VANCOUVER FRINGE FESTIVAL IS BACK!

September 4th, 2013

Get ready to be entertained down at Granville Island this week as the exciting, hilarious and most entertaining of all the alternative independent Festivals is about to begin…welcome back Vancouver Fringe Festival. The festival runs from September 5th to the 15th.

Website: http://www.vancouverfringe.com/

The Fringe is a fantastic way to explore Vancouver’s own Granville Island and to really make the most of its Arts culture that is spread all around the Island, and this is one of the best ways to see out the Vancouver summer with a bang.
This year promises to be quite the bonanza with over 80 performers taking part this year in just 11 days.

Here is a sneak peak of how the festival will unfold during the 11 days of fun!

FRINGE FOR ALL September 5th
It all opens with a fantastic opening sneak peak to all the acts that will be happening over the festival. Each act will entertain you with a 2 minute quick fire act, so you can decide just from this snippet alone on what you will like to see…Hosted by David C. Jones who will do his best to see how many artists he can cram in in one evening.

ST. AMBROISE FRINGE BAR
If you like to have a wee tipple before, during and after plays then you will not be upset to hear that there will be a permanent bar to wet your whistle.
There will be nightly entertainment here too, so check it out, the bar will be located in the cool area of Railspur Alley, you must be 19 and over to be able to attend the bar.

For further information on the programming guide, please click on the following link http://www.vancouverfringe.com/program-guide/

And of course, as it is located down at Granville Island, be sure to check out the whole area, it is full of regular entertainment all year round courtesy of the Buskers that like to entertain you.

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

The public market runs all year round from 9am till 7pm.

And if you want some awesome food, go to The Sandbar restaurant which is just to the east of the market under Granville Bridge……ask to be seated upstairs in the balcony area, you will be treated to some stunning views.

The Sandbar Website: http://www.vancouverdine.com/sandbar

Sunset Inn Newsletter http://www.hebsmarketing.com/Sunset_Inn/07_July_2013/index.html

In Vancouver for just a couple of days? That is plenty of time to explore the downtown core neighborhoods!

August 30th, 2013

Many of our guests that breeze through the hotel find that they are short on time to explore the area, so we want to explain to you about the districts that make up the downtown core of Vancouver and how you can maximize your time and still get to visit plenty of amazing places.

We will breakdown the local districts that make up the downtown peninsula that is nestled neatly in between Stanley Park and East Vancouver and the water ways that are the Burrard Inlet, False Creek and English Bay, for each district that is mentioned we will highlight some of the must see areas within them.

WEST END/DAVIE VILLAGE
This is the area that the Sunset Inn and Suites calls home and is one of the most vibrant and colourful of all the districts that the city has to offer.
Davie Village is a 3 block area that spans Davie Street, between the cross sections of Jervis St and Burrard St and is more commonly known as the Gay district of Vancouver. The streets here are awash with colour such as the Rainbow Painted Cross walks of Bute and Davie, bright pink bus stops and an enormous amount of restaurants to satisfy your bellies.

Once you have gotten yourself orientated around our local neighborhood the next place to visit should be Granville Island.

GRANVILLE ISLAND
The jewel in the crown and a must see place to visit when you are in Vancouver, by not coming to Granville Island is like going to New York and not bothering to see the Statue of Liberty, so there you have it – get on down there.
Like Pikes Place Market in Seattle, Granville Island has plenty of wonderful boutique shops, so many market stalls, restaurants and entertainment to keep you occupied for quite some time.
The area is famous for its Buskers, it has a few Theatres for you to enjoy such as The Backstage Lounge which is an excellent venue for Live music and plenty of Comedy and Live Improve at the Vancouver TheatreSports League.

The Island is also famous for its more quirky stores to visit such as The Granville Island Broom co, and you have guessed it they make lots and lots of Brooms, and it is all done there and then at the Store before your eyes, its pretty impressive to see these Brooms, Dust pans and other items be handcrafted from scratch using the very best local materials from the area.

Broom Co website http://www.broomcompany.com/

Granville Island is home to the very first Sake maker in Canada to open a store, and like the Broom shop, all the Sake produced is being made from within the store there are tours are available too.

Sake Website http://artisansakemaker.dreamhosters.com/

For dining on the Island we highly recommend The Sandbar Restaurant. This is a huge hit in the area and everyone we recommend there has not been disappointed. It is a very Vancouver style establishment too, with a menu that is sure to satisfy everyone, if you are looking for Pub style food – you got it, fancy trying something that is more Asian fusion like Sushi – you got it, you are craving some excellent Pacific Northwest Seafood – well guess what? You got that here too – oh and ask to be sat at the very top, the views from the upper level balcony is fantastic!

