fit to live in the wild, so they now reside at the top of Grouse mountain quite literally living the high life!
Website: http://www.grousemountain.com

Ocean Adventures Charter Co – North Vancouver
These guys will get you to see the very best that the wilderness has to offer in this part of the world, from Bears to Whales and awe-inspiring First Nations culture, amidst BC’s most spectacular landscapes.
Website: http://www.oceanadventures.bc.ca

Whistler Discovery Tours – Whistler
‘Exclusive Land Rover Excursions’. Our year-round scenic private/semi-private eco-tours will take you to areas rarely seen by most Whistler visitors: Morning/Evening with the Bears, Ancient Rainforest/Eagle Viewing Experience, Hidden Glacier Lake Hike/Snowshoe.
Website: http://www.whistlerdiscoverytours.com

Whale and Dolphin watching season has begun in spectacular style!

March 19th, 2014

It has been quite the week for us along the coastal BC waters as we have been treated to some rare Dolphin and Whale pods migrating through the Georgia Strait.
The Whales are not too elusive as they general favour these waters for migrating, but catching a sight of Dolphin pods is actually a rare occurrence – not so rare this week though. A Pod of Dolphins was spotted swimming along False Creek and Sunset Beach which is literally a 5 minute walk from the Sunset Inn and Suites hotel, it wasn’t just Vancouver that was being treated to this rare spectacle, there was also an incredible sight of Dolphins being chased by Orca Whales along Howe Sound in the Squamish area.

The coastal waters of BC is rich in abundance of some stunning sea creatures and none more majestic than the various species of Whales and Dolphins and so far this year, it seems apparent that the pods are looking very very healthy for the 2014 season.

This link has some great footage of the Whales and Dolphins that were in the Howe Sound recently courtesy of the Prince of Whales whale watching operation. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=731808353525929

And some more from the CBC News Website: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/dolphins-orcas-delight-watchers-in-vancouver-squamish-1.2574894

Here is a great link that shows how the species are interconnected to a wider ecosystem in the local waters around us.
bc_marine_life

Whale Watching Tours Season runs from April 1st to October 31st
There are various Tour operators that you can use to spend a day out at sea to catch these Whales. Reservations for these tours can be made directly with us at the Front desk of the hotel.

Vancouver operations
Wild Whales Vancouver
1806 Mast Tower Road – Granville Island
Vancouver, B.C.
V6H 4B6 Canada Phone: 604-699-2011 Website: http://www.whalesvancouver.com/

Vancouver Whale Watch
Suite 210 – 12240 Second Avenue
Richmond (Steveston), BC
Canada V7E 3L8

Phone: (604) 274-9565 Website: http://www.vancouverwhalewatch.com/index.html

Victoria operations
Prince of Whales Whale Watching
812 Wharf Street, Lower Causeway Level
Victoria, BC V8W 1T3 Canada

Toll-free 1-888-383-4884
info@princeofwhales.com
website http://www.princeofwhales.com/

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

March 14th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Socializing in the bar……discover how THE SCORE ON DAVIE are bringing it back!

March 12th, 2014

It seems pretty apparent these days that in the age of Social Networking and Cell phones being a multi purpose computer it has dramatically altered our way of communicating, since 2005 the technological boom has been remarkable and a life changing moment for many in the way that we communicate with each other, certainly it has made the world smaller and yet far reaching at the same time, which is pretty awesome.

As the technology has changed our lives it has also altered the way we interact with each other, you only have to look around and see people with their phones out everywhere! It has made such an impact on people likely never seen before since the Television revolution.
In some respects this has really frustrated people – if you go to a restaurant or bar for instance it is now becoming normal to see people in a social environment sitting in silence over the meal or drink due to the Phone. It seems though all is not lost as there are some people out there who are looking to bring conversations back to the table again, and it has created a touch of humour and smart ideas to combat this. One of the neighbourhood bars in the area has come up with a great solution – and in all honesty we have to agree its a great idea.

THE SCORE ON DAVIE – 1262 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1N3 (604) 632-1646
This is a great place to hang out for a good drink and great food, plus the staff here are very entertaining so to us it comes as no surprise that they have found a solution that not only works for the consumer there, but it has come up with a novelty incentive for upsales too, the idea is simple but very effective.

The staff at the Score posted this comment on their Facebook page “Sometimes, the only ‘social network’ you need is the people in front of you”, and to encourage this they have installed Lockers for your phones. It is an idea that has been around for sometime now called ‘Phone Stacking’ and this really just pushes it to another level, before we go further as to what the Score have come up with lets explain the concept of Phone stacking.
The phone stacking idea is cool, when you are dining out with friends you all place your phone on the table and the first person to touch the phone for whatever reason has to pay the bill, that is pretty fair eh!
At The Score, when you arrive with your group of friends you will ask the staff for a key that will open the locker that is on your table, you all put the phones in and lock them up for the duration of the stay and the staff keep hold of the key. If for some reason you need the phone back while still dining, you will be able to get the key but on one condition – you have to buy a round of Shots for the table – Genius!!!!! This is all optional of course – and if you want to be cheeky you can get free drinks from your friends.