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

GASTOWN-CHINATOWN
From Granville Island you can then make your way to the older and most popular areas of Vancouver which is the districts of Gastown and Chinatown. Here you are entering the more historical side of the city which is full of character. From the Cobbled stone streets of Gastown to the hustle and bustle of the Chinatown district which is one of the oldest in North America – during the summer months it boasts a great Night market from 6 till 11 on the weekends, its full of excellent food and amazing craft stalls at a very affordable price.

The Gastown district has no shortage of great restaurants to dine in and lots of souvenir shops so you can buy gifts for friends and family to remember the trip.
The most notable places to see when you are in this area is the world famous Gastown Steam Clock, amazing array of restaurants and gorgeous boutique shops, in this area you are spoiled for choice when it comes to fashion as there are so many with really cute and trendy styles of all genres, whether you are into Pin Up, hipster, punk or designer it is all here for your pleasure.

For further information on these districts: Gastown http://www.gastown.org/

Chinatown: http://www.vancouver-chinatown.com/

VANCOUVER ART GALLERY
The VAG is a very popular destination to visit and has some amazing Art work to delight anyone who is creative and love to see new works of Art. They boast a collection of 10,000 pieces of their own permanent personal collection of Art.
The grounds outside the gallery are a popular assembly point for protests and some events such as Canada Day, so go check it out.

Vancouver Art Gallery: http://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/

Many of these places are very easy to reach via Public transport, and whats even better is the BIG BUS Tours as these guys will transport you all through the downtown core and the places that we have listed, and they have special deals set up with the hotel so it is always best to speak to the Front Desk and purchase your ticket here.

For further information on Big bus click here: http://bigbus.ca/home/

Please click on the following link to read the Sunset Inn’s latest Newsletter http://www.hebsmarketing.com/Sunset_Inn/07_July_2013/index.html

Visiting the capital of BC Victoria.

August 21st, 2013

While you are enjoying your visit in the area of Vancouver it is worth it to check out the Capital of BC which is Victoria. Ideally spending a few days in our area and then a quick overnight stay will work, however, there are excellent day tour options to get you over to Vancouver Island as well as the Seaplanes.

HOW MUCH TIME DO WE NEED?
A day trip to Victoria is feasible but you must plan this trip carefully to ensure that you get to see the very best of what Victoria has to offer, so we suggest that you get up early and leave as late as possible. Public transportation is available, so here are the best options for getting there by yourself.

GETTING TO VICTORIA VIA PACIFIC COACH-LINES)
We can book you an early morning excursion with Pacific Coaches, picking up at (8.30am) at The Sandman Hotel entrance on Davie St which is directly behind us.
These reservations can be made via the Front Desk with further information from the staff if required.

Alternatively you can head down to MAIN ST STATION and get the next available bus to Victoria if you wish to depart later in the day. Order a Cab via the front desk at the hotel, it will then be a short 10 minute Cab ride to the Station costing roughly $12.
Proceed to the Pacific Coach line desk and here you can purchase your ticket and jump on the Bus. The Bus will transport you directly to Victoria town center. The trip includes the Ferry Journey.

Pacific Coach lines Website: http://www.pacificcoach.com/

FINDING YOUR OWN WAY TO VICTORIA via TSAWWASSEN FERRY TERMINAL
PLEASE NOTE The Journey to Victoria from Vancouver takes roughly 3.5 hours in total travel time even if that is by public transport or if you are driving by yourself.

Public Route
BUS NUMBER 6 (Davie St Bus) ……Catch @Denny’s Restaurant on Davie and Thurlow St. Transfer @Yaletown Station – Catch the RICHMOND SKYTRAIN Southbound to BRIDGEPORT STATION….Transfer to the BUS NUMBER 620 Bus (Tsawwassen Ferry Bus) to the Ferry Terminal Station (Final Stop)
THIS ROUTE IS $5.50 ADULTS $3.75 CONCESSION

FLOATPLANE
A fantastic way to get to Victoria in no time (roughly 30 mins) and a great way to check out the scenery from above.
You can either go there one way, return, or if you are feeling adventurous you can even do a tour of the local skies in the area. It will be a memorable trip that you won’t forget.

Harbour Air who operate from Coal Harbour are your best bet for this kind of excursion.

http://www.harbourair.com/

LANDSEA TOURS
We believe that the most efficient and practical way to visit the main attractions that Victoria has to offer is by using Landsea Tours.
They have a great package deal that picks you up from the hotel, takes you all around Victoria while you get to spend time at the world famous and stunning Butchart Gardens, Museum of Victoria and some time to wander down the downtown core – while you are at it, you should drop by at the empress and experience their famous High Tea.

The tours are a 13 hour day, and will drop you back off at the hotel by around 9pm. Reservations can be made via the front desk at the hotel.

www.vancouvertours.com/victoria-tour‎

EVENTS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN AUGUST!

August 5th, 2013

Take a quick glance at some of the events to look out for during this month of August!

TD VANCOUVER CHINATOWN FESTIVAL
10th & 11th August, 2013, at Columbia & Keefer Street

In its 13th year, this is a great festival for all the family to enjoy…soak up the sights and sounds in the 3rd largest Chinatown district of North America.
The Festival includes a day market, “Historical & Food Tasting Walking tour”, Kids corner, multicultural stage performances, Cultural Corner, TD Youth Talent Showdown, Young Star Challenge, theme related activities and Streetfest.

Click on link for further information: http://www.vancouver-chinatown.com/events/2013/ctf_main.php
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/TD-Vancouver-Chinatown-Festival/129549240480971

The VANCOUVER QUEER FILM FESTIVAL
August 15th-25th
Featuring over 70 films from 20 countries, Vancouver’s second largest film festival invites audiences to participate at their 25th anniversary fest. Watch films that showcase queer stories over 11 days at six venues around Vancouver – from Hollywood to Bollywood, from drama to documentary, and from indie cinema to big-budget offerings. Join us for unforgettable parties, community discussions, and a PechaKucha powered discussion called “Who Are We, Cinema?”. – See more at: http://www.queerfilmfestival.ca/content/ABOUT_US/598#sthash.oPkA4XLO.dpuf

Tickets: http://www.queerfilmfestival.ca/film/2013_PROGAM/739

Website: http://www.queerfilmfestival.ca/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VancouverQFF?fref=ts

ENCHANTED EVENINGS CONCERT SERIES @ DR. SUN YAT-SEN CLASSICAL CHINESE GARDENS 20th ANNIVERSARY
Fridays running till August 30th, 2013

Enchant your evenings with the critically acclaimed concert series at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden every Friday night of July and August, 2013. Celebrate the Enchanted Evening’s 20th anniversary season with a range of musical performances including traditional Peking Opera, upcoming Jazz sensations, soulful Blues, and Afro Cuban rhythms!
Enchant your evenings with the critically acclaimed concert series at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden every Friday night of July and August, 2013. Celebrate the Enchanted Evening’s 20th anniversary season with a range of musical performances including traditional Peking Opera, upcoming Jazz sensations, soulful Blues, and Afro Cuban rhythms!

Website: http://vancouverchinesegarden.com/calendar/enchanted-evenings-2013/
Facebook:: https://www.facebook.com/vancouverchinesegarden

THE ABBOTSFORD INTERNATIONAL AIRSHOW
August 9th, 10th and 11th
Schedule of events – the same for all 3 days!
9:00AM Gates Open to the Public *NEW IN 2013*
Static Ramp and Displays Open
11:00AM
Anthems and Opening
11:00AM – 4:30PM
Main Flying Events Program with
CF Snowbirds Demonstration Team at 3:30PM
12:00PM- 5:00PM
McDonald’s Kids Zone Open *NEW IN 2013*
6:00PM GATES CLOSED
11:00 OPENING Skyhawks Flag Jump/Anthems
CF Combined Forces Tac Demo –Griffon, 2x CF-18 Hornet
11:30 Langley Museum of Flight
Smoke-n-Thunder Jet Truck
Extra 300S/ Eagle 580 Aerobatics Demo
12:00 Kent Pietsch – Interstate comedy
Extreme Firebirds 2-ship Demo
12:30 Manfred Radius – Salto Sailplane Aerobatics
Merlin Magic – Spitfire & P-51 Demo
13:00 Kent Pietsch – Trucktop Landing
CF Skyhawks – streamer drop
442 Squadron – SAR Demo
13:30 Rob Holland – MX2 aerobatics
CF Skyhawks
14:00 Greg Colyer – Acemaker T-33 aerobatics
Smoke-n-Thunder Jet Truck
14:20 Warbird Group
The 4CE – four ship Demo
15:00 CF-18 Hornet Demo
Kent Pietsch – Deadstick Routine
15:30 CF Snowbirds Demonstration Team

- See more at: http://www.abbotsfordairshow.com/index.php?p=1_37_ABOUT-US#sthash.YtHmd1AZ.dpuf
An exciting new attraction is coming to the Abbotsford International Airshow for 2013 – The Kids Zone put on by Par-T-Perfect.
This new family feature is sponsored in part by McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada – Aldergrove McDonald’s and the South Fraser Way Abbotsford McDonald’s.
The Airshow Kids Zone has activities to entertain children and toddlers and will be open from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. on all three days, 9, 10 and 11 August. Activities include:
A climbing wall;
Huey Helicopter Ballpit: An inflated Ball Pit with spinning propeller;
Carnival games;
Obstacle Challenge: An inflated obstacle course of tunnels and slides;
Travis the Train: an exciting train complete with bouncer section and slide combination;
9-Hole Mini Golf; and
A Craft Zone: Kids will have the opportunity to be creative and make their own airplane.
As a special bonus, two visiting celebrity guests will make an appearance 9 and 10 August to take part in a Dunk Tank to raise money for a local charity. Mikey McBryan and Scott Blue of the famed Canadian docu-series Ice Pilots NWT are special guests coming to Abbotsford specifically to watch the airshow and interact with spectators including the children enjoying the Kids Zone.
The illustrious Ronald McDonald will be making an appearance in the Kids Zone Sunday, 11 August, between 12:00 and 1:00 pm.