Photos courtesy of The Score on Davie.

We do have to send kudos to the Staff at The Score for doing this, some of us here at the Sunset have frequented the place and of course this is just opinion, but there is something that is a little sad when you see how the loss of communication among people has become something that is normal when really, these environments are there to be social and have a good time with friends over a good meal and drink.

On that note we must mention that the Score boasts quite a fantastic food menu and a large selection of great drinks, the daily food and drink specials are excellent too. The staff are what really make the place for us, it has always been a great spot since its inception way back in 2007 and has evolved over time to be a busy and lively establishment in the heart of Davie Village. So please give the place a whirl – and try their Chicken Pot pies – they are to die for – and also check out their Caesers – they are GINORMOUS and are literally a meal in themselves. Here is their latest recipe Grilled Chaesar: Double Caesar with a deep fried pickle, a grilled cheese sandwich and onion rings they do have other combinations to choose from, have you ever seen Caesers like that? Probably not.
Caeser madness http://scoreondavie.com/?p=68

So check them out it is an awesome place that you will be sure to frequent again when you are in Vancouver.
The Score Website: http://scoreondavie.com/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ScoreOnDavie

Dining out with a twist – experiencing the unusual in Vancouver…

March 7th, 2014

After a reading an interesting article courtesy of the BBC news website about restaurants that thrive on rude service the ELBOW ROOM immediately came to mind. The Elbow room is quite the experience for people who want to have a good hearty breakfast, but be warned, you will not only need a strong stomach to enjoy their excellent food but a good open mind and a sense of humour is a necessity here…

Before we delve deeper on the Elbow Room experience take a quick look at the article from the BBC here that inspired this particular blog:
The restaurants that thrive on insulting their diners http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26468295

THE ELBOW ROOM
To dine here you will definitely need to have an open mind, a great sense of humour and more importantly quick wit. The Elbow room prides itself on the rudeness of the staff and if you can dish it out as good as they can – they will likely up the ante and give you a run for the money. If this is something that you feel will ruin the breakfast then we advise that you dine in the many other breakfast diners in the city, but, just remember, this is all in the name of fun and no harm is intended – it IS absolutely part of the experience that is the quintessentially the Elbow Room and most who dine here do so with roaring laughter!

The Elbow Room Website: http://www.theelbowroomcafe.com/

Other Dining experiences that are not the norm….
The following establishments that we feel you should try have nothing to do with being rude, they just have their own unique environment and we feel you should give them a whirl as they offer a different experience

TOP OF VANCOUVER – REVOLVING RESTAURANT
If you spend more than 60 minutes inside this revolving restaurant then you will have noticed that the restaurant itself had revolved a full 360′ turn. Located at the western end of Robson St, the Top of Vancouver restaurant has views of Vancouver like no other, so if you are feeling hungry yet still want to enjoy the spectacular scenery of Vancouver and its surroundings then this will be the perfect spot, with incredible views that overlook the city, Stanley Park, the North Shore Mountains and out over the sea and Vancouver Island……we suggest you get there say a half hour before Sunset, it will take your breath away!

The Revolving Restaurant: http://www.topofvancouver.com/

DARK TABLE
The Dark Table idea may be unique to Vancouver but it is a concept that has been happening in various other cities around the world. The premise is built around what it is like to live and dine as a someone whose vision is impaired. Once you enter the establishment you will be in a lit room first where you can choose what you fancy from the menu, thereafter you will make your way into the restaurant itself. The staff that work at the Dark Table are blind or visually impaired and will guide you to your table into the dark dining space where the experience begins now.
The concept was inspired by a Jorge Spielmann who would blindfold his friends when they would dine at his home so they could understand what it is like to live in the moment as a blind person. We think this is a fantastic idea that will really alter your concept and perception of how people get by while visually impaired.

The Dark Table Restaurant: http://darktable.ca/

12B
Is it a restaurant? Someones living room? An Underground secret that only the special few need know about? Well, in all honesty it is a bit of everything really.
12B is a concept that has been labelled by some as a Guerrilla restaurant, an underground restaurant, one that is only known by word of mouth – the latter being quite true.
The restaurant is run from home by a great host and chef known as ‘Todd’ and the idea is simple, get a big enough group of people to come by, you can bring your own wine and beer and you give a generous donation. Todd will welcome you into his home where you will gather round the dining area and be greeted by Todd before he gets on with finishing the preparations for your meal. After the dining part is over you are more than welcome to stick around in the living area where you can enjoy yourself in the company of friends and Todd who is indeed an excellent host and an incredible chef.