- See more at: http://www.abbotsfordairshow.com/index.php?news&nid=16#sthash.Z4UfKMRB.dpuf

CELEBRATE! STANLEY PARK 125YRS
August 24 – 25, 2013
Stanley Park celebrates its 125th anniversary this August with a huge, free, two-day festival full of fun for all ages.

Celebrate! Stanley Park will have five festival zones:
Live at Second Beach, where there will be a all-day live music, food concessions, outdoor sports, and a “beer garden” featuring Stanley Park Brewery’s fine selection of beers.
http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/live-at-second-beach.aspx
Family Fun at the (Lumberman’s) Arch, which will feature kids’ performers, live music and dance, workshops, interactive games, and a nylon zoo.
http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/family-fun-at-the-arch.aspx
Memory Lane at the Gardens, which includes a Celebrate! Stanley Park sing-a-long with TUTS(!), plus historic walking tours.
http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/memory-lane-at-the-gardens.aspx
Brockton Sportsapoolza, with rugby and cricket games.
http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/brockton-sportsapalooza.aspx
Lost Lagoon’s EcoHarmony, which includes nature displays, games and events hosted by Stanley Park Ecology Society.
Celebrate! Stanley Park runs August 24 – 25, 2013. It should be amazing! (And, also, crowded, so take the bus or bike to avoid dealing with packed parking.)
http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/lost-lagoon-s-ecoharmony.aspx

Davie Village, Pride celebrations and other LGBT related events

July 26th, 2013

The time has come for the West End to come alive with the spectacular fireworks display and Vancouver to host its annual Gay Pride Parade and festival.

This is truly the time when Summer is in full swing in Vancouver and the West End district is the place to be, there are no shortage of events at this time of year, so please read on to find out the very best events in the area. We will also have a comprehensive list of resources for the Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual & Trans community.

MAJOR EVENTS
Picnic in the Park – At The Brockton Oval (Stanley Park) JULY 27th
This is a preview event leading up to the main Gay Pride event the following weekend. get down to Stanley park and bring your picnic along where you can enjoy the fun and festivities while networking to meet new friends.
There will be food on offer, a game of Tug of War and at 4pm you will get the chance to meet the Stewards who will be running the Pride parade for a much anticipated preview.

http://vancouverpride.ca/o_events/pride-launch-picnic-in-the-park-2/

QMUNITY EVENTS
Coffee at Qmunity JULY 29th
Pop by for some coffee and a chat with the Executive Director at Qmunity (formerly known as The Centre) Here you can discuss with Qmunity ideas and suggestions in ways to enhance the community that is Davie Village.

http://www.qmunity.ca/events/?cal_cat=5

G(r)ay and Glamorous!
If you are over 55 and are wanting to Strut your wares with pride, then this is the place for you! A wonderful event that is sponsored by the Pride Society.
Located at Barclay Manor which in itself is a beautiful historical location within the West End, this event wants you you to glam it up and wear the very best dazzling costume you can find, there will be prizes and lots if giggles in store!

http://www.qmunity.ca/events/?cal_cat=5&month=aug&yr=2013#

CELEBRITIES NIGHTCLUB EVENTS
GAY BINGO FOR LIFE at CELEBRITIES NIGHTCLUB – Every WEDNESDAY
Starting at 8pm – This is a great night to have some Bingo fun, lots of drinks, laughing and some excellent prizes and all for a very good cause… this event is on going on a weekly basis at the Celebrities Nightclub.

http://celebritiesnightclub.com/bingo-for-life-ft-joan-e-celebspride/

HISTORY CELEBPRIDE 13HR EXTRAVAGANZA
Join in the fun and festivities at Celebrities with a 13 hour marathon of excellent DJ’s to get your boogie on and celebrate the Vancouver Pride.

http://celebritiesnightclub.com/history-celebspride/

OASIS ULTRA LOUNGE
Oasis Ultra Lounge not too long underwent some incredible refurbishments and looks pretty classy indeed! With nightly events here are a couple of highlights!

KARAOKE
Every Tuesday night come on down and see Grogan who is hosting this fantastic night of entertainment, whether you are a budding singer wannabe or just want to sing your heart just because, then this is the place for you, there are excellent drinks specials and pretty awesome and entertaining staff to get you through the night.

A Deeper Love Drag Extravaganza – MONDAY JULY 29th
A benefit gala for Vancouver Pride, here you will get to see the brightest and biggest stars of the Drag scene, this will be an awesome night to remember…

http://oasisondavie.com/

THE JUNCTION PUB
Absolute Pride – August 3rd
Have an absolutely crazy time at the Junction and enjoy the very best drag show in town in celebration of the Pride festivities.
Doors open at 9pm and the music will be spinning till 4am.

http://www.junctionpub.com/events/absolut-pride/

PRIDE FESTIVAL & PARADE!
Vancouver Pride comes to the West End this Sunday August 3rd hot on the heels of the final celebration of light fireworks.
This weekend is sure to be fun, festive and full of eccentric people to get you in the party mood.

http://vancouverpride.ca/official-events/

DAVIE STREET PARTY Saturday August 2nd
Kick off the Pride weekend with a bang, Davie village will come alive with some amazing street partying to be enjoyed by all. Beginning at 4pm there will be an All Ages section to kick things off and this area will be free. From 7pm the actual street party begins for real, great stalls and live music will be sure to get the festivities on in style.

THE PRIDE PARADE – Sunday August 3rd
The parade begins at Robson Street and Thurlow Street, heads west to Denman Street, follows Denman to Pacific Street and Beach Avenue and finishes at the Sunset Beach Festival site. – See more at:

Parade begins at 12pm on Robson St to Denman St to Pacific St and Sunset Beach.

Exploring Stanley Park. Part 3. Wildlife of Stanley Park

July 17th, 2013

Stanley park will be celebrating its 125th birthday in August, we are writing about the highlights in a series of blogs leading up the special celebrations on August 24th & 25th 2013.

In our continuing series of where we explore the very best of Stanley Park we will like to introduce you to the large array of wildlife species that live within the park.

While staying at the Sunset Inn you may be quite surprised to see many animals casually taking a stroll close under your feet (and we don’t mean the small doggies that sometime reside in peoples handbags or the local domesticated cat), we are referring to the squirrels, raccoon’s and Skunk’s to name but a few that live in the West End like we do.

Wildlife is abundant in this city and if you keep your eyes open all around you, you will certainly see many many species of all walks of life (even the people watching is pretty incredible here too, so many weird and wonderful varieties of humans to check wandering the streets)! Joking aside, we will guide you so you know what kind of critters you will expect to see within the park and its beaches.

BIRDLIFE
If you take a peak up in the skies, there is no shortage of spectacular bird species of all varieties, these include Bald Eagles, Crows, Ravens and Herons.
Many of these birds have nesting sites throughout the parks, be sure to keep a beady eye open – you will see them all in action.
There are also quite a variety of differing Bat species in the park, we were lucky enough to have some Bat specialists stay at the hotel and on that very trip they had discovered a brand new species of Bat that was not familiar to them in the park.

The Bald Eagle population in Vancouver was limited to just a couple of pairs, one pair in Stanley Park and the other out at UBC, nowadays the population has grown to a very healthy size and you will be more than likely to see these huge majestic birds of prey in their natural habitats.

The herons are very famous in the park, especially as there are many of them who nest during the Spring season just above the Tennis Courts, to date there are more than 170 nests at any given time, these birds are known for therei huge beaks and large wingspan, they are quite the sight to behold.

The Goose population are also thriving in these parts too, and of course, Canada would not be Canada without seeing the Canadian Geese flying in their unmistakable V formation, it is not unusual to see them frolicking down by the beach, seawall and other areas around the city.

There are also sightings of elusive Peacocks in the park too, these birds are from the old Stanley Park Zoo that has long since shut down due to the living conditions there that were deemed not livable.

Here is some cool footage of a Raven interacting with a human for some help after it got itself into some bother with a Porcupine: http://youtu.be/hlwxLtFQcrY

MAMMALS
As well as the eccentric species of people that are known to visit the park, you will see no shortage of the cute and furry variety animals in the park.
The most popular Park and Urban dwellers in this area of the world are the large populations of Skunks, Raccoon’s, Rabbits and Squirrels.
At times you may get to see the Raccoon’s foraging for food in all parts of the city, some you will even see at the waters edge fishing for clams and mussels while enjoying a soak in the sea.

The Squirrels are the most visible all around the city, in fact, the Grey Squirrels that you will encounter were actually given to Vancouver as a present from New York where in the eastern part of North America is where they naturally reside. The Park was given two in the early part of the twentieth century, and, within a few decades the population has grown to a considerably large population, so much so that they thrive and have become one of the most dominant animals in the area.
Coyotes are very popular in and around Vancouver, yet they are hard to catch as they are quite elusive, if you are going to see them it will likely be after dark.

WATER DWELLERS
At the seawall and if you have a keen eye, look out along the water you may just see a head pop up from below the surface, this will likely be a sea lion taking a wee look at the tourists in between some hunting for fish.

Down at the Lost Lagoon there is no shortage of cool animals that reside around this small but stunning lake. As well as the herons wading in the water, take a look at the rocks and you will see Turtles, plenty of species of ducks and other wonderful birds.