The address is a secret so email Todd here if you are able to get a big enough group: 12breservations@gmail.com.

ART DECO – Where to look for Art Deco buildings in Vancouver.

March 5th, 2014

Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours are promoting the Month of March as Art Deco Month and want to show off the buildings that were built in this style around the city, we will also like to write a little about this as we feel Art Deco Buildings are truly magnificent and really do stand out in the city. Vancouver does not have too many buildings left in this style – but what we do have is truly stunning and each place has its own piece of history besides just the look.

For further information on Forbidden Vancouver, please click on the link below….
Forbidden Vancouver: http://forbiddenvancouver.ca/

Art Deco can be traced back as early as the 1900s with its origins hailing from France, it became popular during the 1920s before flourishing widely through the 1930s and 1940s where it pretty much reached its peak, after the second World War its popularity waned and in time became an historical relic as other modernistic designs and fashion had a greater influence.

Art Deco can be found not only in Buildings but in Art, movies and fashion – if you spend time in coffee shops around the city you can see the influence of Art Deco merging with Abstract inspired works of Art, there are some amazing works hung up on the walls that have images of Vancouver in the style of Art Deco with a more modern twist, an example of this are some works from a local artist called Laura Zerebeski who works at The Beaumont Studios. Laura’s Art is certainly in the flavour of Surrealism yet from what we can see it looks like some Art Deco influence has crept in too….

To see more work from Laura Zerebeski: http://laurazee.com/

The Beaumont Studios: http://www.thebeaumontstudios.com/

Vancouver is home to some exquisite Art Deco designs and the first building that comes to mind is the old Marine Building. Located in the Downtown Core where today the district is now home to the Financial Sector, this building still stands out today (although it is dwarfed by the more modern day glass structures), however, when you do walk by it, you will see the unmistakable design which tells it apart from the other structures in the area and that it is truly Art Deco at its finest.
The inside of the Marine Building is stunning too, there is so much to look out for within this building and it has so much intricate detail that you could spend a few days uncovering the Artwork that is so special and unique to this wonderfully historical landmark in the heart of the city.

The Marine building opened its doors on October 7th 1930 right in the heyday of this popular design and at that time it proudly held the record of being the tallest skyscraper structure within the British Empire, standing at an impressive 97.8m and holding 22 floors the building kept this record until 1939. It would have been quite the sight if you were coming to Vancouver back in the day, as many of the surrounding buildings and structures were no bigger than a couple of storey’s high with a few buildings barely reaching ‘mid level status’ – the few buildings that did were likely built by the big CEO’s of their day as large mansion houses for themselves, staffers and workers that were earning their keep at the various industries of the day.
The building that was originally the tallest prior to the Maritime building as the tallest skyscraper within the British Empire was ‘The Sun Tower’, this too being a very popular building in Vancouver with its distinctive faux-patina steel dome painted to imitate copper cladding, is a structure that is easily spotted from many vantage points around the city – especially if you are looking with your back facing the North East looking at the downtown skyline.
The design of the Sun tower also hails from the influence of French architecture that is known as Beaux-Arts architecture this type of design was very popular from around the 1600s right through to the same era as Art Deco, this can be seen throughout Canada and especially The Prairies with many of the structures being built between the 1900s and 1960s.

Other notable buildings that were built in the Art Deco design are the Vancouver City Hall which reminds me of the Fritz Lang Movie ‘Metropolis’ which was undoubtedly a champion of Art Deco in film – even the Band Queen got in the act when they were promoting one of their biggest hits Radio Ga Ga which used footage from the film and created their stage set courtesy of this movie from 1927.
The Bay Theatre (Starlight Theatre) which was built in the Art Moderne style of Art Deco and is now home to Blenz coffee shop located on Denman Street which is not too far away from us here in the West End.
The Vogue Theatre – located in the heart of downtown Vancouver on 918 Granville Street, the Vogue has been one of the defining architectural achievements in Vancouver since its opening in 1941 (and still entertains the masses to this day) it is a true Art Deco/Art Moderne building.

The Vogue Theatre is a very popular venue and it actually features extensively within the entertainment scene in Vancouver, in our last few blogs we had written about events in March – well take a look at the Vogue as it will be showcasing performances from the upcoming CelticFest as well as many other acts….

The Vogue Theatre: http://voguetheatre.com/

For further information on historical buildings take a look at the Vancouver Heritage Society http://www.heritagevancouver.org/

Events to enjoy in March 2014

February 28th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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