For further information on the local ecology click here: http://stanleyparkecology.ca/conservation/urban-wildlife/other-wildlife-resources/

And of course the Vancouver Aquarium that is located close to the Lost Lagoon: http://www.vanaqua.org/

Exploring Stanley Park. Part 2. Family Activities

July 10th, 2013

In the second part of our ‘Exploring Stanley Park’ series we shall be explaining about the very best of family orientated activities you can do and the very best places to dine in with the family around the park.

VANCOUVER AQUARIUM
One of the more popular destinations within Stanley Park, the aquarium has something to offer for all ages in the family, with fabulous exhibitions that will wow the children, and, more in depth details regarding the local ecology of the Pacific North West waters for the adults to understand and enjoy.
Website and informationhttp://www.vanaqua.org/

WATER-PARK & SWIMMING POOLS
With Summer really settling in now and some hot days to enjoy when visiting the park why not take the kids to the Water Park for some splish splashing fun! The water park is located close to the Miniature Train and Aquarium.
Water park Informationhttp://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/stanley-park-water-park.aspx

There is also a great open air outdoor Pool to enjoy close to Second Beach and playgrounds within the meadows.
Second Beach Outdoor Pool: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/second-beach-pool.aspx

MINIATURE TRAIN
A huge hit with the children. A beautiful 2km train ride through the magical forests and lakes of Stanley Park, you will step back in time on a miniature replica of the Canadian Pacific Railway #374, famous for pulling Canada’s first transcontinental passenger train into Vancouver in the late 1880s.

STANLEY PARK PLAYGROUNDS
There are quite a few playgrounds for the young kids to enjoy while the rest of the family can just laze in the sun with a nice picnic, what a perfect way to watch the world go by and soak up the local wildlife and scenery.
Further information on the Playgrounds in the park:http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/stanley-park-playgrounds.aspx

http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/stanley-park-playgrounds.aspx

HORSE AND CART
Tired of walking? Love horses? Well why don’t you experience the park using the good old fashioned Horse and Cart…its pretty awesome!
Horse and cart information:http://www.stanleypark.com/Schedules%20&%20Rates_Group%20Rates.html

PITCH AND PUTT
Located close to the famous FISH HOUSE RESTAURANT, this pitch and putt could not be in a more idyllic location in the park. Here you can spend some leisurely few hours with a game that will keep everyone entertained, with 18 holes ranging from 40 to 100 yards, this is perfect for people who just want to have some fun and if you are a beginner, well begin here!
Further information:http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/stanley-park-pitch-putt.aspx
The Fishhouse restaurant information http://www.fishhousestanleypark.com/

CYCLING THE SEAWALL
Stanley park is best seen while cycling around the Seawall, it is a stunning way to capture the very best scenery around the 10km seawall, it is also predominantly a flat ride so nothing strenuous, just a leisurely trip that will blow you away with the stunning setting of the North Shore mountains, Burrard Inlet and notable natural attractions that are dotted around the park.
Please see the front desk for Bike hire information and vouchers.
English Bay Bike Rentals information http://www.englishbaybikerentals.com/

Exploring Stanley Park. Part 1. Landmarks of the Park

July 3rd, 2013

Stanley Park truly is the jewel in the crown in the city of Vancouver – it is located right next to our district of the West End with Downtown Vancouver nestled by its side. On August 24th and 25th the park will be celebrating its 125th birthday and there will be plenty of celebrations to mark this occasion. Please check our website for upcoming details of the events as and when they will be announced. We will be writing a series of blogs so are up to speed with everything you need to know about this beautiful destination.

The park is pretty big, in fact, it is roughly the same size as the downtown core of the city itself with the sea wall encircling the outside perimeter of the park at a distance of around 10km. It can easily be explored in a few days if you wish to really look at what this stunning park has to offer. We will like to highlight the very best that Stanley Park has to offer, so let us guide you around so you know what to do once you come by and visit.

LANDMARKS OF STANLEY PARK
There are many notable landmarks to visit in the park that are full of art and natural areas of interest.

Lost Lagoon
The Lost Lagoon is an important area that has a major influence on the local ecosystem and biodiversity in the park, it was formerly a tidal mudflat until the Stanley park causeway was built through the middle of the park – now it is a body of freshwater that acts as a natural filtration system in the park. The flora and fauna is very rich around the lagoon and you will be mesmerized by the fantastic colours of the plant life. The animals that live here are quite diverse too, the lagoon is a natural sanctuary for a wide variety of species.

Beaver Lake
Found in the very middle of the park like a small oasis away from the main drag, this is an area that is a peaceful, tranquil spot that is great to just drift away and reflect.
Like the Lost lagoon, Beaver Lake serves a purpose for natural biodiversity and if you like Ducks, well there are plenty of species to take a look at.
The lake is actually rapidly disappearing due to human influences around the park and overtime has been filling up with sediment – conservationists are working very hard to try and save the lake from filling up altogether.

For further information on the Stanley Park ecology plans – please click here: http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/stanley-park-ecological-action-plan-01102011.pdf

Hollow Tree
One of the most significant landmarks in the park and has also been at the center of controversy over the years regarding whether or not the tree should be left alone or removed.
The tree is the remnants of the stump from a 700 year old Cedar tree and has been wowing people for many many years, it become a major feature by tourists since the park opened way back in 1888.
In 2006, Stanley park was seriously damaged by a major windstorm that swept across Vancouver and in the process felled many of the trees in the park along its western flank – many parts of the park were damaged as well as the sea wall which had to undergo major reconstruction. The hollow tree itself became very very unstable after the wind storm and many of the soils around the tree rapidly eroded.

Siwash Rock
35 Million years in the making this is a stunning beacon of a natural geological process on the western side of the park along the seawall.
Standing at a height of 18 metres tall (60 feet) the rock which is known as a basalt stack and is the remnants of magma that was forced up to the surface through a fissure from a volcanic dyke. It is a symbolic relic that has been ingrained in indigenous folklore. It is believed that the rock was a man who was transformed into rock “as an indestructible monument to Clean Fatherhood.”

Prospect Point
By far one the best vantage points to view the stunning scenery from Stanley Park of the North Shore, the Burrard inlet and English Bay.
There is also a cute cafe at the point so you can soak up the views and have a bite to eat while you are there.

For further information on the park: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/stanley-park-125.aspx

This summer is full of events and festivals, take a look at what is in store!

June 28th, 2013

July is fast approaching and that means it is time to get out and about in the city as festival season will be hotting up….apparently the weather is going to play ball too just in time for Canada Day on July 1st.

It seems like the West is going to be enjoying better weather than of late (but us Vancouverites are quite used to a rainy start to the Summer…In Vancouver the month of June is commonly named as Juneuary….lol).
Forecasters are predicting temperatures in the mid 20 Celsius and possibly higher in parts (for you Fahrenheit folks out there this will be the high 70s pushing into the 80s), but we will have to wait and see when next week comes around….would be nice eh!

JULY 1st – CANADA DAY
Celebrate this Nations national holiday on July 1st with a fantastic long weekend spectacle around the city. Here are our suggestions where you can enjoy the Canada Day Celebrations.

CANADA DAY ON GRANVILLE ISLAND
Granville Island will be the bug of the party, starting the celebrations bright and early from 7am right until Midnight, you will be treated to a Pancake Breakfast, fantastic festival atmosphere with live dancers, Jazz music and performances courtesy of the South Asian Cultural Extravaganza.

http://granvilleisland.com/event/canada-day-celebration

CANADA DAY WATERFRONT PARTY & PARADE
The Canada Day Party will begin at 10am till 6pm at Canada Place which like Granville Island is a must see area to visit, it is also where the Cruise Ships dock in the summer season.
There will be a full on festival atmosphere down here with 3 stages for live entertainment.
CANADA DAY PARADE The Parade begins at 7pm and begins at Georgia St and Broughton St So don your best red and white clothes and get there to enjoy the festive activities!

http://www.canadaday.canadaplace.ca/

CANADA DAY FIREWORKS
The Fireworks will cap off the perfect day of celebrations from the beautiful setting of the Burrard Inlet which Canada Place overlooks with the gorgeous North shore mountains and North Vancouver in the background.
The fireworks will get going from 10.30pm till 11pm. Hopefully the weather will be clear as you will still be able to see the north shore backdrop with stunning twilight setting on these long balmy evenings.

http://www.canadadayfireworks.ca/

There are a couple of festivals happening on Saturday July 13th
KHATSAHLANO! Music & Arts Festival
A major music festival right in the heart of the trendy Kitsilano district
Located along West 4th Ave between Burrard St and Macdonald St, the area will be funpacked with live music, dancing and plenty of street performers with around 50 participants to make it a very special day. The area is awesome on its own too, like Davie Village it is packed with excellent Restaurants, Bars, Cafes and trendy shops – you cannot go wrong.

GAYDAY @ PLAYLAND
One of the first festivals that are leading up to the Vancouver Pride Parade is Gay Day at the PNE PLAYLAND Fairground….so don your best pink and bring out that inner child in you at the fun of the fair!

https://www.facebook.com/events/178249728899316/

VANCOUVER FOLK MUSIC FESTIVAL
Friday, July 19 – Sunday, July 21
By far one of the biggest events in the musical calender in Vancouver, this is a must see festival that is not only folk music but does encompass other genres and styles that can relate to it. The musicians here are excellent too, so for the money spent you will not be disappointed at all.
It is also set at the stunning location of Jericho Beach, this is one of the finest beaches in the Vancouver area and offers stunning views of Vancouver and its surroundings.
$45 – $50 Friday only; $75 – $80 Saturday or Sunday; $135 – $165 Weekend Pass; student, youth and senior discounts available.

http://thefestival.bc.ca/

CARIBBEAN DAYS FESTIVAL – NORTH VANCOUVER/LONSDALE QUAY
Saturday, July 27 – Sunday, July 28
Let the Caribbean spirit flow through veins with lively music, excellent food that is full of flavour as only the tropics know how, and they have a way to party like no other!
Also when you are there, check out the Lonsdale Quay area, it is North Vancouver’s equivalent of Granville Island and Pike Place Market in Seattle.

http://www.caribbeandays.ca/

CELEBRATION OF LIGHT FIREWORKS
Saturday, July 27th, Wednesday, July 31st & Saturday, August 3rd
One of the biggest events in the Vancouver calender and a truly fantastic spectacle that draws almost half a million people to the West End Beaches of Sunset Beach and English Bay, iy is now in its 23rd year.
It is a worldwide competition that is held annual in various worldwide cities. Each country per night is hoping to win the prize by perfecting an incredible display in synchrony to Music of their choice.

There will also be an acrobatic air display to get you going before the fireworks kick off at 10pm.

Fireworks information: http://www.sunsetinn.com/blog/?cat=717

Please check with the hotel for details regarding this major event as there will be road closures. The Sunset Inn is within the no drive zone.

Enjoy the great outdoors & the spectacular scenery in and around Vancouver…

June 26th, 2013

The Summer season is here so that means its time to get out there and explore the best scenery that the local surroundings have to offer…

THE NORTH SHORE and WALKING/HIKING TRAILS
The cities of North Vancouver, West Vancouver and Deep Cove are truly quite specalur areas to visit when you are coming to Vancouver. The North Shore is home to the the three Mountain peaks which are Cypress, Grouse and Seymour – and with the best weather soon to really dig in, we highly recommend that you visit these peaks for the incredible views alone.

The North Shore website: http://vancouversnorthshore.com/

It is also a great time of year to get the walking boots on and explore the multitude of trails and popular hiking paths.

We have some suggestions of a few trails that we feel are the most popular!

BADEN POWELL TRAIL
The Baden Powell trail connects Lynn Canyon to the gorgeous small town of Deep Cove…it is a relatively gentle trail that is 12km long and pet friendly. Along the way you will get to see the Lynn Canyon Suspension bridge (Which is smaller than the Capilano Suspension Bridge and FREE), also you will come across the Lynn Canyon and Indian Arm – the scenery is truly stunning.
Allow yourself around 5 hours or so to complete the trail.

http://www.vancouvertrails.com/trails/baden-powell-deep-cove-to-lynn-canyon/

KAYAKING at DEEP COVE
We adore Deep Cove, it is a small town situated at the eastern side of the North Shore where the Burrard Inlet meets the Indian Arm Fjordway which separates Grouse Mountain and Seymour Mountain.
In the Summer this is a fantastic place to head out too (especially if you have a vehicle) It is also quite easy to get too via public transport (Ask the front desk for the details).

Deep Cove is also one of the best areas to go Kayaking, you can kayak your way around the natural cove itself and onto Indian Arm where you will be treated with some stunning Scenery.

http://www.deepcovekayak.com/

Deep Cove Website: http://www.deepcovebc.com/

THE GROUSE GRIND
Grouse Mountain is by far one of the most popular destinations to visit in Vancouver and it is just around the corner from the Capilano Suspension Bridge.

Once all the snow has melted (usually all gone by mid July or so) then the Grouse Grind Hiking trail is open for business. many of us will have enjoyed this popular trail due to the challenge of tackling such a famous trail. It is one that you have to work at as it is a lot of steps to get to the top, but once there it will be well worth it. On average the regular person will complete that trail in 90 minutes to a couple of hours…the crazy fit professionals who run up the hill like there is no tomorrow can complete it in under an hour…sheesh!

http://www.grousemountain.com/grousegrind

CYCLING & BIKE RENTALS
Vancouver is fast becoming a cycling kind of city and over the last few years it is very noticeable the changes that have been occurring with regards to encouraging people to cycle more and more – the evidence is with all the new bike paths that are plentiful around the city.

We do encourage you to do this as its a fantastic way to see the sights of Stanley Park, False Creek or even Granville Island, you can even transport your bike with the public transit system on the front of each bus and the skytrain (although at peak hours you are not permitted to bring the bike on the skytrain).

We recommend English Bay Bike rentals: http://www.englishbaybikerentals.com/

City cycling information: http://vancouver.ca/streets-transportation/cycling-routes-maps-and-trip-planner.aspx

Translink Cycle Maps: http://www.translink.ca/en/Getting-Around/Cycling/Cycling-Maps.aspx